“Food is our common ground, a universal experience.” ~ James Beard
Well it’s hard to believe, but I’ve been in China for a little over a month already. A whole month! I’ve experienced many different things – all of them good (sort of) – and I’m looking forward to what the next two months bring before this chapter of Global MBA closes.
For those of you who know me well, you know that I love my food. Food is pretty much how I know I will be visiting a country again and again, because if the food is good – I’m going to go back for more.
China has some amazing food. If I’m not studying or traveling, I’m eating and trying out the local cuisine. However, local is such a deceiving word for a place as diverse as Shanghai. There are so many different regional cuisines from all parts of China that reside in this city of 23 million people. I’ve managed to find a couple of dishes that I keep going back to again and again, and I thought it is only fair to share a few with you.
#1 – Egg Pancake: AMAZING! I love, love, love egg pancake. I literally eat this almost every day for breakfast. Basically it’s like a large crepe, filled with egg, sweet and spicy sauce, garlic, lettuce and chives, and finally fried flour. It’s wrapped up, cooked in less than a minute, and eaten in the next 20 min by me. You must try this if you ever come to Shanghai.
#2 – Personal Hot Pot: Super Deliciousness! Hot pot is basically soup with super fresh ingredients that you can pick yourself. There is a place not far from where I am staying this semester that has fresh vegetables and meats daily and then the hot pot is prepared on the spot while you wait. I think I’ve gone to this place like three days in a row; I can’t help it!
Personal hot pot: had two locks of noodles, and a basket of vegetables, with quail eggs. I love this so much!
#3 Oh My Kebab! Chicken Pita: Yes I know Greek Chinese style – but it’s good! My yoga buddies and I found this place literally right across the street from Metro line 1: Hengshan Lu station, where we get off for our yoga studio. The meat that this place is super fresh (I eat the chicken), and the vegetables are delightful. A little pricey for China, but it’s a very yummy snack after yoga!
Oh My Kebab! Chicken Pita – looks good doesn’t it?
There are many more dishes that I’ve tried, but these are my favorites. I’ll have to do yet another post on food, maybe at the end of my trip. I can’t say enough about the food here, but I can honestly say, I’m not starving!
Besides getting to know (and eat at) all the local places are the area, I’ve almost picked on a couple of little quirks that I’ve seen so far in China. I’m not sure if this is how it is everywhere, but here are the top 3 things I’ve noticed so far:
#1 Sidewalks are not only for walkers-they are also for bikes and mopeds: Even though there is a very good lane that is separated from the main street to use, bikers and moped riders love to literally ride down the sidewalks where people walk. They will either honk at your with their tiny moped horn or ring the bell on their bike incessantly until you move. You must get use to this and reign in the urge to push these people off their transportation contraption.
#2 When crossing the street – follow the locals. Otherwise, you will die of old age waiting to cross: When crossing the street you need to watch out for bicycles, mopeds, motored rickshaws, bike buggies, buses, and cars. Though there are working cross-walking signals, nobody uses them for one simple reason; they don’t matter. Cars, busses, mopeds, bicycles, everything and anything will continue to go on their way while you are trying to cross the street. Best way to cross is when there is an opening, no matter what. If you see the locals move – move!
#3 No smoking signs in a restaurant – people smoke anyway: As I understand it, it was made illegal to smoke in stores, restaurants, and other establishments in the last couple of years. From what I’ve seen, people follow this rule when they want to and ignore it the rest of the time. I’ve seen many a person just light a cigarette when there is a very blatant no smoking sign right in front of them. It’s really weird coming from the US where you can only smoke in designated areas, but it’s something that you become use to quickly here. I’m sure as the rule gets enforced more, things will change, but for right now – China is a smoker’s paradise.
I’m sure there are many more interesting little quirks, but I think these are the ones I’m usually laughing about and dealing with on a daily basis.
Now the fun is over – back to the grind! Until next time!