Sunday, September 22nd 2019

Chinese food or what to eat in China

Food is a very important part of my travel experiences. Asian cuisines are one of my favorite. Just because of food I can go again to a place or decide not to go at all. When I travel I take photos of various food. But i don’t take pics of everything i eat. For example, i did not have my camera when we went to eat the Beijing duck.

Planning the trip i was a bit concerned as I had not really eaten good Chinese food in Europe. It was not totally bad i was far from being impressed.

As Wikipedia says Chinese cuisine consists of the following regional Major traditions include Anhui, Cantonese, Fujian, Hunan, Jiangsu, Shandong, Szechuan, and Zhejiang cuisines. I am not sure which we tried of the above mentioned most of all I liked Yunnan food, Beijing duck was good (though i think it is over-advertised), grilled lamb in small Muslim shops or from outside grills, Chinese dumplings and various food with Sichuan peppers.

The main food in China is rice and noodles. I was surprised to learn that rice is more spread in the South while noodles are in the North. Considering we traveled mostly in the North, we mostly ate noodles.

A boy eating noodles in a Muslim noodle shop

In the North East of China between Beijing and Shanghai each city or town has its small Muslim quarter where you can eat great noodles, noodle soups or grilled lamb.

Me enjoying grilled lamb in Kaifeng

Me enjoying grilled lamb in Kaifeng

Actually one of the best food I ate in China was on food markets. I liked especially the night food market in Kaifeng.

Grilled lamb on the night food market in Kaifeng

Grilled lamb on the night food market in Kaifeng

More about the Kaifeng night food market in my next post.

To eat Beijing duck we went to a special restaurant on the famous Ghost street. The Ghost street is decorated with hundreds of red lanterns and in the evening the atmosphere is really amazing. Before eating the duck we ordered some starters. I especially liked crayfish in Sichuan pepper which gives you a peculiar tingling feeling.

The Beijing duck is traditionally cut in front of customers and its parts are served in three stages. The skin comes first with garlic sauce and some sugar. The meat is served with small steamed pancakes, spring onions, cucumber sticks and sweet bean sauce. So you put some sauce on a pancake and wrap some vegetables with meat in it. This wrap is usually eaten by hand.  The remaining of the duck is used for a broth, served with small pieces of meat afterwards.

To my regret i did not have my camera with me that evening. I just can say that the ceremony makes this dish so special. It was definitely tasty but I cannot say it was unbelievably amazing.

I don’t have to tell you about hot pot, I am sure everybody is familiar with. The task is easy you order a bowl of boiling broth and all sorts of food which you then cook in it. The only problem was to choose ingredients as the menu was full of hieroglyphs and some pictures. With some help from the restaurant stuff who did not speak English we managed  to order some mushrooms, veggies and meat. In the end we enjoyed it a lot.

Mara and our first hot pot in Beijing

Mara and our first hot pot in Beijing

Guantangbao are the traditional Chinese dumplings, very often referred to as dim sum dumplings. The are steamed in round bamboo or metal containers put in towers.

Chinese dumplings steamed in Pingyao

Chinese dumplings steamed in Pingyao

Then they are served in those containers. You use chopsticks and put a dumpling into sauce before eating.

Guantangbao or Chinese dumplings in Kaifeng

Guantangbao or Chinese dumplings in Kaifeng

One of my favorite in China was food from Yunnan province. Considering that Yunnan is a tea producing province, it is not surprising that people use pu-ehr tea in cooking.
Many Yunnan’s dishes are quite spicy, and mushrooms are used in many dishes.  The mushrooms on the picture below are my favorite.
Yunnan food: Fried mushrooms with special spice mix

Yunnan food: Fried mushrooms with special spice mix

Another specific feature of Yunnan cuisine is the wide use of flowers as food. I must admit it was a bit strange but the food was really good. It is still on the top of my list.
Yunnan food: flowers with fried egg

Yunnan food: flowers with fried egg

Hairy crab is specialty in Shanghai area. And November is the month to eat them. That is exactly when we were in Shanghai. This species’ distinguishing features are the dense patches of dark hair on its claws. And surprisingly these crabs spend most of their life in fresh water.

Hairy crab in Shanghai

Hairy crab in Shanghai

Considering we lived close to a nice market full of sea food, fish, meats and veggies, i did not miss an opportunity to cook the crabs myself.
Eating hairy crab in Shanghai

Eating hairy crab in Shanghai

We have not eaten anything extremely unusual, like snakes or dogs. Though we ate some pigeon, snails and frogs. Some food looks or smells so terrible that i would never eat.
If I ever go again to China I will definitely visit Yunnan province to try more of this unusual cuisine.
In my next report I will post pictures and tell about food you should not eat in China.

Related Posts

5 Comments on “Chinese food or what to eat in China”

  1. Food looks delicious)

    1. Yes, a lot of food was good. We have tried a lot of tasty dishes though some of the traditional were too “floating in oil”. In general it is not the easiest place to get tasty food. In some places we have to search for it. and on some occasions we had to eat in terrible places like KFC. But at those moment this was the least evil. I will tell about “bad” food in my next post.

  2. looks tasty. I have not had much of Chinese food. the ones i tried in Europe is not very good.

Leave a Reply