Since arriving in Xi’an I’ve craved more and more fruit. You see it everywhere, walking to class, down the street, and even to friend’s houses. Every so often I will go out and indulge on a large quantity of fruit. Most often I will buy a bunch of bananas, or some oranges and keep them in the room. But one thing you can get anywhere is 菠萝(bo luo). 菠萝 is pineapple and you can either get 1/5 of a pineapple on a stick, or a whole pineapple depending on where you go. Since I had an urge to indulge one day, I bought a whole precut pineapple. Knowing how messy it would be I ended up eating it in the bathroom over the sink. Strange as that may be, it was both successful and delicious. Best part about pineapples here is you can buy them for less than $2.00.
Hamburgers you find in China are far from what you can find in America. I’ve had various different kinds and more often than not been dissatisfied with the experience. But the other day I was invited to go out to eat with some friends at an American restaurant called Grandma’s Kitchen. The first thing I notice about this place is that the servers speak english to you. It was very strange walking ten minutes from my dorm to find a place where english is spoken. After a look at their menu I knew this place was legit. They not only had burgers that seemed like what you’d find in a real burger restaurant, but they also had mexican. I was tempted by both, but ended up going with the Montana BBQ burger, and it didn’t disappoint. The burger came with pickles,onions, lettuce, tomato,cheese,and fries. It was as genuine as a burger as i’ll ever find in China, and it was delicious. The BBQ sauce they put on it tasted like something you’d find in an American burger place. I devoured this burger with the biggest smile on my face. It’s good to have a taste of America whenever I’m feeling homesick!
Sunday morning comes around and you are in the mood for an American breakfast? Sorry to tell you, China doesn’t have such places, oh wait! This is Sculpting In Time Cafe, a modern cafe with a western feel, along with a relaxing atmosphere. Every Sunday, they have an early bird special until 11 am. For just 15 元(About $2.50) You can get two eggs, salad, either white bread, whole grain bread, or croissant, as well as your choice of bacon or ham, and a cup of coffee or orange juice. Upon arrival of this dish, one is instantly taken back to the groggy mornings that is Sunday with a large list of things to do, however, the day seemed that much easier when you started it right. The same is true for us Fulbrighters. Our Sundays are generally filled with loads of work for the coming week of classes as well as laundry and groceries. So thankfully, Sculpting In Time Cafe allows us to start the day off right, for just $2.50, talk about the early bird getting the worm!
This was really exciting. To be in another country for their most important holiday of the year. This is comparable to Christmas in America. The whole town is decorated, so you can imagine how the feast is. You eat a large breakfast, and a large dinner and that’s it. When midnight rolls around it’s the New Year, and you eat the dumplings you make with the family. There was a variety of dishes from fish to meat and all kinds of vegetables. I had a few firsts, including mussels, but that wasn’t even close to the weirdest thing I ate. I looked down at the table and saw a bug, some sort of bug. I looked on with a horrific look and with a smile I tried to refuse, but my host mother was insistent. I found out that it was a silk worm… I included pictures about it. It had the hard exterior and a juicy interior. The strangest thing I’ve ever eaten in my life. Overall, the meal was delicious and I topped it off with whats known as 果皮 which is a fruity kind of carbonated drink. This one in particular was 菠萝, very delicious. One word, French Fries!
Sichuan hot pot is very delicious and very expensive. The restaurant was really clean and well ventilated. Servers were constantly checking in on the table to make sure everyone’s needs are being met. My host father ordered a variety of dishes including, shrimp, sheep, cow, and even bullfrog. There is a saying in Chinese 入乡随俗, I may have mentioned before, it means, when in Rome, do as the Romans do. So I decided to eat my fill of bullfrog. If my family hadn’t told me it was bullfrog, I wouldn’t have known. The taste is a little different from beef, but hardly noticeable when soaked in a mixture of sauces. The hot pot is communal. One half of the hot pot was spicy, and one half was not spicy. The Canadian in me decided to shy away from the spicy side, my stomach later thanked me!
Every morning, my roommate Mike and I go to this little street vendor. It doesn’t matter if we are late for class or not, we make it a priority to go there. For just six kuai (~$1) you can get what’s known as 培根鸡蛋饼 or a bacon and egg with lettuce fold over. This has become the staple Chinese breakfast for us, and many of our classmates. It is made in about two minutes. It has other items that you could swap out for bacon, or add into to make the morning even better. Above is a picture of my roommate Mike and the establishment, as well as the fold over itself.