Hello again from Beijing, China! I realize I haven’t talked about food much yet, so I thought I’d share some with you. A typical breakfast I’ve had here looks like this:
This pancake is some sort of hash brown with a fried egg in the middle. Very oily.
A mild spice cake-like thing that unfortunately tends to have hard seeds in them that look like olive pits (?).
While I don’t mind the mass-produced cafeteria food during lunch and dinner so much, I just couldn’t stomach this for breakfast every day, nor the refined-flour greasy buns and pancakes that make up the cafeteria breakfasts. My heart was racing from all the refined carbs. After a week and a half of this food, I’ve switched to this for breakfast:
Yes, that would be banana and peanut butter! If I can’t have my oatmeal, at least I’ll have some of the ingredients. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw Skippy peanut butter here in Beijing.
Skippy PB and chocolate swirled together! Why don’t they have this in the U.S.?! I never eat Skippy in the U.S., but still.
Lame? Maybe, but at least I enjoy my breakfasts again 🙂 I DO miss Saratoga Peanut Butter Company PB. I know what I’ll be eating first when I get home!
Moooving on … the weekend before last, I arranged for my group to experience a Beijing food tour! The tour traveled through the Beijing hutongs (“Old Beijing” ). Hutongs are narrow alleyways bounded by traditional Chinese courtyards, many of which are several centuries old. For those of you who have checked out the blog I set up for my University, you will have seen some of these pictures already. That’s ok – nothing wrong with ogling food twice!
(I’m going to keep the text short because I’ve not had nearly as much time to blog here in China as I thought I would!)
Famous chestnut roaster in Beijing:
Have you ever tried a roasted chestnut? I hadn’t before this tour, but I loved it! Meaty and smoky and delicious 🙂
We began our tour at a local Hakka restaurant, where our first dish featured wild vegetables picked fresh from the hills around Beijing:
Spicy, salty perch:
Flavorful green beans in a light sauce:
Sauteed mushrooms. I had never seen this kind of mushroom before.
Crackly roasted corn. This dish was definitely my favorite dish.
Sauteed shrimp with tea leaves:
I don’t remember exactly what was in this dish, but I do remember that the green circles in the middle were bitter melon. It tasted exactly how it sounds.
Some images from the day:
A beautiful lake by the hutong area:
A tea shop menu written in chalk on a brick wall:
A look into a hutong courtyard. The number of boxes on the upper left indicates how many families live in this tiny area (!):
See those cardboard pieces covering the wheels? Those are there to prevent little dogs from peeing on the tires 😛
The number of posts above a door indicates a family’s status. A family with a”four post” door is ranked higher than a family with a “two post” door. Girls could marry into higher status families, but boys could only marry within their rank or lower.
As the awesome Aletheia reminded me, this innocuous looking egg is what’s known as a “Thousand Year” egg. It has been soaked in brine until the brine penetrates the egg and preserves it.
Here I am cracking the egg …
… and my face when I see what’s inside.
The egg is BLACK! When you break the egg open, it always has layers of colors and textures. I hope to try this type of egg in a dish before I leave China. Gotta stretch my food boundaries! 🙂
This sweet man owns a Muslim bakery:
Some of his delicious vegetarian treats:
I even got to take a picture with him!
This fruit tastes like a cross between a raspberry and a strawberry – hen hao chi! (Very delicious!) I don’t recall the name of it off the top of my head, but I’ll find out and edit the name into the post.
A Beijinger taking an afternoon siesta:
Our last stop was in a Taiwanese tea shop. We didn’t actually drink any tea (the weather was very hot), but we did try some Taiwanese snacks.
This omelet was supposed to have oysters in it, but still tasted great with shrimp instead. I don’t even know what the sauce was – a Taiwanese version of ketchup, maybe? In any case, it was fabulous.
One of my favorite treats of the day was a lightly-sweetened yogurt/soft cheese that’s very popular in this section of Beijing. The yogurt was topped with black beans or oatmeal. Who says I can’t get calcium in Beijing??
I miss reading all your blogs! I can’t wait to catch up when I get back. Have a great rest of your week, and I’ll talk to you all again soon!