Posts Tagged ‘Chinese food’

Well, today was my birthday and Julianne and I went out for dinner at Maojia’s Restaurant with our student assistant and his girlfriend.

Apparently the owner of this restaurant is a relative of Mao’s and the menu has several of his favorite dishes. We ordered some of them and I took close-up shots of each dish which you can see on my flickr page.

I found it a ‘little’ ironic that the menu was a GIANT RED BOOK, lol. I should have snapped a picture but forgot to. There was a picture on the cover of Mao and some of his relatives and in particular the woman that owns the restaurant; I’m supposed to get an email soon with a link to the picture as it’s ‘famous in China’ so I’ll add that to this post.

Getting a taxi back to the apartment was a bit of a task with Saturday night traffic, and then, of course, we rear-ended another taxi . . . luckily it was just a tiny bump.

The driver got out of his car and looked like he was going to try and throw a fit to get some cash but I gave him my best teacher-look-of-don’t-you-dare-do-that and he hesitated, and I kept staring him down as the driver of our taxi got out to talk to him . . . and luckily the other driver decided he didn’t want to throw a temper tantrum, and gather a crowd of people around to hold a ‘street court judgement session’ which seems to happen in China with these kinds of situations. Before the other driver gave up, though, an old guy on a scooter stopped when we first bumped the taxi and said a comment, and two other guys then wandered over from the sidewalk. . . but luckily for Julianne and I the other driver gave up and drove off.

I guess the last thing to say about my birthday is that the Chinese weather gods must have decided to send me a gift today because the heat and humidity were pretty much absent when I headed out tonight for dinner. There was a blue sky, some nice sunlight, a good breeze, low humidity and the heat of summer was absent–nice!


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Some people can use chopsticks and others hold two sticks in their hand like they’re paralyzed from the wrist down, lol.

After learning how to use Korean metal chopsticks to pick up small nuts, anything food that is wet or slimy, and NOODLES which are the ultimate metal chopstick test in my mind I’ve gotten quite good with them.

Tonight, however, I was reminded how some people can be ‘chopstick-challenged’ as I watched a friend trying to get noodles into her bowl . . . sorry “A,” it looked funny to me, lol.

The best part about all of this is “A” speaks Chinese fluently (she’d deny that, but she is really good) . . . but “A + chopsticks + noodles” = potential for disaster.

Anyways, dinner was GOOD tonight!


NOTE: To all people living in Asia (especially Korea) please don’t read this post as validating the MYTH/FALSE BELIEF that many people have about westerners/native English speakers being incapable of using chopsticks–some of us can use them very well, some moderately well, and some are hopelessly unable to use them.  Using chopsticks is NOT like brain surgery–as one Korean surgeon told a news reporter in a story I read (RIDICULOUS!)–and it’s more a matter of familiarity and practice than any kind of innate RACIAL ability!

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Went out tonight for Chinese food with friends and left my camera and lenses inside the air conditioning to get a break from the heat and humidity.

While we all were getting settled at the table I snapped this picture with my iTouch camera.

The ubiquitous roll of toilet paper (used as napkins in Asia) sat front and center.

In the background, someone’s ‘sticker feng shui‘ had been shotgunned all over the wall, lol.

The best part of dinner was when I shot some pics of the dishes as they arrived and the hostess and server were ooing and ahhhing over them, lol. I thought of my Canon DSLR and Canon ES-71II 50mm lens aka my ‘food lens’ and the contrast in quality of picture . . . I think if I showed them shots I’ve taken of their food in the past from my GOOD camera their heads might explode . . .lol.

Dinner was YUMMY! However, at one point we were all glued to the TV as flooding video was shown from Beijing–nutbar!

As I write this I’m still feeling full from the good food which I will definitely miss once I’m back in Canada.


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How can one explain the potency of stinky tofu’s smell to someone who has never smelled it?

I don’t know if it’s possible, lol.

I smelled it for the first time in South Korea, 2005. I was teaching middle school and walked into the cafeteria for lunch when I was assaulted by an awful and foul stench . . .

At the time I remember turning to a Korean English co-teacher and saying, “Is someone washing dirty laundry? It smells like dirty socks are being washed in the kitchen? And . . . other bad things too . . .” She thought my reaction was quite amusing.

After filling my tray with other foods and getting a bowl full of the stinky tofu I sat down with several other Korean teachers–all of whom were watching me with GREAT INTEREST to see how I’d react to trying the stinky tofu.

I ate it–and it was GOOD! In fact, it was awesome and I sometimes miss it over here in China.

The stinky tofu in China, however, in contrast to Korean stinky tofu . . . well, let’s just say that the pungency power rating of its smell is off the charts! It’s ‘nuclear stinky tofu’ in terms of its olfactory assault capabilities, and Julianne and I have yet to try it.

If and when I get a chance to try Chinese stinky tofu I’ll definitely blog about it . . . the problem is working up the courage to eat something that in my experience with foreign foods only compares to the smell of “skate” (‘honga’ (Korean name) aka sting-ray) that Hans Zimmerman tried while he was in South Korea for his Bizarre Foods TV show . . .

Julianne has pretty much said she doesn’t want to try it. As for me . . . well, if I was willing to eat the “skate” I should be willing to try the stink tofu here.

Time will tell . . . lol.


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Julianne and I went out into the ‘feels like 42 degrees’ heat and humidity tonight to get some dinner with a friend . . . and man was it MOIST out there!

It took TEN MINUTES for my lens to defog when I left the apartment tonight if that’s any indicator of how humid it is right now.

During the walk to the restaurant I snapped a few shots. We saw this new (I think they’re new anyway) rotisserie chicken street vendor cart . . . awesome.

Can you imagine working over one of these carts, though, in 40+ heat and humidity?!!!


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This picture was taken in Carrefour department store. I always love the particular Chinese cultural influence that is present in the international stores in China. In this case you can see the dried/smoked pig faces . . .

When I first arrived in China, Julianne and I were walking around inside a Walmart I couldn’t figure out why it smelled so different. Then I came across the meat area and saw a very similar sight. I think the smoked meats must add their aromas to the overall atmosphere inside the department stores . . .

I hardly notice it now, lol.


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If it can be put on a stick to sell as a snack, it will be put on a stick to sell as a snack.

Julianne and I like the street meat/food on a stick better back in Korea, but the stuff we’ve tried in China hasn’t been too bad.


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Took this shot a little while ago . . . the title speaks for itself.

I haven’t actually bought anything from one of these shops but I want to try and do a bird shoot with my telephoto in Martyr’s Park so I might buy some seeds from this shop as it sits nearby.

There are a couple of birds in particular that I want to get pictures of before leaving China and the clock is ticking . . .

23 days . . .


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I saw this story earlier on “Understanding China, One Blog at a Time” . . . and then on BBC, China farmers face ‘exploding’ watermelon problem


“The overuse of a chemical that helps fruit grow faster was blamed in one report by China Central Television.

But agriculture experts were unable to explain why chemical-free melons were exploding. They cited the weather and abnormal size of the melon as factors.

China Central Television said farmers were overspraying their crops with the growth promoter, hoping they could get their fruit to market ahead of the peak season and increase their profits.”

I’ve pretty much come to the conclusion that you just have to close your eyes and eat the food you are lucky enough to have money to buy here in China when there are so many people barely able to scrape enough money together each day to survive.

It’s that or don’t eat . . . cause I imagine there’s likely some kind of issue with nearly every food here.

Oh yeah, there’s more: Understanding China’s blog also cites Chinese sources saying,

“The incident has become a focus of a Chinese media drive to expose the lax farming practices, shortcuts and excessive use of fertiliser behind a rash of food safety scandals.

It follows discoveries of the heavy metal cadmium in rice, toxic melamine in milk, arsenic in soy sauce, bleach in mushrooms, and the detergent borax in pork, added to make it resemble beef.”

You know what the ‘best’ part of the story is? “The fruit could not be sold and was instead fed to fish and pigs” (my bold and italics).  Goodie! Let’s keep it in the food chain shall we?

Now . . . who’s hungry?!


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I think I need to be a bit more daring with my street photography–let me explain.

While Julianne and I waited for our take out orders of noodles we watched a cook take eels out of this pot one by one. He then used the tools in the left side of this shot to pin the eel to the wooden table top, skin it, gut it, and prep it for cooking . . . it was awesome.

I really should have just used gestures and miming to ask if I could shoot him prepping the eels–maybe next time I’ll try again.

I haven’t tried eel here in China, or back when I was in Korea (the opportunity never presented itself) . . . but maybe I’ll get some of our Chinese friends to take Julianne and I and we’ll try it.

I wonder what it tastes like? Hmmm . . .


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