Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Beijing's Crappy Weather & My Iron Stomach

I have a classmate that has literally gotten food poisoning almost once every single week the past 6 weeks. He's actually been living in Beijing for over a year and he still manages to get super sick from eating things not only from off the street, but from actual nice restaurants too. I guess I just must have developed an iron stomach from all my travels throughout Asia because I am A-OK-FINE!

The weather this entire week has been looking exceptionally craptastic. Gloomy weather mixed with hardcore pollution gives you this...

Fortunately I was still able to go out and get some fast food. Here's what I had...

Korean cold noodles! Yum!

Garlic eggplant. Yes, please!

Fish on a stick. I didn't like all the bones though. I have difficulty eating anything that takes too much effort i.e. seafood and shrimp peeling.

Look at this monster of a lamb leg. It was filled with awesome seasoning and flavor. I had to ask the waiter to give me plastic gloves to eat this thing. 

Sometimes when I'm hungry, I just go out on the street and pick out what kind of kabobs I want. I usually get a mix like this. There's squid, eggplant, beef, pork, and chicken in there. I especially have taken a liking to Chinese sausages. They have a sweet aftertaste to them. 

I've been told numerous times to not eat from shady bicycle stands that sell food so what do I do? Go eat at a shady bicycle stand that sells food! Here's some Beijing Stinky Tofu! 

Happy Eatings!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Mr. Breadman, Please Leave Your Snot Out Of My Food

Every wonder what the inside of a Beiing subway looks like? So a few weeks ago, my classmate and I were given a recommendation to visit Dongwuyuan. No, not the zoo, but the place where local people go shopping. Of course we could have taken a taxi, but we opted to save money by taking the subway instead.

Left is a view from the outside. Crazy how many bikes there are. Right, Mother and daughter squatting waiting for the subway. Looks like the mother is training the next generation of toilet squatters. I really cannot understand how that is even comfortable. Chinese people must have awesome leg muscles though from all that squatting.

Check out the Bruce Lee Fast Food Joint I spotted on the way there. I love how the translation of the name into English is something along the lines of "Real Kungfu." Awesome.

There was nothing to buy. There were way too many people and there was no bargaining policy there. My friend checked out these watermelon shoes which I thought were awesome. Unfortunately, she didn't end up getting them. They looked delicious though. If you are going to be in Beijing and want to do some local shopping, I would just recommend paying a visit to the Silk Markets. Sure, it's super touristy, but I feel like you can get better deals there if you know how to bargain.

Good thing the trip wasn't a total lost for me. I managed to find one of the dirtiest, shadiest places to get some food. It's a hobby of mine if you couldn't tell already! =)

Mr. Bread man was making the bread fresh when someone ordered it. This was while he was blowing snot out his nostril onto the floor while spitting of course. Quite the multitasker.

The result was cheap and delicious. I just try not to think about what I've seen. I really don't think you should be able to see how people make your food in China. I wanted to buy him a handkerchief, but apparently that and tissues aren't of much use here. Gross.

Cold Noodles. Yum!

Just eat and don't think. That's my motto. When in China, just don't ask or wonder about your food. It's better that way.
Happy Eatings!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Northeastern Chinese Food!

I mentioned to our family friend that one of my friends from back home is studying abroad in Harbin, China for a whole year learning Chinese. My friend is crazy by the way because Harbin is one of the coldest places ever! In the winter, they actually have a really famous Ice & Snow Sculpture Festival each year that draws tons of visitors from all over. So last week, our family friend decided to take me to 黑土, a pretty nice restaurant (cheap nonetheless) that serves 東北菜 aka Northeastern Chinese cuisine which is really different from what I usually eat. The place was nicely decorated-but once we sat down we were surprised with this.....

Yes the 2 men at the table next to us decided it was a great time and place to take off their shirts in the middle of dinner and reveal their fire cupping marks. I love the art of fire cupping don't get me wrong-but I really don't wanna see that when I'm eating dinner. I can't believe no one asked them to put their shirts back on. Only in China... only in China.

Yummy cold noodles. The sauce was very different from the typical cold noodles I have. They should open more Northeastern Chinese food places!

Even our veggies were delicious. The sauce was spicy like wasabi!

But the highlight of the night was this monster!!! Look at that bone marrow on the beef! The flavor in this guy put those Disneyland turkey legs to shame!

Everyone had to be given plastic gloves to eat this thing and a straw to suck out and drink the juice and marrow!!! Awesome! This also gave me the great idea that next time I go to Disneyland for the turkey legs, I'm going to bring my own plastic gloves! Thank you Northeastern food!

This was a beef stew dish. The little bread/cookie like things are Northeastern specialities. Not my taste personally since they tasted like flavorless pancakes. The stew was good though. See how everyone is wearing a glove still trying to devour the last beef dish? Yum!!

This was a delicious scallion pancake. It literally melted in your mouth!! So good! Best I've had!

Glutinous rice balls for dessert.

Blueberry pudding cake. This was a little too much for me. Not my favorite.

This place was really good. Beef & Scallion pancake for the win!!!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Find me on the streets, dawg!

It was Sunday, which meant it was my last day to relax before another stressful week of classes. So how did I want to celebrate my last day of freedom? Eating on the street of course!

On my way to the little haven of street food in Wudaokou, I saw this guy making some awesome calligraphy paintings. Here's the guy starting on my Chinese name. I've had this done in the past, but this guy was way better.

As I finally made my way to the outdoor food stands, I was greeted/molested with people yelling at me to buy food from them rather than the person next to them. Awesome. 

The sight of guys like this all over making kabobs made me very happy. But wait... what's wrong with this picture?

Here's a close up. Yes, he's using a hair dryer to help dry his kabobs? Awesome. 2 lamb kabobs please! 1RMB each! Yum and fresh!

Then I went next door to a veggie kabob stand to get 2 sticks of eggplant! Yum! They even put lots of seasoning and spices on there. These people were awesomely nice to me. After I ordered, they asked me if I was from Hong Kong or Macau. I said HK. It makes me happy that people actually think I'm from HK. You get a much more friendly response than if I actually said I'm from the U.S. Their eggplant was so good! Must have been the extra spices and herbs they put in!

Then I went over to the next stand to get some tofu skin noodle things. It came with meatballs and an egg inside. 

My friend ordered this rice thing with meat. It was good. Kind of like zongzi. 

And then I saw it.... This awesome place that was cooking all their noodles in huge stone pots. Smelled great!

Looks delicious too doesn't it?

Happy Eatings! 

Monday, July 12, 2010

Exciting Miao Food From Guizhou!

Awhile ago, my sister sent me an email and recommended trying some Miao place she had found online. It sounded like a great idea so my friend and I did some research and then proceeded to take the subway to get there to save money instead of going in a cab!

Here I am in front of an old house that was previously that of royal family descendants. This was right next to our destination which was Jun Qin Hua 
a small Guizhou restaurant on Meishuguan Houjie. 

The tiny restaurant just had  six tables covered with plastic tablecloths, a mish-mash of Guizhou decorations. Their tea had a very special and distinct taste. The boss told us that the tea is imported from Guizhou as are their sauces they use for their food.

Their cold noodles were very good! Very spicy! It was delicious. The seasoning was very special. 

This is their zaola tudou pian, stir-fried potatoes cooked with zaola, a type of crushed chilies popular in Guizhou. Zaola is Guizhou’s special condiment. According to a review I found online, "The chilies are stone pounded and then allowed to ferment. The thin slices of potato had been passed through oil first, which resulted in a crispy and delicious outer shell, but yet a moist and soft centre." It tasted like the most amazing tasty potato chip ever!

Our last dish was a plate of lazi ji with pieces of chicken covered in cloves of garlic and crushed chilies.

Adventure Miao Food was a success! I love eating at small hole in the wall places because the people are so much more friendly than the big restaurants. Plus, it's cheaper too! The chips were the best dish of the night!

Happy Eatings!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

My Mamma Told Me

(Me at the Slik Market holding my friend's bags to look like I bought a lot of stuff!)

My mom is both the most awesome and the worst parent of all time. I don't think she's ever taught me any life lessons or had any talks with me to make sure I didn't turn out to be some drug addict or gangster. She should be thankful. But if there is one life skill that she did teach me correctly and place immense emphasis on, was that I should never pay full price for something... especially in China. It's more like 50% and then take off some. Thanks Mom. Welcome to touristy and local attraction 秀水街 aka Silk Street/Silk Market. Turns out Silk Market doesn't only sell silk. Who would have known? It used to be an outdoor market before the Government closed it down and forced all the vendors to move into a 7 story shopping center. With almost 2,000 stores, this is definitely the place to come shop. This place also has a crap load of fake stuff. It's constantly sued by brand name companies. I went with a fellow Cantonese classmate. Thank goodness people in Beijing can't understand Cantonese. We were able to figure out how much to set the price without them knowing. Once you speak even a bit of English, the staff pulls you into their store and starts speaking ridiculously incorrect English to you. There was some Chinese person that told a little American girl that her parents must not love her very much if they weren't willing to buy her that bag she wanted. She also told her to leave her family. The good thing about this place is with as much as they try to rip you off, these "business people" are still very superstitious. If you go in the early morning and they haven't sold anything yet, they'll be willing to give you a very good price for things since they believe that you have to start your day out on the right foot. So if they sell something in the morning, that means the rest of the day will be filled with lots of business. My classmate is a Yale student so she wanted to buy a very thick coat. This lady was ridiculous and said $1,800. uh yeah right. They start out higher if you are speaking English. WIth my amazing bargaining skills, she ended up buying it for $180. Lady was pissed too. I'm sure she wouldn't have sold it if we weren't her first customers for they day. I only bought a small Harajuku bag for school and some Chinese earrings. It was awesome though!

They also had a food court in the mall. This was where the native people ate. They also had pizza and yogurt for the foreigners. 

I wanted noodles so they guy started making it from scratch right there. It was definitely a they don't make it til you order it thing. Pretty nifty for a food court.

Yummy fresh dumplings and noodles!

My classmate got a sort of kungpao chicken. They told her the price and she looked at the menu and asked why it was more than it said on the menu. The lady said the menu was the small size and she was ordering the big size. No worries though she'll give her $1 off. Apparently you can get $1 off food! Seriously? It's food...

And then came my worst nightmare. Silk Market is about an hour away from our campus, which meant that we needed to use the public bathroom. Oh my was that an experience. I'm going to have nightmares for years. There were 2 sides and lines for the bathrooms. One line was the squatters and the other line was the "express line." I was curious to see what they meant by express line. Turns out that means you can't go #2. Express line means that you are peeing in a sewer like thing. As you spread your legs, all you see is a line of other people's pee travel under you. Wow... I wanted to take a picture but I didn't want to risk dropping my camera. Plus, I don't think that's an image I want to remember. EVER. 

秀水街 is definitely worth visiting if you are going to be in Beijing. I think I just didn't want to spend money so I didn't buy as much stuff as my friend did. It's like a one stop shop place to get everything you want. This was way more fun than the Great Wall. The bathrooms... not so much though.

Happy Eatings!

Friday, July 9, 2010

My New Street Smarts

Every additional day I spend in Beijing is a huge learning experience especially in the form of Chinese street smarts. For example, I learned the China likes to tamper with the weather reports so that people don't get a day off work. The other day was the hottest day in Beijing. It was well over 42 Celsius according to thermometers but the weather report would only be reported as 30 something because apparently once it hits 40 degrees, people don't have to go to work because it's a health hazard. Sucks for the handful of people that died from dehydration since they weren't warned that when the weather report said "30 degrees", they actually meant more like 43. I took my newly acquired street smarts out to eat of course! I went out to weizhiwei. It's a pretty good chain restaurant that's all over China. They serve SIchuan food with a birdcage theme. It's a little Chinese, a little stripper, and a little Miley Cyrus at the same time.

Cool plates. Very hygienic with the chopsticks and the sealed wet napkin.

More of their inside decor!

Some of their birdcages. They also had these huge birdcages that you could sit in. Very Stripper-like. Awesome.

They had these Sichuan style shiumai things. Very good!

Their dan dan noodles were very good. They were a little too spicy for me though!

This was some sort of egg pancake thing that I didn't care much for.

This was very good. Sticky rice that is stuffed in little bamboo tubes. Too bad the tubes are so small and don't fit that much rice. 

I really liked their jian bao. It tasted really good especially with the sesame, but jianbao is technically a Shangainese food so I found it a little weird that it was at a Sichuan place. 

This was just a bad thing to order. We thought it was salty but it turned out being a tongyuen-like (rice ball) that was sweet and in a weird sauce. 

I ordered a dry noodle to try it out. It was very good. 

Here were our veggies for the day. 

Here was our colorful rice ball dessert. 

These pictures came from 2 different visits. I really like this place. You can also check out China's version of yelp which is
Happy Eatings!