So, I made it to China in one piece! I’ve been here for about two days now but, unfortunately, after the 14 hr flight and 12 hr time difference (and let’s not forget the sweltering heat!) I am still pretty jet lagged. I slept most of the first day which meant that I didn’t really spend any time exploring my food options. Instead, I lived off these guys (and I don’t even want to think about the gross airplane food I endured before that!).
By yesterday morning I had had enough super sweet choco crunchy peanuty gooeyness to last a life time. So I ventured to the nearby supermarket for some of this.
Sadly, Skippy brand peanut butter was the only brand I could find. I spent several hours in the supermarket checking out the goods. I was alone, which for me is always somewhat of a nerve wracking experience. I’m painfully shy in unfamiliar situations. Of course, it didn’t help that I don’t speak the language and stand out like a sore thumb. At the same time, it was a comical experience- the mere fact that I’m “western” seems to be a red flag that I don’t speak Chinese and am in need of assistance (or maybe it was the confused expression on my face?)- and than goodness for that! Several very kind ladies in the supermarket bravely ventured to help me even though they didn’t speak any English. Very sweet. It’s amazing how well we communicated!
Anyway, the supermarket wasn’t so different than any upscale grocery-large wine and seafood departments, lots of produce and organic goods-to me it was remarkably similar to stores I’ve patroned in France. Of course products varied widely and there was one thing that really stood out- live turtles in the seafood dept! Yes, you could buy fresh, live turtles to cook at home! Fish too, but the turtles were the most impressive.
Needless to say my diet of peanut butter, apples, and meal bars got old very fast. Luckily, I was able to meet up with a friend who took me out to Tianchumiaoxiang Vegetarian Restaurant. It’s a veggie friendly resto near Tsinghua University so the area is very young, stylish and ecclectic. We started with cold, fruit tea and watermelon cubes (complimentary). Then, we ordered a variety of tofu dishes to sample. One was the equivalent of kungpao chicken and the tofu came out crispy fried and well seasoned-just like fried chicken. It was delicious and not too spicey. We also had another sweet and sour style dish and a tofu soup that had a silky smooth texture, sort of like the Chinese version of chicken and dumplins. It reminded me of a great chinese food restaurant in DC called Charlie Chiang’s, near GWU University. Anyway, it was incredibly delicious and just what I needed! The menu was very reasonably priced and the service was great. Most dishes were around 30 yuan (about $5). The total for two (including drinks and 3 dishes with rice) came out to about 120 yuan or slightly less than $20.
I’ve posted pictures of our meal below.
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