First, a disclaimer. This post is titled “Chinese Cuisine” but the accompanying photo is most definitely not Chinese. It’s just one of my favorite meals in Hangzhou. Haha. Okay…
Food in China has been… difficult. I had imagined myself in culinary heaven this year because I love Asian food. You could stir fry any veggies, add meat or not, throw it over white rice and I’m happy as can be. I could eat different combinations all week. I thought China would be an authentic Panda Express. Fresh veggies, succulent meat, rice, noodles, pot stickers. You know, Chinese food.
They do have those things but let’s just say the stuff in America has been changed significantly to appeal to our taste buds.
We slice off a lot of gristle, fat, and other funky bits from our meat compared to here. I’m normally a picky eater but I’ve resorted to looking for major things to eat around or not put in my mouth, if nothing huge stands out, I don’t look closer. Just eat it. That’s my mantra in China.
The other day Matt ordered kung pao chicken at a restaurant. It looked pretty good. He took a bite and CRUNCH. The chicken was chopped up, bones and all. I’m guessing people just chew it really good and swallow it. I’m not really sure because I watched him struggle through the meal. It wasn’t pretty. Over half of his bites had bones in them. Haha.
Also, the oil used to cook here is different than what we use back home so everything has a different flavor. In the first few weeks, I couldn’t deal with it at all. I’m now used to the flavor and don’t find it revolting. I don’t find it appetizing either… but at least I’m making some progress.
I felt like I was coming here openminded but I wasn’t. I expected to see bugs on sticks, come on, I’ve watched Survivor! What I didn’t expect was that the food readily available would be so different from what I thought it’d be.
So I’m always on a quest for a delicious meal. We have a few go-to restaurants in our neighborhood that we cycle through. One has that delicious curry pictured above. It’s really good. There are just three pieces of chewy beef in it but I don’t care. It’s a restaurant with foreign foods. Of course, I like it. There’s a really good pizza place near our school. The owners lived in Italy for 15 years so they do the crust and cheese right. It’s awesome. I only ever eat the margarita pizza though because some of the toppings on the other pizzas look questionable. Haha.
There are several Korean restaurants in our neighborhood but the few we’ve tried are not so great. We finally found one downtown that is wonderful. We can’t get enough of it. If the restaurant was near our house, we’d be tempted to eat it every day. As it is, our meal requires us to ride the subway for an hour and 15 minutes and walk for 30 to get it. It’s our weekend ritual though. It’s so good.
I also eat things I can get on my way home from school… usually pork wonton soup or beef noodle soup. I don’t necessarily crave these foods but they aren’t bad.
BUT what we normally eat is food prepared at home. We order groceries online from a store in Shanghai that caters to foreigners. They deliver to Hangzhou weekly, thankfully. It’s a bit pricey but it’s quality stuff. We’ve yet to get food poisoning (knock on wood!) so I’m hoping that if we continue doing what we are doing, we’ll be okay.