I went to China. Hi, I’m back.
I ate food there. And I didn’t get any food poisoning as I am wont to do on vacation. Yeay! Even though I can’t exactly provide the same restaurant reviewing service about places in Beijing, I can still show some juicy pics and tell tales of some of the neato stuff I ate while I was there. And because I can, I will.
I will start by saying that we mainly ate at “Western” style restaurants in Beijing. This is not to say that the food at these restaurants isn’t Chinese or that it’s not authentic — it just means that the facility operates in a Western style. Typically, these restaurants are large, and you’re seated at a table by a hostess. The menu is typically very expansive and full of pictures. Your order is taken by a waiter/waitress. Sometimes this person speaks some English, often not so much. The pictures are helpful for this. Your food is brought to you and is typically meant to be shared among the people at your table. You use chop sticks. The facilities are clean and the food is of high quality like you might expect in, say, San Francisco.
You can get a $1 meal at a street vendor, which is certainly an “authentic” experience, but I don’t eat at the hot dog stands here, so I’m not sure why I would do it there. Not that I’d chide someone who did do that, but I’ve had my taste of food poisoning in a third world country, and I’m not willing to be as risky as I perhaps once was. So. We went for the classed-up places. And since we knew a local, he showed us to the best of the best.
Ok, I’ll shut up and get to the pictures:
First: pizza. Yeah, pizza in Beijing. What were we thinking? We were thinking that it was really good, that’s what. Also, deep fried Oreos. Ridiculous and not as good as I wanted them to be. But, there they are.
Next up: wood ear mushrooms. These are all over the place (like, in food, not just on the ground) in Beijing. They’re delicious.
And then we had one of our first “fancy” Chinese dinners, which was totally worth the exorbitant price.
Next stop was a grungy dumpling restaurant waaay out behind a bunch of blind masseuse shops. (Your guess is as good as mine.) The dumplings were very good.
Then on to the famous duck restaurant in Beijing where there is always a wait if you don’t have a reservation. We didn’t. We waited. Everyone liked the duck. I tried it; it tasted like chicken. This other stuff was way better.
We took a cooking class where we made this stir fry:
Then Jon and I ate food in Shanghai. We started off the weekend right by ordering way too much food. This restaurant had amazing light so my photos actually look good (finally).
We were having a harder time finding places to eat in Shanghai just because we didn’t do the appropriate research and didn’t have a local to point us in the right direction. This Italian place was right on the river and had good reviews (ah, the joys of traveling with a smart phone). This pizza was fab.
At the YuYuan Bazaar in Shanghai (crowded as ALL GET OUT. no, seriously, I wished everyone would get out…) there were a million dumpling shops. Some of them had immense lines. Few of them had any signage in English at all, though many had pictures (but you can’t see what’s inside the dumpling?!). We got all rogue and stood in front of the stock tray and pointed to some tubs of dumplings. No food poisoning + delicious dumplings = win.
And if you’ve made it to the bottom of this post, kudos to you. Your prize will be a dumpling. I will give you a gift certificate for the place in Shanghai. Redeem at your leisure.