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May 2014 China Trip


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#1 basquecook

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Posted 26 May 2014 - 11:08 PM

Good morning from Zhangjigang.  Due to me recent discovery of Melatonin, my sleepless beginning nights in China have been replaced with relatively long nights of restful sleep..   Certainly a much better situation for me, but this translates into a less prolific China posting perhaps.. 
 
But not to worry dear reader, if you were concerned I was having a more comfortable trip, I have decided to add a few more cities and a much more hectic schedule.. 
 
I have been here for 5 nights and have already visited 4 cities, taking three plane rides and stayed in 5 different hotels..  I arrived at 3 pm nights ago in Shanghai.  The following morning I worked all day and flew out that evening to Qingdao City.. The following morning I drove three hours to Rizhao City.. Then drove back to Qingdao, worked the entire day, left the following morning at 7 am for the airport.. Flew to Beijing, caught a connecting flight, then arrived in WUXI at around 3 pm, where I met a driver and drove me to where i am..  Tired yet, cause I am so tired, I feel like I could cry at any moment. 
 
A hectic schedule no doubt, but, it gets me done and home much sooner.  
 
 
I arrived to my hotel in Shanghai around 430 6 nights ago.. I was able to catch a quick shower, drink a quicker beer and then jump in a 45 minute taxi right to meet a fellow mouthfuller, Sickchangeup. 
 
Sickchangeup, is a wonderful host and took me out with his friends on a night on the town.  By grace of god, I was able to run into our fellow friend.   We were to meet at the intersection of two streets in Shanghai.  Unknown to him, me, the concierge and a taxi driver,  those two streets are on a loop. So, they intersect at two points.. One being about a half a mile away from each other..  After standing on the corner for about 30 minutes, the song Fool in the Rain popped into my head..Perhaps, i am standing on the wrong block! 
 
After a brief half mile jog in 80 degree heat and humidity, I was incredibly relieved to see a familiar face waving to me across the street.   
 
Mr. Changeup, is awesome. His friends are awesome and we had a really fun night..  
 
We walked down this block of restaurants that had all sorts of seafood items to be grilled, steamed and boiled in beer. It also appears to be Crawfish Season all over china. 
 
This was pretty much the first sight i got to see on this street.. It was a very good sign
 
14251268081_2690fe46c5_z.jpg
 
A wide variety of seafood, ready for the grill

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Scallops and oysters being grilled with garlic:
 
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After a brief walk up and down this street filled with vendors, we chose a place.. While we thought we were going to sit inside, we were told to jump a divider, cross the street and sit in a parking lot where tables and chairs were set up for us, A La Good Fellas style..   We spent the night, sitting under the Shanghai Sky, drinking beers, taking shots of rice wine and eating a variety of food.. From Lamb Testicles on Skewers, to those amazing crawfish, to grilled scallops and oysters, lots of vegetables, peanuts and several other things that now escape me. 
 
This is what our table looked like at one point during the melee.  
 
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The one time, where we actually went to the bathroom, instead of peeing in the back of the parking lot like we were instructed to do, I was able to snap a photo of how a more dignified table of girls ate there food... But, this is what we were eating as well.
 
I could honestly eat this meal everyday for the rest of my life. 
 
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Such a fun night.. And a great transition into China.. I had perhaps only slept 4 hours in the last 30 something hours.. But, with the eating drinking and not passing out once I got to the hotel, it set me right.  
 
Really thankful to have met Sickchangeup. What a great host and a better person.  
 

 


Edited by basquecook, 26 May 2014 - 11:08 PM.

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#2 basquecook

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Posted 26 May 2014 - 11:11 PM


The following morning in Shanghai, I woke up at 7 am to be picked up and brought to a meeting.. We worked all day and headed to the airport around 5 pm, to fly out to Qingdao City where we were picked up at 7 am the following morning and driven 3 and half hours to Rizhao City, where we then worked all day again..   Rizhao City, meaning Sunshine City I believe.. It is a small costal town, that fills up with tourist who want to relax along the Yellow Sea..  

 

The man I met in Shanghai, was not a food guy.. One of the first and only  Chinese People i have met, who was not a food guy..   He suggested we eat McDonalds,I declined.. He then took us to a cafe that was run by a German guy.. He ordered vegetables in a brown sauce..I was deciding between a BLT, spaghetti, or pizza.. I decided on roasted duck with rice.. The duck was actually much better than i expected. 

 

But still not awesome

 

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After a flight delay, we landed in Qingdao City around 11 am on a Friday Night... We checked into the hotel and then asked the Concierge, what was opened.. He said, hot pot, threw us in a taxi and we were on our way..   I noticed that the taxi ride was only, a short distance from our hotel.. After seeing countless set ups like, i experienced in Shanghai, I wanted to run it back..  We ditched the hot pot place and found another grilled seafood place.. Not to mention,  we were in Qingdao, the place where Tsingtao is made..What goes better with grilled seafood than beer?   (though the question was rhetorical, the answer is still, nothing)

 

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you killed Patrick, Bastards! 

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It's very convenient for non chinese speakers as, I was able to point at things, both on display and at peoples tables.. I am not a shy guy and was able to walk around with a waiter and point at food on peoples tables.. 

 

We had grilled giant shrimp, grilled scallops, grilled oysters, grilled lamb sticks, clams in garlic and ginger sauce, jiaozi dumplings and some greens... Not to mention, a few pitchers of beer, 

 

these were awesome

 

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greenbeans and lamb with cumin and pepper

 

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these dumplings appear to be thick but, they are so light and airy. the shell is so perfect, I was amazed.. 

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greens

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Damaged done:

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Half drunk and still delirious from sleep deprivation, we stumbled back to the hotel.. In typical Chinese Crazyness, they decided to turn off the lights of our hotel. we were staying at the crowne plaza, a huge hotel which lit up the Qingdao night sky.. However, we longer had that as our guiding light so, we got lost.   

 

We stumbled upon a mirage:

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The unicorns finally told us how to get home..  We were very thankful..  Asleep by 1:30, up by 6:30, in a new city, 3 hours away by 10:30.  The whirlwind continues. 

 

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#3 basquecook

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Posted 26 May 2014 - 11:14 PM

So, arriving in Rizhao city, we worked a little and then had lunch... Our host is very much into Sichuan Food so, that is where went..  A sichuan restaurant that was pretty fantastic.. Like in the US, Sichuan Food is all the rage in China these days..   

 

We started with sweet lotus root and stuffed with this very glutenous rice

 

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There was also a plate of Chinese Charcuterie. A sausage and an amazing, amazing, smokey bacon.   

 

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This was Mao's favorite pork dish..  I have had it many times and this was a very nice version

 

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I don't know the name of this shrimp dish but, i have had it before.. This though, was the best version i have had of it.. It was spicy, sweet, with lots of peppercorns.. Really nice.

 

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Sliced fish in chile oil.. Prior to eating this dish, the waitress, table side, fished out this huge plate of peppercorns and peppers.. You can see the dish off in the background.. But, that all was in the pot when it was brought out. 

 

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Tofu and crab roe.

 

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there were a few other things but, i couldn't didn't take photos..   

 

Sorry, rushing through these posts but, I am trying to catch up here..  Been up since 3 am this morning as, our new host insists we eat dinner at 5 at night.. so, when i go back to the room at 730.. I am asleep by 8 and up by three.. It's really annoying but, whatever..   last few meals were a lot of fun.. I will wait until later tonight or some time. 


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#4 Anna N

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Posted 27 May 2014 - 02:45 AM

I am breathless just reading about your schedule. You must have an iron constitution to eat that much in so short a time. But I enjoy reading about it and really appreciate your efforts. Thank you.
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#5 rotuts

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Posted 27 May 2014 - 04:16 AM

I have to confess, BC, I go over this thread many many times.

 

:biggrin:


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#6 Dejah

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Posted 27 May 2014 - 05:41 AM

"Killing me softly .............with this thread............................ :wub: "


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#7 NancyH

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Posted 27 May 2014 - 06:31 AM

Beautiful food! Thank you for sharing.


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#8 Plantes Vertes

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Posted 27 May 2014 - 08:16 AM

Maybe it would be simpler just to tell us what you didn't eat :biggrin:

 

Thanks for your posts Basquecook. Fascinating.


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#9 scamhi

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Posted 27 May 2014 - 10:19 AM

yum and wow what a schedule. Keep posting. love it.


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#10 basquecook

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Posted 27 May 2014 - 07:17 PM

thanks all! 

 

 

So in Rizhao City, or Sunshine City, it's right on the water.. Seafood is on the menu.   We entered this sort of metal building, think like a General Steel made warehouse that had this mock Chinese garden inside.. Waterfalls, streams, bridges and things.. 

 

Shot from my hotel room in Rizhao at say, 5 am


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there were also some interesting things like, silk worms, moths, grass hoppers and crickets and things..  Everyone wants me to order and I just tell them to get what they normally would get.. As,  I don't know what's good, whats special or what's local.. 

 

I would not have gotten these but, he ordered some moths.. Think Silence of the Lambs type moths..  They were actually pretty good.. More chewy, less crunchy and had like a wheat taste to them. white pepper on the side


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there was a large charcoal grill.. lamb sticks have been big this trip.. 

 

 

 

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chicken wings with the same flavoring.
 
 
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clams again.. 

 

 

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This is super interesting.. This was called simply, yummy pork.   The bread of wrap has a similar story to matzo.. Legend has it, soldiers running or fighting or whatever, made this wrap in haste.. It last forever.  you can roll it up and eat what's you put in.. The pork was dried and fried.  It was really chewy and super delicious..  sweet and spicy.. garlic scopes and some greens were included.. one of the better things from the trip maybe because it's new to me also.. 

 

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Fluffy sesame bread.  You would put this soy pickled vegetables and fold it over.. 

 

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14280993973_8f53f6f726_z.jpgphoto not loading but, it's either seaweed or some sort of stringy and crunchy vegetable.. it has to be a sea plant. 

 

 

cauliflower and pork with sichuan peppercorns and a brown sauce. 

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eh, internet is cutting out.. gotta go to work.. will finish later.. 

 

but, there was a whole fish we ate and a large pot of chicken soup. 


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#11 basquecook

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Posted 27 May 2014 - 09:03 PM

here is a quick one from the breakfast buffet in rizhao.. Some funny mislabelings.. 

 

This was not a banana. 

 

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this fried fish container did not cotain peach juice

 

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there were no bean brains

 

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people have often said that broccoli is different out here... 

 

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well, that may have been labeled correctly

 

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there were perhaps, 40 other examples but, you get the point. 


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#12 basquecook

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Posted 27 May 2014 - 09:05 PM

Quick lunch today.. We went to this place that said, farm small restaurant on it..  I was really looking to see farm to table for some reason. 

 

 

started with cold dishes.. 

 

pig ears.

 

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Seaweed or kelp.. it was slightly spicy.

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cooked pumpkin served warm 

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super fresh and sweet shrimp

 

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deep fried eggplant with crunchy fried crumbs and like dehydrated sweet pepper. 

 

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river fish

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octopus and peppers

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water bamboo

 

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potatoes and green beans with pork in a brown sauce

 

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a pot of chicken soup, 4 22's of beer and rice... bill was 257 rmb or like 40 bones.. 

 

such waste.. 

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i have been up since 3 am.. i am back in the showroom.. need another beer and then like a quart of tea. 


Edited by basquecook, 27 May 2014 - 09:05 PM.

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#13 basquecook

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Posted 28 May 2014 - 02:46 AM

That evening in Qingdao, the second time we were there, after arriving back from Rizhao, we went back to restaurant street.  

 

 

 

 

more clams:

 

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more greens

 

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more bbq chicken

 

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more lamb:

 

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more dumplings

 

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these guys are new.. i wanted spicy sauce but, they came out just steamed, i dipped in vinegar.. These look like a snail and a shrimp had some really ugly babies. 

 

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And obviously lots more beer.. The fresh beer on tap in Qingdao reminds me of the beer in Cologne almost..  Just super fresh. I ordered a bottle to compare the two.. I am very scientific you know?  

 

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#14 rotuts

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Posted 28 May 2014 - 02:52 AM

what were those ugly things like ?



#15 basquecook

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Posted 28 May 2014 - 03:02 AM

Tasted like a less sweet shrimp but, the meat attaches itself to the shell tightly and there is not much meat. Good But, a lot of work.

Edited by basquecook, 28 May 2014 - 03:03 AM.


#16 Nayan Gowda

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Posted 28 May 2014 - 05:07 AM

what were those ugly things like ?

They look like mantis shrimp.

 

basquecook - very much enjoying this thread; thank you.


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#17 liuzhou

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Posted 28 May 2014 - 06:31 AM

 

The fresh beer on tap in Qingdao reminds me of the beer in Cologne almost.

 

Not surprising. Tsingtao brewery was founded in 1903 as an Anglo-German company which was taken over by the Nationalist government in 1916 then nationalised by Mao in 1949.

 

For many years it followed German brewing laws, but alas no more.

 

Although Germany has no controlling interest today, the head brew master is still (or was until recently) a German national. The company is now owned by the Qingdao Brewery Company (i.e the Chinese Government) (73.1%), Japan's Asahi Beer Company (19.9%) and a private investor (7%)

 

That said, I wouldn't say it is the best beer in China. I wouldn't even say it is the best in Qingdao, although I do have fond memories of getting through gallons of the stuff, while munching on grilled squid on a stick..



#18 basquecook

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Posted 28 May 2014 - 06:42 AM

They look like mantis shrimp.

basquecook - very much enjoying this thread; thank you.


Thanks so much. Yeh, mantis shrimp, they are. A lot of work for not much pay off. I remembered eating these on the street in Hong Kong many years ago.

#19 Shelby

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Posted 28 May 2014 - 06:51 AM

Loving all of this!  (I hope you get some sleep soon ;) )


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#20 rotuts

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Posted 28 May 2014 - 07:05 AM

Sleep vs Eat  :   Id go with Eat as long as you can ...

 

after all, this is  Not McDonald's   

 

:biggrin:


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#21 basquecook

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Posted 28 May 2014 - 08:23 AM

Good nights make for bad mornings.. 

 

 

It was a really fun night and a full on feast.. A guy who ran a trucking company, a lawyer, a few other professionals in this group meet in nice restaurants and eat like champs. Also, through out the night, people from other rooms come in to meet the American and challenge me to a drinking contest.. Whether it's jugging a beer or finishing a large glass of rice wine..  It's peer pressure on a Global Level.  

 

I must say, i can't hang with the rice wine.. It destroys me.. It is pure rot.. I can and do drink anything.  It's just this rice wine stuff ruins my next day. It makes for fun nights but, really it's not worth it for me.  (saying this now with drinkers remorse)

 

I even brought a bottle of whiskey hoping to coax some folks into switching teams.. It did not work.. 

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It's an international hotel with some Japanese influence.  I have eaten here many times and the food is exceptional. 

 

Not a traditional chinese dish.. Actually, it was the first time for everyone at the table trying this.. it's called ice lettuce.. Its so good, such an awesome consistency.  Fat branches that are crispy and filled with a fresh cold liquid.  It's like an Asian Pear lettuce branch.  

 

Japanese ginger dressing

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Sliced cold beef:

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Crunchy cold cartilage like fish.. 

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No idea what the hell this is.. I never tried it.. 

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Pork belly:

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Pork belly:

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water bamboo and like chunks of fat

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more chaos. 

 

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potatoes and beef i think 

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fried sweet pork on bone

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Fried chicken, fried peppers, sichuan peppers.  So good

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sliced fish:

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Fish:

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more fish:

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This is "special fish"  in fresh green peppercorn with noodles. 

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at one point during the evening, whenever we noticed a certain fish on the table was spun around and facing a person, that person had to drink their wine..  

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There were also these fried beef cubes with fried duck liver.. that was a new one..   We stayed there for close to 5.5 hours.. It was an awesome time..  

 

damage done:

 

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Edited by basquecook, 28 May 2014 - 08:28 AM.

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#22 basquecook

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Posted 28 May 2014 - 08:25 AM

A side story.. I was in the elevator, I had just entered on the 30th floor, heading up to the 32nd floor.. A mother and her young song, perhaps 2 years old is standing in the middle of the elevator.. I am only going 2 floors up.. Within that time, I am splashed on the arm with liquid.  I look down and see the little kid standing there, peeing in a bucket, they type you would bring to the beach, that his mother is holding..   The kid is peeing in a bucket, in the middle of the elevator in a 5 star hotel.  

 

Good times.. 

 

 

 

Another fun story, after i just checked into the hotel i am currently in, i met a customer down in the lobby.. as i was walking down the hall, i was passing the maid who was delivering my fruit plate.. She dropped the entire fruit plate on the floor and picked up the apples, pears and cherries on the ground.. I watched her casually pick it all up and continue on her way to my room.. I expect nothing less.. 


Edited by basquecook, 28 May 2014 - 09:05 AM.

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#23 Smithy

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Posted 28 May 2014 - 09:13 AM

The variety, apparent quality and sheer quantity of food are astonishing. What happens to any leftovers? Do you know?

Thanks for the extra stories. I suppose with a 2-year-old, the expediency of a beach bucket may be better than the alternative. ;-)

I'll bet you've come away with 'chaos' as the new slang culinary term. :-D

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#24 huiray

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Posted 28 May 2014 - 09:51 AM

 

A side story.. I was in the elevator, I had just entered on the 30th floor, heading up to the 32nd floor.. A mother and her young song, perhaps 2 years old is standing in the middle of the elevator.. I am only going 2 floors up.. Within that time, I am splashed on the arm with liquid.  I look down and see the little kid standing there, peeing in a bucket, they type you would bring to the beach, that his mother is holding..   The kid is peeing in a bucket, in the middle of the elevator in a 5 star hotel.  

 

Good times.. 

 

 

 

Another fun story, after i just checked into the hotel i am currently in, i met a customer down in the lobby.. as i was walking down the hall, i was passing the maid who was delivering my fruit plate.. She dropped the entire fruit plate on the floor and picked up the apples, pears and cherries on the ground.. I watched her casually pick it all up and continue on her way to my room.. I expect nothing less.. 

 

 

You may know about or have heard about these... Googlesearch1, Googlesearch2.   :smile:

 

Nice thread, nice to see the food you write about.

 

The "greenery" you had twice (like this one you posted) looks like "water spinach" (Ipomoea aquatica) although what you had may be the cultivar that is grown on land.  Various names in the dialects and in other cuisines given here.


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#25 huiray

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Posted 28 May 2014 - 10:19 AM

Not a traditional chinese dish.. Actually, it was the first time for everyone at the table trying this.. it's called ice lettuce.. Its so good, such an awesome consistency.  Fat branches that are crispy and filled with a fresh cold liquid.  It's like an Asian Pear lettuce branch.  

 

Japanese ginger dressing

14283811481_1f55e96a8d_z.jpg

 

 

Could it be "冰菜", I wonder.  It does look like it.  Also known as Ficoïde glaciale (two articles on this here and here).  Was it served cold or hot?  Did the vegetable itself have the taste described in those two articles or was it muted/masked by the ginger dressing?


Edited by huiray, 28 May 2014 - 10:27 AM.


#26 dcarch

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Posted 28 May 2014 - 01:38 PM

Enjoying this thread immensely.

 

Thanks for posting.

 

dcarch



#27 basquecook

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Posted 28 May 2014 - 04:07 PM

Thanks everyone.. I appreciate you following along..   Unfortunately, i do not have access to the NY Times in China..  But, on a search, i noticed the article as well.. The last link you sent, is exactly what it was.. I did not notice the flavor as it was masked by the heavy ginger dressing.   it was more textural than anything..  I also have been fighting a cold for the last week.  

 

I vaguely remember the Chinese name being something like Bingcao, or Bingao.   I always get excited to try something new.  

 

I don't know if i mentioned this or not but, i am heading to Chengdu in the next week.. I leave on June 3rd.  I am fortunate enough to have been in touch with another egullet member, Peter Green, who put me in touch with a guide for that portion of the trip!  Really looking forward to that.  


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#28 huiray

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Posted 28 May 2014 - 05:58 PM

Thanks everyone.. I appreciate you following along..   Unfortunately, i do not have access to the NY Times in China..  But, on a search, i noticed the article as well.. The last link you sent, is exactly what it was.. I did not notice the flavor as it was masked by the heavy ginger dressing.   it was more textural than anything..  I also have been fighting a cold for the last week.  

 

I vaguely remember the Chinese name being something like Bingcao, or Bingao.   I always get excited to try something new.  

 

 

Ah.  Well, the pinyin for "冰菜" ("ice vegetable") (see my post above) I believe would be bīng cài (Liuzhou might confirm that if it is correct) so that would seem to be consistent with what you remembered.



#29 patrickamory

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Posted 28 May 2014 - 06:08 PM

Incredible work basquecook - both the eating and the reportage. Keep it up, please!

 

Dumplings will henceforth always be "chaos" in my world… nice one.


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#30 liuzhou

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Posted 28 May 2014 - 10:15 PM

 

Well, the pinyin for "冰菜" ("ice vegetable") (see my post above) I believe would be bīng cài (Liuzhou might confirm that if it is correct)

 

Confirmed. 

 

It is also known as 冰 叶 (bīng yè), literally 'ice leaf'.

 

Mesembryanthemum crystallinum


Edited by liuzhou, 28 May 2014 - 10:23 PM.