Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Chinese Food

"So did you eat Peking Duck?" everyone asks.
"Um... well Peking is the name for Beijing and actually I wasn't anywhere close to there and well, um, no."

I ate things that I pointed at generally without the use of "real" language. I was quite happy that I didn't get sick in the two weeks despite eating street food. I'll chock it up to not taking more than a bite or two of anything I found slightly sketchy and ordering hot street food whenever possible. All that said though, Joe and I ate almost all the same things and he was not so lucky... poor guy.

A few thoughts on MSG:
It's everywhere. I probably ate more than I would in years and years in America. People like this guy below who sell tiny strips of meet on wires cooked to oblivion sprinkle the stuff on like crazy. The general strategy for cooking the meat seems to be first coat with "flavor" and cook thoroughly. Once cooked, set aside. When a paying customer comes, cook again till very hot and add more "magic" flavor several times.

Ok, but what's wrong with MSG, really? I ask. I tend to think people overreact to things like this. According to some Shanghai couchsurfers, who seemed to know the word on the street, there have been a rise in cases of a kind of hyperactivity that is thought to be related to all the MSG.

and a word on CHICKEN

so... when I order chicken I generally think of tasty hunks of flesh. Perhaps if it's deep fried I expect some bones... but really, think about a chicken for a moment. ((((((((((())))))))))))) especially a free range chicken that's running around on the rice patties as the ones above on the Longji Rice Terraces were doing. Now really think(((((()))))))how much succulent flesh will be on this bird.

not much. actually. most of the times I ordered chicken , it seemed someone had cleaned out the organs and then taken a clever to the thing, throwing the bones with the tiny bits of meat into the stew/pot/dish. Now, China, being China, used to just spit all the bones on the floor but now they are attempting to be more cultured and spitting is being frowned upon recently (like in the last few years, i.e. Olympic bid etc).

Ah, yes. And there is the omnipresent chicken foot too. In the future, the Chinese apocalypse will include purposefully growing chickens with more than one foot. But for now, as most inedible things are, it's kind of a delicacy. Or something.And check out this menu! The English is about as suspect as the speculation (which I think means seasonal). Theoretically if you click it, it'll get really big.... And for reference, there about 6.5 or so "kuai”元 to a dollar. so the 30元 is what? 4 bucks. This was actually really good food--despite the names.

The adventures continue.

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