Chinese Cuisine

One of the best things about living in China is the food. I never ate Chinese food very much in Seattle, but I usually liked it when I did. However, I had been told that Chinese food in the states is very "Americanized", and the stuff you get in China is quite different. This has turned out to be true. The style of the food is the same--rice, chopsticks, noodles, pork & chicken dishes mixed with various sauces and veggies...but the specifics have been very different. About the only dish I have had here that I had had at a Chinese restaurant in the states is sweet & sour pork. Last week in Beijing I had spring rolls for the first time in China. While these are a staple of Chinese restaurant in the U.S., I had started to think that was a completely American invention since I had never seen them here. I guess they do have them here--as proved by my getting them last week--but they seem to be a rarity. The food here is quite cheep--I can get a decent meal from a street vendor for 2-3 RMB (about 25 cents!). For a great meal at a restaurant, it comes out to about 10-20 RMB per person (about $1.25-$2.50). Gotta love the 8-to-1 exchange rate!

When you eat at a restaurant here, it is always communal. The dishes are brought out one at a time as they are prepared and placed on the lazy susan in the middle of the table. Everyone digs in. Usually we eat directly off of the dishes on the lazy susan without bothering to transfer the food to the little plate or bowl placed in front of each of us. Someone will probably say this is unsanitary, and it may be, but you get good at using the chopsticks to go for that specific bit of food you want without touching all the rest, and it's great fun eating this way.

Anyhow, here are some of my favorite Chinese dishes:

Tang Cù Lĭ Jĭ -- Sweet and sour pork. Always excellent.

Gān Biān Dòu Jiăo -- Spicy fried green beans with bits of pork. I never used to like green beans, but that was before I had this dish. This might be my favorite dish.

Gōng Băo Jī Dīng -- Chicken, peanuts, carrots and cucumber in a zesty sauce. Always a solid choice.

Dì Sān Xiān -- Potatoes, eggplant and green pepper. I never liked eggplant before this, but it sure is tasty in this dish.

Hūa Shēng -- A plate of hot roasted peanuts. I could eat these all day.

Jīng Jìang Ròu Sī -- Pork strips and onions in a tasty sauce, wrapped in a tofu pancake.

Xī Lán Hūa -- Garlic broccoli. The best broccoli I've ever tasted.

Yú Xiāng Ròu Sī -- Pork strips with carrots and garlic shoots in a sauce. The green things are garlic shoots. I like them alot, but I don't think I've ever seen them in the U.S. before.

Chăo Mán Tóu -- Potato strips. Just like french fries!

Jiăozi -- Boiled dumplings with various contents. These dumplings have pork and celery in them.

And, just for fun, here's a video of a ride around a lazy susan:



I hope this gives you a little "taste" of Chinese Cuisine. (sorry, I couldn't resist the bad pun...)

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