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China, a Year of Dining


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#61 jsager01

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 12:44 PM

 

 

I have a friend who runs a popular restaurant in a very popular tourist destination in China. You may even have been there. I won't name it for now. Every week the local police chief, his friends and various local government big shots turn up, eat the place out, get blind drunk and walk out without paying. There is nothing she can do. If she makes a fuss, she loses her licence to trade. End of story.

 

Another friend was opening a restaurant in another city and needed a fire certificate. The entire fire department turned up (about 20 people), ate dinner and walked out. What could friend do? Nothing. She needs the fire certificate.

tries 

 

 

agree it does happen, but as a good citizen perhaps you could use your hand/mobile/cell phone to record such events  and post them on Weibo? This seems to be a popular form of ‘vigilante’ justice nowadays in china, and elsewhere.

 

corruption exists in every country and sociiety. Go  watch cbc.ca on your PC or whatever, and see corruption being exposed at various levels of the government, the number of mayors  in Montreal that had to resign in the past year, the scandals of the current mayor in Toronto, and the ongoing scandals of the senators expense claims in the canadian political system. 

 

 

 

Sorry if this is totally out of topic, but may be relevant if you are attending official dinners involving public figures. In 3 words, there is ; no free lunch, as everyone on this forum would know.. 

 

Unfortunately, the photos you had shown were not very appealing examples.  But, i know the dishes you are referring to.    

 

yes the photos  may not be very appealing and are terrible photos, but they do convey what i know of those 2 common and very  popular street foods. They are actually better than what i have taken, and that is why i dont post photos in my postings here.  There seems to be an obsession with  photos of food porn quality in this forum


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#62 basquecook

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 01:56 AM

Peashoots:

 

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Ants climbing a branch.. made with sweet potato bean really, delicious

 

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Twice cooked pork

 

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Spicy goat or something with sichuan peppercorns, dried chile.

 

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Pork belly with some sort of preserved greens.. When asked the name of the vegetable, it only translated as Chinese Greens

 

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#63 basquecook

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 02:01 AM

Another dinner with the Chief of police:

 

 

We went to this fancy restaurant, this guy has three places.. He is about 40 years old, worked in the Shangri La hotel in Beijing and some other place.. He is a trained Malayasian, Thai, Chinese and Italian Chef.   His restaurants are super fancy.  One is Thai, one is Malay and this one is his newest Chinese Place.. The food is super fancy and pretty delicious. 

 

We started with BBQ Pork Riblets and that sugary fried fish 

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Then these greens with two dipping sauces:

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Lotus and seeds and fresh water chestnuts.. Water chestnuts were like nothing i have ever had in the US.. It was more like a dense yucca than those crunchy coins that come in cans.   

 

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Spicy Eggplant

 

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Shrimp ground and served in like a fried bread with a mayo sauce:

 

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We were given the honor of cracking the shell with a spoon and drizzling the mayo sauce on top

 

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Happy Family Soup:

 

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Beef slices in the pickled, peppery sauce with mushrooms.. Third day in a row.. this was my favorite version

 

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Chicken stuffed inside pork stomach

 

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Durian pastry:

 

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Now the chef owner comes over with a box of various homemade chile condiments

 

there is chile oil with bacon, chile oil with dried shrimp and shredded beef, there is chile oil with pickled vegetables, chile oil with mushrooms, chile oil with ginger, peanuts and garlic.    

 

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He brings out buns and he is filling these buns with his chile mixtures

 

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The he brings over a dish that he is working on.  Pork elbow slices with a shit load of peppers.. super spicy.

 

that is a thyme branch

 

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People from other tables are coming over.. we are drinking whiskey, and beer and this guy is roaming around chugging full glasses of red wine.. Chugging red wine is a thing here..   The night ends with him bringing over a bottle of Vodka.  An expensive one,  maybe grey goose.. I tell them about bloody mary's and i tell them about screw drivers.. no one has had one.. i tell them, it's for breakfast.. we end the night slamming down a glass with half vodka, half watery, yellow looking oj.. 


Edited by basquecook, 11 November 2013 - 02:02 AM.

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#64 basquecook

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 02:03 AM

Back to Yangzhou for lunch

 

 

I have had that shredded tofu dish in a few places around China.. Nothing comes close to how good it is in Yangzhou. Even like 1.5 hours away, they can't make these tofu strips.. 

 

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Bean Curd

 

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Crepes

 

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Sichuan fried chicken.. They had these mushrooms that looked like sticks.. Fried pieces of bone in chicken, tons of peppers and onions, brow sauce. 

 

 

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Crispy duck with plum sauce and pancakes.

 

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Duck Soup:

 

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#65 basquecook

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 02:05 AM

A quick breakfast in Guangzhou

 

 

My first attempt was a good one at this dumpling stand.. Guy had a big wok with a little pool of oil.. He was selling 10 dumplings for 3 or 42 cents, roughly.. They were delicious, i would say along the lines of a prosperity dumpling

 

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Next we found this little store front.. They were making pork shumai and these little mini bao tze, filled with juicy pork.  This was closer to 8 rmb for the pair. 

 

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One guy made the shumai, one guys made the bao

 

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A  good way to s tart the day for sure

 

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The buns were my favorite as i have never seen them so little before.. super juicy.

 

here are the shumai close up.. sorry if i am spelling it incorrectly.

 

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#66 basquecook

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 02:06 AM

This was a Hunanese Restaurant that we found walking around one day in Guanzhou.  My friend and I who I met over there, we both don't speak Chinese so, we were happy they had photos of some of the items.. we managed to bang out a really nice meal.   We were the only Americans and there was a 25 minute wait, we figured it was a good sign.. The food was really lovely.

 

On the table they provided seaweed or some type of kelp in a very spicy sauce.. 
 
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We then had fried peanuts in Black Vinegar
 
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Cold spicy pig ears.. This was exceptional.. Lots of cilantro that added a nice freshness. 
 
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This is actually a Cantonese Dish but, hey, we are in Canton. I love this dish and am happy that i had a chance to eat it.  Super garlicky bean thread noodles over steamed scallops
 
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Spicy chicken with bamboo over a sterno.. super spicy oil was frying.  the table next to us started coughing from the fumes. 
 
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Greens with pork
 
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Ribs with gelatinous rice flavored with lotus leaf. the ribs were cooked with the rice.. the rice soaked up all the fat from the pork. there were parts of the rice that were super fatty and just delicious.  This was really great too.
 
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This is one of my favorite hunan dishes.. Fish head.. The fish head is split down the middle so, one side gets green the other side gets red..  The sauce is this wine, sauce and hot chile oil.  It's rich and sweet, spicy and sour.  So great.   
 
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i think there may be like an eyeball left in there.. one can ask for noodles at this point to have them tossed in the sauce but, we were out of room. 
 
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with 4 22's of beer, lunch was less than 50 dollars. 


Edited by basquecook, 11 November 2013 - 02:14 AM.

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#67 basquecook

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 02:08 AM

I was picked up and taken to a group dinner at a very traditional, village type restaurant, it was described by my host as.  

 

The company was strange.  Some weird dude from Copenhagen named Lars, his "female companion" and a few sales people..   Many people were drinking wine and sprite.  

 

Food starts flying out..

 

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I think that is roasted goat on the left.. a big thing of muddy fish in the middle with noodles, which was excellent. 

 

Then comes that really barnyardy meatballs in a strange green soup.. I ate it and enjoyed it this time.  A time when red wine actually went well with chinese food. 

 

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Meat dumplings in a broth.. Lots of chicken skin mixed in with the broth and the dumplings.

 

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There was dish that had beef slices over french fries.. It was actually pretty good.. the beef was good and it was in this thickened beef sauce that was served over the fries.. I really liked it. There was dried fish, there was these glutinous things that at first i thought were razor clams in this pesto type dressing.. it was not basil but, a green herb with oil and garlic that also went well with the red wine.. I was switching between red wine and beer.   They kept filling my drink so, guy to my right gave me wine, person to my left gave me beer.  There were local greens mixed with 1,000 year old eggs, stewed greens, rice with greens, spicy cabbage with pork, steamed shrimp with corn.. Lots of food, it just kept coming..  

 

Good food.  Not the best company but, sometimes, not be able to speak the same language is a good thing.   

 

 

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Edited by basquecook, 11 November 2013 - 02:12 AM.

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#68 Shelby

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 11:28 AM

In the fourth picture up are those sunflower seeds?  



#69 basquecook

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 11:47 AM

yup, sunflower seeds. Normally there are peanuts, this was one of the first times we were given sunflower seeds.  


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#70 Darienne

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 11:50 AM

Wow!  Wow!  Amazing.  Stupendous.  Just keep it coming, basquecook and we'll all keep watching and reading. 


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#71 basquecook

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 02:24 PM

I requested we go for some Sichuan Food:Thick gluttonous noodles with the classic Sichuan Combination of hot and a little vinegar

This was one of the better dishes of the night:

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Interesting.. there were a lot of pine nuts in this dish: Little pieces of lamb

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Sliced fish in spicy broth:

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This was my favorite dish of the night.. It was little bits of chicken on the bone served with something similar if not exactly like yucca.It was served in a spicy and fatty chicken broth.. 

This, chinese rice wine, airborne and nyquil make for a lovely cold remedy.This dish was awesome. 

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Fried live shrimp on a skewer.. This is just like the little shrimp I get in chinatown. The were sweet and delicious. 

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Cumin lamb ribs with peanuts and peppers.. Amazing too

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A little cold goose never hurt nobody

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Spicy tofu:

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Not a bad dinner for 4,I think it came out to something like 35 dollars:

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#72 basquecook

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 02:27 PM

We started with some spicy duck web:

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Shredded bean curd: In a sesame oil

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Spicy pig stomach: served with some chinese vinegar.

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This is interesting.. It was beef with noodles in a Coconut Broth. I asked my guy if this was Chinese and he was pretty adamant about saying yes. Though, these guys are pretty nationalistic. There was some sort of pause during the conversation when I was telling them that Dodge was an American Company . I think they were like, yeh, right, let this stupid American think they invented everything. 

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Pork Buns: steamed and then browned on the bottom with sesame seeds:

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More of the reddish green greens. 

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Beijing Duck: It was not the best but, it was not bad. Crispy skin, juicy meat, what's not to like.


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Sliced fish with fresh bamboo.. One thing I missed about Chinese Cuisine in China is the access to Fresh Bamboo.. Nothing beats it, it is so awesome. 

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Everyone full yet? 

But wait, there's more:

Clear rice noodle with crab.. The crab was cooked in the noodles in such a way that much of the flavor of the crab was imparted in the noodles. Kind of like a crab rice. there is also mushrooms in the sauce. Crab meat was wonderful.. i love dipping crab into the vinegar. 

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More duck soup. Lots of duck soup..   

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This was one of the more complete Yangzhou rices I have had so far. Little pieces of thousand year old eggs, little shrimp, bits of eggs, peas, carrots, some onions.. Delicious. Best fried rice I have had by a long shot. The egg was ribboned through out the dish. I don't know how they could have done that. 

7261739034_26dbb76be8.jpg


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#73 Shelby

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 02:52 PM

Tell me about the duck web.  What part of the duck is that?  I have a guess, but I don't want to look silly lol.

 

Or, rather, sillier than normal ;)


Edited by Shelby, 11 November 2013 - 02:54 PM.

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#74 dcarch

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 05:46 PM

Tell me about the duck web.  What part of the duck is that?  I have a guess, but I don't want to look silly lol.

 

Or, rather, sillier than normal ;)

 

You can buy duck web (uncooked) here in stores in NYC. They are like chicken feet except boneless.

 

I have no idea how they manage to remove the bones.

 

dcarch


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#75 FauxPas

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 07:05 PM

basquecook, I am curious about the amount of vegetarianism in China. Although you have been treated to some lovely vegetarian dishes, I am surprised by the amount and variety of meat in some meals. Is meat considered a sign of prosperity, a necessary menu item when entertaining a 'foreigner?' Do the Chinese really eat that much meat in their meals? And yes, I realize that there are various religious limits on food, such as with the Muslim district.

 

I'm not sure about the proportion of Buddhists or Daoists in China, but are there many people who join in these meals but do not partake in the meat dishes? And perhaps this is a question that I should address to others on this forum as well, but I am curious about your experience while being in China. 

 

I love all the photos you have posted and you still have notes to identify the food you ate over so many meals! Wow. I admire your organization or your memory. 



#76 Shelby

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 07:16 PM

 

Tell me about the duck web.  What part of the duck is that?  I have a guess, but I don't want to look silly lol.

 

Or, rather, sillier than normal ;)

 

You can buy duck web (uncooked) here in stores in NYC. They are like chicken feet except boneless.

 

I have no idea how they manage to remove the bones.

 

dcarch

 

So it is the webbed duck feet!  Thank you :)  I had the right guess.  I bet I will never ever get a chance to try those.  



#77 liuzhou

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 02:31 AM

 

I am curious about the amount of vegetarianism in China.

 

See new thread on this topic here.



#78 stephen129

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Posted 15 November 2013 - 10:05 PM

Thanks so much for sharing Basquecook, this is making me want to go to mainland China so much. It's 5am in London and I'm starving thanks to this thread. Luckily I'm off to Hong Kong in a few weeks so I'll get my Asian food fix there.

#79 basquecook

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 02:14 PM

Hey thanks.. It was certainly fun sharing this with most of you.  I kind of got distracted and ran out of steam.. Thanks for coming along with me.  If I ever got motivated I will finish this up. 

 

Thanks again. 


“I saw that my life was a vast glowing empty page and I could do anything I wanted" JK


#80 rotuts

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 02:16 PM

fantastic work.  really fantastic.

 

BTW, going back soon?     :biggrin:



#81 basquecook

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 02:21 PM

Thank you.  I go back three times  a year or so.  I am in the middle of a pretty interesting work project on the home front so, I may only go back twice this year.  I just picked up a new customer in Qingdao so that is cool, I may go up to Beijing for a little bit.  I really want to try to get over to Yili to see the Lavender fields. But, we shall see what this year has in store. 


Edited by basquecook, 19 November 2013 - 02:21 PM.

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#82 rotuts

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 02:27 PM

Sooooooooo   you still have a 'bit' to post from the past Year ?    :biggrin:

 

is Qingdao the former 'german' area that makes the beer?   :biggrin:

 

i enjoy it with spicy foods.  maybe you can take a Tour with some jpgs?

 

I do appreciate the great amount of effort it took not just to take the snaps but to share them and the commentary with us (ME)


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#83 patrickamory

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 06:24 PM

Yes thanks basquecook! And I for one would super pleased to read more if & when you have time to post it.


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#84 judiu

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Posted 22 November 2013 - 07:51 PM

Given the abundance thereof, wouldn't that be "souper" plesaed? (Runs away, fast.)
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#85 LuckysticksPRC

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Posted 06 March 2014 - 02:09 PM

Ahh, you don't understand how this adds up to a year.  Perhaps, look at the title a different way.  I am posting about three trips, so, that would be "my" year of a eating in China. You know, Jan, May, October.  Three seasons.   I did not mean 365 days. sorry if my title was or could be misinterpreted.  One of the dangers of communication. I am sure though, with some thought, one could have figured out the title's logic.   i am there for work.  My hotel meals as you point out, are my lunches.   You can see from such things as me eating at a 500 year old Dim Sum place, all of the local dinners, or the local lunches I have posted about, that in fact, the Hotel meals are very limited to lunches with one particular customer.  So, when you say, "this is ALL so far hotel meals"  you are in fact, not speaking correctly.
 

All of the restaurant meals, I have gone with life long residents of these places and was invited into the restaurant and local places they gather with friends and family.. Perhaps you are in not familiar with Yangzhou or Zhangjiagang and their cuisine.  Either way, i assure you, the places I visited are all local places and the hotel meals, were limited to my lunches.  

 

I don't know if your intention is to be adversarial but, a more sensitive person might think so.  Perhaps you just skimmed the photos and noticed a salad or two and thought all the meals I posted about was hotel food  But that is clearly not the case and I would invite you to read the threads.  I was hoping for positive input from you and I still hope to. 

 

Hey Basquecook,

 

I've been on these boards off and on for a few years and I don't he was trying to be adversarial.  All of your meals don't necessarily look like they were ordered in a hotel, but "hotel food" in China is a word I've heard used to mean basically anything that is served in a private room that has been decorated with gold, glass & leather. I think this is more of an expat saying, and Liuzhou has probably just been in China too long and has unwittingly included this bit of jargon.

 

I will agree that, with the exception of the Pinghu pictures, all of these look like very fancy restaurants that common Chinese people either couldn't (or wouldn't be willing to) afford, or would only go to on special occassions. Especially, the seafood hotel - I went to one just like it in Xiaoxing, and while the prices seemed more than reasonable to me, they would have been hilariously extravagant to my in-laws. You were definitely being treated as a guest, and were taken to places meant for showing off. While smaller, more simply decorated specialty places (like a place that serves tripe hotpot and very little else) might have better dishes, the places you went usually do have some awesome, well-prepared and presented food. Also, fancier places in China are were you're going to see more experiemental dishes, whereas the small neighborhood places tend to stick to what they're known for with almost no deviation.

 

The only sentence I want to point out is, "...depressing trip down incredibly poor alley..." You were in Jiangsu province, which has very little real poverty compared to other parts of China (try Anhui or Ningxia), and especially other countries (or how about Detroit?). That alley is what most of urban China looks like, and probably housed a restaurant better than the one you were on your way to. Those areas are incredibly safe (compared to the US), and would not be considered poor by most Chinese folks. If you meant the traffic situation was depressing; well then, I totally agree.

 

Regardless of everything else, you definitely had some awesome food on your trip, and that's what's great about China - great food is literally everywhere! Next time you're there, tell your hosts you're looking for something a little less fancy and more local. Or tell them you want to go to a night market and eat some food from street stands - you will have a blast and walk away with even better pictures.



#86 basquecook

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Posted 07 March 2014 - 12:52 PM

 

I will agree that, with the exception of the Pinghu pictures, all of these look like very fancy restaurants that common Chinese people either couldn't (or wouldn't be willing to) afford, or would only go to on special occassions. Especially, the seafood hotel - I went to one just like it in Xiaoxing, and while the prices seemed more than reasonable to me, they would have been hilariously extravagant to my in-laws. You were definitely being treated as a guest, and were taken to places meant for showing off. While smaller, more simply decorated specialty places (like a place that serves tripe hotpot and very little else) might have better dishes, the places you went usually do have some awesome, well-prepared and presented food. Also, fancier places in China are were you're going to see more experiemental dishes, whereas the small neighborhood places tend to stick to what they're known for with almost no deviation.

 

 

Sorry but, I will bite.. Your reasoning is highly flawed..  Firstly, you said, with the exception of the Pinghu photos, all of these are very fancy restaurants.  So, while I was eating dumplings on the street, or the food on the street in Xian, you found these to be fancy restaurants?    Or the restaurant I described where the people I went with go once a week with their family. 

 

When I am in China, I hang out with wealthy people.. I hang out with people who own factories, hotels, businesses. I hang out with government officials, I hang out with the Chief of Police, I go to dinner and lunch with people who are very wealthy.  Sorry, those are the people I am doing business with.  

 

I told my one Chinese friend that I ate off the street and she almost died.  She was like, you can't do that.  I don't do that.   

 

So, I understand that you have been to China or lived in China but, not everyone is squatting in an alley over a bowl of rice.  

 

That would be like someone coming back from a trip to New York who has eaten at Per Se, who has gone to Peter Lugers and a Mario Batalli restaurant and then over to a Le Bernardin and then maybe to the Meatball shop and then over to Maialino and hearing from someone, that is not how real people eat.   Well, that is how some people eat, that is not how everyone eats but, that is certainly how some people do eat.

 

There is a large mix of restaurants, I understand that my business dinners or lunches were what they were, business lunches and dinners.. But, there is a large mix of street, family places and fancy places.. And if I hadn't been interrupted and rudely challenged, you would have seen the entire scope but, I chose not to continue.  

 

But, I have been going to China for many years and I have been from everywhere from a thousand dollar meal to a 35 cent meal.  I truly know what I am talking about.  And it''s a big place and everyone's experience is different.   But, if my trip doesn't fit into one person's narrow minded view point, I apologize. 

 

Please let this thread die.  


Edited by basquecook, 07 March 2014 - 12:58 PM.

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“I saw that my life was a vast glowing empty page and I could do anything I wanted" JK


#87 rotuts

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Posted 07 March 2014 - 12:56 PM

""  I hang out with the Chief of Police  ""

 

""  those are the people I am doing business with.  ""

 

like this part   :biggrin:

 

very sorry you got frustrated.   I loved this thread

 

sorry you chose not to continue

 

Id be very happy to have dinner w the C of P.


Edited by rotuts, 07 March 2014 - 12:57 PM.


#88 basquecook

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Posted 07 March 2014 - 01:03 PM

It's like really.. What the hell is this conversation even about.  Unless you are sitting in an alley way swatting away flies and watching people die of malaria, you aren't getting the true experience.  

 

Going back in a couple of months.. I will try another thread.  


Edited by basquecook, 07 March 2014 - 01:04 PM.

“I saw that my life was a vast glowing empty page and I could do anything I wanted" JK


#89 Shelby

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Posted 07 March 2014 - 01:21 PM

I enjoy reading your posts, too!  Don't stop!


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#90 FauxPas

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Posted 07 March 2014 - 02:29 PM

I'd enjoy reading more, if you are willing to post more! Your experiences are your experiences and lots of people are interested in sharing them. And so great to see so many photos. 


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