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Posts posted by jokhm

  1. I don't know.. maybe it is just the style of dumplings here that I simply cannot get into. That.. and perhaps I feel lost without a few good and cheap shrimp dumplings now and then. So far my luck has been hit and miss with jiaozi here.. when it's a miss, it's barely edible, and a hit consists of something decent and filling but requires far more vinegar than I'd normally use.

    uch, i'm not eating today.. so why am I on this forum, it's killing me.



    Shanghai.. yes. I'm definitely headed there.. common in MTL?! heh I will check it out 100%. Not looking for love at the moment.. unless it's been cooked. Your wife reads this forums doesn't she.....?

  2. It is gross... as is soo much of the architecture here. Though I am told it will get better in shanghai.. so what's up with that?!?

    It IS the architectural Biennial here in beijing, and that's great news for hot architects with wild ideas, cause China is all ears for implimenting crazy things into Beijing's landscape. Only problem is that when I looked for info on getting into some of the site areas, the prices started at 700US....! Am I missing something?.


    any new food recommendations for this city. I need a place that has some good southern fare.. and dumplings in particular. Everytime I go and seek out something similar on my own I end up thoroughly disappointed..

    but still.. the duck is good, and there are a number of good sichuan and xinjiang places that I've found.. funfun

  3. Ahh, good to hear you are still tuning in Shewie!

    heh.. that's an interesting saying.. I'll throw it around here in these parts to see what effect it has.

    I'm still in Beijing... In fact I have continued posting stuff again, at least text. And soon enough I will begin with more photos since leaving HK. I promise to make sure every food picture makes it up. I just forget/don't bother with my camera these days. Damnit.. I need some duck photos. That, and I am highly satisfied with the food in Beijing, but it doesn't amaze me like it did in Chengdu or in Nanning... I have so much to see, and this is a problem.

    I am supposed to return November 4th to Montreal, with my visa ending on November 15th. But for the longest time I had the idea of spending 4 months here in my head, which would entail leaving sometime in December, and a one month visa extension - also not guaranteed. Couple this with the fact that I am figuratively 'stuck' in beijing now, not much time left for traveling and seeing all these places that I hoped to get to.

    I have struck the finest deal with my hotel, in that all I do is stay here and teach them some very basic english and in return they only speak to me in chinese and spend all their time teaching me. All I have to do is spend a reduced rate on the bed in my empty 3 person dorm room. Hah

    So, the problem now is.. When do I leave?? When my chinese is good enough?? When is that?? I'm slated to remain in this room until sometime in October. Too long? Am I missing out? I think the idea that I'm spending this time on the language entails.. or requires me to return sometime in the very near future. Perhaps then I will continue all this traveling?

    So.. the question then becomes.. where do I go if I haven't seen much of china at all, only with one month or slightly more.. and not wanting to 'move around' too much or see 'sites'..

    I'm tired. I want to eat. That's pretty much it.

    Xi'an is high up on my list, having met quite a few people living there. As is Shanghai, since it seems like the wrong place to skip. .. anything else?

    Dalian.... good seafood eh..?? hmmmm seafood. That's heavily lacking in my diet right now. Beijing.. heh.

  4. Yeah I am fairly far south, but not much more than a 30-40 minute walk to tiananmen. Though, I am considering moving into an apartment in the north west end of the city. Would cost me about 800 for the month to share with two other guys, and this would probably be the best bet for learning the language fast. It's too bad that I have to do this here though, I'd love to spend a month eating through Chengdu instead. I find the food far more exciting there. Oh well.

  5. Interesting.. I'll take a look. The grand hyatt is that good? The building is definitely nice.

    There's a tiny little xinjiang place right next to my hotel as well as a really large family resto that happens to have a good deal on some great beijing duck. I'm quite happy about this, as I can now shift back and forth between all the baozi along the street, 1rmb skewers of lamb with ..pita(?), and an excellent whole duck for 48rmb. Not bad.

    Further down the street where I have found myself drinking tea on two occasions after midnight, the restaurant had some stands set across the street from the outdoor tables and behind the stands you could always hear dogs barking. Both times, a guy came down the street along with a really nice and well mannered large dog at which point a 5 minute exchange broke out between him and all the staff until the dog was carefully carried into the kitchen. Slightly strange after midnight no? Both times I was with some people from beijing who couldn't believe their eyes. For a while you could swear they were playing around with their own pet dog.. but no.

    Anyway, going to stay away from the dog thing here. It's one thing if this is in northern vietnam or in/near guangdong.. I think.

  6. I'm surprised there wasn't mention of the 'disturbing practice involving eating the SKIN of the ducks' here. Strange coming from a publication targeting a region's food..

    That's the second source I've seen now for that same number.. Not in service!! Strange no? Never thought it could be this hard to find a great restaurant. I have some friends out now near Tiananmen, maybe they'll have better luck at some of those hotels,,

  7. Wow.. lot to chew on here. I will have to definitely look into the breads with cumin and mutton. That sounds too good to miss. About quanjude.. they have multiple locations and I wasn't aware that they had the quick and dirty dinning experience available to people like me.. so which location offers this? or do they all? mm duck

    heh zagat.. Ever read American Psycho? The attention and importance that the characters place on Zagat for revealing all necessary restaurant suggestions is too funny; the outcome of a whole upper-class listening to the same rag telling them where they must eat in order to flaunt their money.... great stuff. So yes, these things are worth a lot if you are looking for a name and address.. but..

    I find magazine.

  8. OK, few things to update with..

    About heading up north.. I'm close now, I'm probably doing it, but I don't have a clue when. And What are you getting at with the being afraid of other regions' food? Is this type of concern widespread?? Seems that every cuisine (especially sichuan) is everywhere; or at least fragments of each.

    So I am still in Beijing.. having quite a time settling into everyday life and the general thoughts surrounding NOT moving anywhere for a number of weeks.. The longest I've stopped in one place was 9 days in Chiang Mai, 9 in Hanoi and around the same in bangkok. Otherwise the average is 4 nights! I need a rest. And I've made Beijing that place. I've met some great students roaming around Tiananmen over the weekend and now have one of them teaching me an hour a day, 5 times a week. All is well, though I'd love any additional input on how to learn quicker.

    Food-wise... I'm generally semi-impressed with what I order.. and obviously always happy when I am with Chinese people. In either case we have found some nice places to eat, and had some excellent duck. They definitely do the duck thing in a most interesting way.. Beijing duck is fantastic.

    We'll hopefully be heading to Mr. Li's at some point next week.. though i'm not staying at the type of hotel that would have the appropriate info for getting there. How else can I find his place - this city is ...BIG ! ?

    Time for dinner.


  9. that thread from Mr. Li's family restaurant has thankfully popped up right to the top at a perfect time. I'll see if I can round up enough people to eat something that costs 4 nights of our hotel prices. Looks.... good..!! And quen ju de restaurant also sounds like a must too.



  10. Nan as well? !!!@# That issan area was fantastic.. Beautiful place. They wouldn't stop offering me lychees everywhere I went.

    Not going to the north-east? heh. I just stepped off the 24 hour train to Beijing. Definitely a random decision, since two days ago I was trying to determine where to eat in Guangzhou. No problem. It is too hot in that area anyhow! :). I'll come back around in a few months and catch Guangdong properly before I head home. Now I've just got to locate my friend here while he keeps his phone turned off and then explore Beijing. Beijing duck being the first priority.. ahh duck.


  11. So I received a call from a close friend from Montreal who was just making it to beijing when he called.. and as a result I've changed my plans for the 1309480293th time and will be training over there (24 hours) within the next hour. Guangdong will be left for last, which is probably fine considering its proximity to HK which is where I'm flying home from.

    Gary upon reading your last few posts I got this crazy desire to see chinese food that looked 'similar' to what I eat at home... and walking through the streets of Shenzhen yielded restaurants that at least LOOK the same! We had a fantastic meal at one seafood place last night that was teeming with people everywhere. Quite exciting. Picking from a list of completely foreign dish names is fun! Once I even pulled out my computer with wenlin and went through everything with the waitress... just for.. I don't know. But it was interesting. I can recognize a few characters now that help... but I suppose it is more or less hopeless, which would be a problem in a country filled with bad food... this is not the case here.

    what got me to enjoy myself a lot more than I previously would have imagined was the simple fact that people speak putonghua here and I can understand it! I had this idea in my head that in most parts of guangdong I would still be traveling 'dark'. So this got me excited and I stayed two nights instead of one. I'll be back.

    next time in beijing... finally.

    edit due to lack of trust for these computers. Losing posts as a result of shoddy hardware makes me hit things, and then I get escorted out.

  12. Hello

    Pai... yeah, only spent 3 days myself. Most of it on a motorbike in the countryside which was often beautiful and interesting and occasionally depressing as we were inundated with little kids offering us all forms of opiates. I did have a good experience there, both with the fantastic guesthouse and some of the people I met, but unfortunately I wasn't with the right crowd for eating good food. I was with the types that wanted something in their mouths simply out of need for removing that slight hunger feeling. Too bad, I had heard of some of the things you mentioned just off the beaten....main block. But - next time. It's a funny place, pai. After I spent time there I went straight to Nan and had what is likely my best time in Thailand. My friend and I spent a few days doing about 500km+ on motorbikes through the bordering mountains next to Laos, going from village to village. Fantastic. No tourists in sight and great food everywhere we looked. posting now because I don't trust this computer

  13. OK... Finallly made it out of HK.. and WITH some money. Not that it matters anymore. IT's SO cheap. Even where I am now in Shenzhen. I had all these ideas in my head that things would still be pricy this close to HK.. but no - not at all. I will only be spending a day here before moving to Guangzhou; any places of interest to check out food-wise??

  14. Getting sick appears to be part of the fun here. But I'd understand that a different reality exists when you are traveling for a short period of vacation time. Spending two days laughing at the toilet is never any fun, but I can deal with it because I don't feel guilty about losing time. Maybe that is also a problem on its own..?!

    Either way.. the chances of getting sick in some of these places is very slim, providing you stick to a few principles. Until now this has been:

    1.Attempt to eat during normal eating hours

    2.Stick to places with more than one guy sitting alone eating at the back

    3.NEVER eat in foreigner targeted eating establishments, especially in heavily touristed areas throughout Thailand.

    4. If you meet other tourists on the street, be VERY skeptical about their desire to eat anything more than Phad Thai, and then either tell them where to eat or walk the other way. Yes, this actually occurs in many countries surrounding Thailand as well.

    5. Take precautions on all ingested food from Burma. This has been the source of much of my bathroom agony.

    6. If they are too anxious to get you to come into their restaurant, avoid!

    7. I can't remember any others at this time.. It will come back.

    There have been three points on this entire trip where I have been terribly sick. Yangon, Burma - twice. When I arrived and right before leaving back to Bangkok. And once in Pai, northern Thailand. Nice place but sickeningly infested with people who lost the plot while trying to change the world. The restaurants that feed them cannot be trusted.

    So far in China, I've eaten many strange things and from not-so-trustworthy places... but all has been well.

    On to better things.

    Yesterday, after having a light dimsum brunch (standard but very good) we were taken out at 2:30pm to Superstar on Nathan rd. (Small chain, medium HK prices) and sampled a ridiculously large set of Dim sum.. including those fantastic crab +broth dumplings. Can't remember their names, but they are about 28HKD each. I have photos of most of it which will be posted soon. Afterwards at night we headed to the Saigon area and had a set meal-for-four which included baby abalones, clams, lobster with fried noodles, ginger crab, steamed fish and chinese brocoli. It scares me to think what this would cost in MTL. The lobsters are enormous here. I don't 'think' the Atlantic lobsters that we get at home cover half their size..

    Anyway.. pictures will show more than my brief rundown of the menu. Too hungry to think about it now, and I don't know where the next meal will be. This is a major source of stress each day for me.


  15. Wow....!! That DOC file is unbelievable.

    I can work with the pin yin, just have to put it back together in my head.

    So.. umm.. really, what's the monkey stuff about?

    I never did make it to tiger leaping gorge. Too ambitious a travel plan, especially immediately after emei shan. What was I thinking!? On the other hand, the day I would have gone I met a fantastic couple moving up from Yunnan through Sichuan who informed me that it was currently closed for rain. Good thing I left it alone. So yes, I will definitely be heading to Kunming, Dali, lijian... maybe Xichuangbanna, though I've been just south of there in Northen Laos 3 months ago. Yunnan appears to be jam packed with great things to see. I'm looking forward to it, or really to just getting back to China again.

  16. ah and gary, thanks for the words of encouragement. Without people's interest I'd quickly begin to question my own. Since this obsession of mine borders along the insane.. but look how many others are into it!!

    Herbacidal.. I hope to be back in Chengdu for more food and photos to make up for the short amount of time spent in such a rich area. Is that wrong of me? Am I nuts to go so far to eat in place that I've already visited? Am I giving up many other important things to do this? heh,,, I'll see I guess

  17. Herbacidal...

    You got that right. But my photo taking has been quite lax the past few months... toned down my shutter impulses. Too many shots have got to me. That, and the past 3 weeks were devoted to a mad rush through HK, Guangxi and Sichuan.. or at least tiny parts of them. Eating and taking photos was left aside..... until tomorrow. It scares me to think about how much eating I'm going to be doing now.. and hopefully I'll have photos for a lot of it too!

    Gary, yes, I'm a proud Montrealer. I haven't been home in almost 9 months now. But when I left I never told people I was leaving to eat... just leaving to eat more, and closer to the source! I love my city, and I especially love it for food. I invite anyone to swing by so I can run them through a food tour that starts at bagels, cheeses and smoked meat and ends with a pho or beef larb. It's ecclectic.. that's why I love it. But as far as Chinese food goes, I was beginning to feel quite restricted. I can find very good dim sum and decent to great cantonese cuisine, but going to singapore really showed me some fantastic dim sum... and cantonese food... well I've just begun with HK - wow.

    Yeah,.. so.. stay tuned and pitch in any ideas that you've all got. My only backup is my trusty WenLin software (utterly brilliant beyond all description) and my annoyingly written but astoundingly informative Swallowing Clouds book by A. Zee. Both of which were obviously recommended by people in this forum and don't know what I'd do without either of them.



  18. Sorry for my absence from my own thread,.. but I posted on two separate occasions and the net cafe's had problems with the network.. killing my post as well,; both times. Agh. Nothing more annoying.

    Herbacidal, I was referring to the rock formations.

    You can all check out the galleries and last post here:


    Finally got some photos up.

    I'm craving getting back into CHina, though the variety of food in HK is astounding, it simply isn't nearly as cheap as the mainland. I'm traveling for a while, so I need prices like those in China. This is like being back home, both price-wise and language-wise. I almost don't feel right if I can get by in English. Too easy! Hah.

    Anyway.. we ended up taking the most fantastic sleeper bus from Guilin for 220RMB. Avoided the whole flights to HK scam. I'm not sure where to head next... Guangzhou? Food is supposed to be great there.. big surprise!

    I just sent off my friend from New York and am now waiting until tomorrow for my business partner and avid mass-eater to arrive in HK to continue traveling with me. You can bet that the photos and attention on the food is only just beginning. I'm scared to see how my body deals

    with this. and thank you Susan for all the pinyined foods to look for. Definitely will work with your list in hand!

  19. will do..

    turns out that tiger leaping gorge is closed up... andddd after walking down emei shan in one day I can no longer..umm.. move. So we are headed to Yangshuo tomorrow morning for two days.

    Luizhou.. looks like i'm heading back to your part of town.. or province at least. We figured that two days of boat trips and motorbikes would be a good way to end my friends trip.. at which point we head back to HK and then I don't know what happens - besides dim sum I suppose.

    Tonight we had a massive meal of sichuan bbq. Fantastic stuff. Wow.. mutton, chicken skin, pork ribs, lotus, beef, tofu... on and on.. never ended.

    Can't move. Sichuan food is simply brilliant. I need more. I am positive i'll come back in the next two months just to move through the food slower, and with my friend who also shares my sick need to spend a week analysing the food coming out of a single city-block.

    Singing off..

    I'm starting to take more initiative writing each thing down, so hopefully i'll have more to talk about soon enough.


    got to Yangshuo after quite a bit of planning mess and only two days to hang around before we have to be back in Hong Kong. Anyone have a clue why flights from guilin to HK cost three times as much as going to Chengdu? Bus will have to do.

    So I've now done the boating through karst rock formations in southern Thailand, Northern Laos, northern Vietnam and now here... and there is NOTHING nearly as vast as what I have seen yesterday and today. Incredible.

    Food-wise.. this place is loaded with jiaozi and baozi during the day, and massive street restaurants in the market area by night. The dumplings are cheap and sometimes great.. but the stuffed tofu and eggplant yesterday was something else. I just love how we can point at two raw ingredients and let them cook up a storm with it in 5 minutes. ALways something unexpected.. always better than we could imagine. Anyway... and the little playpots of rice and (anything) are fantastic too. Best part about Yangshuo is how everyone told me it would be a touristy mess, and I immediately envisioned Khao San road. There are maybe 11 white people here. And Chinese tourists I can appreciate, since we inevitably always end up taking photos of each other.

    Well.. too bad I'm here for such a short time, maybe I'll return in a month or two... since the rice paddies do look unbelievable. That should merit a visit at some point. I'll post some photos soon; takes a while to go through so many.


  20. damnit, I wish I spoke more chinese... figuring out what I'm eating or trying to order half the time is next to impossible. Usually I'm just pointing to the other table. If anyone has some ideas of what I should be asking for, let me know in pin yin. The only things I can consistently get and enjoy in Chengdu are the little pitas with tons of different vegetable and meat stuffings (what's it called again??), the Ma po tofu (obviously).. and of course the hundreds of different meat-on-skewer vendors that seem to impress me more than those in bangkok. I'm not saying that I don't enjoy everything else, I just can't name them and order them a second time around. But I suppose this is also what I love about China. There are simply too many things to eat !


  21. Liuzhou, I'll be back I am sure!

    In two days I'll be back in Chengdu from Emei Shan.. then into Yunnan for a few days.. and back to Hong Kong to meet another friend. Then another 3+ months begins. Not sure where I will be headed.

    I could probably write for hours describing my time picking through Chengdu food. I am positive I'll be back there to do more. And it is evident that I only scratched the surface of some of the food in Nanning. Incredible.

    I hopefully will get to 'stop' moving for a short period of time, maybe a month, in a short while. Hopefully in Beijing, just so I can better orient myself language-wise. I'll restart my efforts in Pimsleur any day now.. 54 lessons to go (out of 90 total). Though I am absolutely floored by what it has done for me alone up until now. Best way to kickstart a language ever.

    Anyone know of good places or ways to learn here? and cheaply? I would love to find people willing to trade services (not those kind) for languages and room+board.. if such a thing exists. I know it does in some other countries.

    I'll have some photos and loggings of my travels posted soon. Until then, things will remain backlogged for 3 weeks. Before I write, I'll need to get over my new and profound love for sichuan peppercorns. !!*%$ Never did I experience such wonders with the 10 year old jar I have in my kitchen. Just - not.. the same spice..??.



  22. Hi everyone..

    I've made it through nearly 8 months of traveling through south-east asia + a quick stint in Israel and Jordan... to find myself in China as of this week. I'll be spending four months here, beginning with a bit of Guangxi, Sichuan (In Chengdu right at the moment), Yunnan and then moving back out east for the remainder. Though I might make a second visit into Sichuan, since I'm blown away by what I'm eating.. both from spice content as well as taste. There is simply too much to sample here. Where do I begin.... ? and this goes for all of China. Every meal feels like I potentially missed out on another unknown! Can anyone invoke some order into this? What does one do to maximize 4 months of traveling china, with emphasis on Food and language??



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