Thursday, September 22, 2005

Catchup Chronicles #4: Mainland China

I wish I had started this blog about four years ago, when I really started to give my passport and frequent flier accounts a workout, going to new places around the world. Well, in an effort to try to make up for some of that, I've dug up some old photos that I've taken, and will post them here in sections from time to time (especially when I don't see any upcoming travel for a while). This episode: China.

This was the economy class meal on Air China from Shanghai to Beijing, in commune-style metal tins and meat-stuffed bitter gourd (yuck! I didn't realize it was bitter gourd until I put it in my mouth and spit it out right after - ugh!!). My friend in Beijing chastized me for eating that airline crap, as we subsequently went for the very greasy and numbingly spicy "water cooked fish." It was similar to the one that they have at Hometown on Smith Street, but the key difference being an excessive amount of tongue-numbing peppercorns that - to me, anyway - made the experience a bit unpleasant.


Still, there were quite a few other delights in China worth noting (but not pictured here, unfortunately). This ranged from the Peking Duck in the old alleys of Beijing (nice), a dumpling place right off the big Chang An drag boasting of over 100 varieties of dumplings, and the little spicy mah hsiao crawdads on "Ghost Street" for late night snacking (a spicy grease bomb). I was also pleasantly surprised to find in Shanghai the tastiest hsiao long bao dumplings I've ever had (not a laboriously-refined as Taiwan's Ding Tai Fung, but tastier), as well the very oily yet bearingly good white pepper eel, which is apparently a very popular home-cooked meal in Shanghai.

Food in China isn't the exactly healthiest stuff in the world with all the excessive grease (and hardly resembles the "Chinese" food you get in the US, let me assure you), but it can be pretty tasty if done properly. I did get a bit sick of it after a week in China though - so much to the point that the first thing I got when I got back to Singapore was a salad just to cleanse my system out.

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