Monday, March 14, 2016

Real Chinese Food

Before we went to China, people were concerned about what we were going to eat. They had heard horror stories about thousand year eggs, chicken feet and mystery vegetables. It was suggested on more than one occasion that we pack plenty of granola bars and trail mix.  Rather than be daunted by the options, I decided to try a little bit of everything.

We went out to dinner with my colleagues twice and our friends once. It was at these dinners where we were able to try different things, with the direction of a local. If you have friends in town, be sure to use them! They either know the language or have experience with the menu! I would have never ordered the green bean eye fish myself, but it was amazing. I have ordered it several times since.

Cafeterias are a great place to try new things on the cheap. The boyfriend and I went and piled our trays high with vegetables, dumplings and noodles. We avoided the odd plates of squid, beef stomach and mystery buns, but still wound up with an amazing variety of food. Bonus - it all cost maybe $8.

Practice your chop stick skills while in China! Don't worry if they aren't your forte, a waiter will see the struggle and offer you a fork. Alternatively, just bring the bowl/plate of food close to your mouth and shovel the food into your mouth.

Don't be worried if this all seems a little out of your comfort zone. Shanghai is incredibly diverse and you can get everything from Italian, to French to American. You can take in a delicious brunch in the French Concession neighborhood at Naked Bite on Wuyuan Road. Our waitress was British, we ate on the patio and enjoyed a quiet brunch on a tree-lined street.

Street markets are a fun place to try strange and unusual things. Why not drink a mystery beverage from an IV bag, or a steamed bun that looks like a panda? I did not try any scorpions, mostly because those guys you see above were still moving...

And if all else fails...

There is always McDonalds. Order by pointing at the English menu that the cashier will likely place on the counter. We stopped in after a long day on the Great Wall when we were too tired to bother with anything else. FYI - it tastes the same.

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