Saturday, December 15, 2012

Foods of China: Part I

I'll start this series with the caveat that I'm not typically a photographer of food.  That's a content note (and perhaps also a skill note) -- at most meals, my camera stays at home or on the floor.  What you see here are things that were particularly delicious, outlandish, or just happened to get captured.

The Chinese Breakfast Burrito (jian bing guo zi)

The "Chinese Breakfast Burrito" may not be its official name, but it definitely gets the idea across.  A thin crepe is topped with an egg, green onions, cilantro, pickled vegetables, and chili sauce and wrapped around a crispy fried dough cracker.  Rhymthically prepared by street vendors in under a minute.

Candied Fruit (bīngtáng húlù)

A popular street snack.  Various fruits -- most commonly little apples, mandarin orange slices, and/or grapes -- are skewered and dipped in sugar syrup, which hardens into a shiny candy coating.  Like the American version of candy apples, but miniaturized and less caramel-y.

Eggplant (qie zi)

While I don't have any accompanying photos, I've eaten a lot of eggplant-based dishes in Shanghai ("qie zi", pronounced "chi-ed-zah".  We say "cheese!" for photos; the Chinese say "eggplant!").


B. often opts for the strangest food possible, hence the above acquisition from a bakery.  What exactly is it?  We're not quite sure.  It involved a dark-colored, seaweed-containing, unexpectedly sweet roll topped with copious amounts of pork floss.  Not a winning combination.

Hot Pot (huǒ guō)

A large communal pot of simmering broth to which uncooked foods (vegetables, tofu, meat, fish balls, noodles) are added over the course of the meal.  Once cooked, the food is fished out and eaten, often with various dipping sauces.  It's a social activity and an easy way to feed a group of people, hence its popularity.

B.'s description of hot pot: ultimate deliciousness.

My description of hot pot: a minefield of foods I don't eat, which too often results in vegetables coated in meat fat.

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