Monday, July 19, 2010

Pigging Out in China

Well as I had heard, China's censorship has blocked Fishin'' With Dave or any Blogspot address from the common people of China!   Apparently the Chinese government is worried about the political slant of walleye fishing in Minnesota, go figure.  Checking on, this too enjoys the proverbial, website not available.  There is a way through my work desktop however that connection is incredibly slow and impossible to utilize. Today I am in Dong Guan, Guangdong, China, north of Hong Kong at one of my closest manufacturing partners.  They are a Taiwanese company and can link their Internet through the home office in Taipei.  Because Taiwan has no restrictions on web surfing the blog is coming in clear and fast.  This allows me to post an update from this far away place. 

A great topic and one of the things I always look forward is the food in China.  Our first real restaurant was in Wuxi, a city west of Shanghai.  Chinese food can differ greatly based on geography.  In the US Chinese food is usually Cantonese style (chow mien, egg foo young, moo goo gai pan) or the spicer Sichuan style if you like it hotter.  Cantonese foods have their origin in the south of China, north of Hong Kong.  In China their are subtle differences that transforms a variety of foods into completely different dishes.  In Wuxi the sauces are darker and sweeter than in in Shenzhen.  All items are served family style and often are put on a large Lazy Susan to eliminate reaching over the table.  Appetizers include bamboo spouts, dried fish, pickled vegetables and chicken feet, pictured here.  Most of the chicken feet (a very popular dish) in China comes from the United States.  I have previously wrote about growing up in Eleva where the chicken processing plant was the main industry in town.  Digging through barrels of entrails to pluck chicken livers for catfish bait, we encountered thousands of chicken feet, cut cleanly off and headed for the rendering plant.  Today those feet are cleaned, packed and sent to China where they remain very popular.  I have tried them and although they have a nice flavor, it is like eating pure gristle.  As they say, when in Rome............

In more fancier restaurants, one can often pick your own food which are swimming, crawling, or walking around.  It almost has the feel of walking into a pet store.  This trip saw everything from Ring Neck Pheasants to turtles.  It is kind of interesting to look at and of course you are assured that your main dish is extremely fresh.   Breakfast in the hotel's is usually served buffet style with a cook assigned to create omelets and eggs to your liking.  Often it is a mixture of traditional cereals, breads, bacon (called smoke meat), rather bland sausage with a good variety of fresh fruits, mainly watermelon, banana's, and oranges, with some exotics like Dragon Fruit, Lychee, and Longan.  The picture on the right is Longans for sale at a grocery store next to the hotel.  They are almost grape like with a hard skin that needs to be peeled off to get to the translucent fruit inside.  Mixed in with the traditional American style breakfast food are more unusual Chinese dishes.  Dim Sum (a number of small individually dough wrapped foods), smoked fish, porridge, steamed vegetables can be present however this dish caught my eye.  If you look closely at the small sign explaining the dish in English it says "Mouth watering and authentic drug".  What the hell is that!  The best that we can deduce is the mouth watering part is the chopped green vegetable and the authentic drug is the strips of mushrooms mixed into the dish.  Mushrooms have been known to have medicinal properties in China, but then again who knows! 

Tonight we will go back to the restaurant we visited last night.  It serves Taiwanese food, somewhat different than the surrounding area.  Last night we had cold squid with pickled red onions, salt pork with vegetables, a spicy chicken dish (the chicken was mostly bones as my comments were translated to the cook, he sent a new dish with more meat!), squid balls (no, not what you are thinking), bamboo shoots with mayonnaise, fried oysters, fried rice, and plenty of Tsing Tao beer.  I can't wait!


Dewey said...

Hey Dave, Bring me home some Dragon Fruit!

Jeff King said...

Great posts about China. Very cool...thanks