It can be very difficult to get accustomed to whole new daily cuisine, but during my time in China this difficulty has been made easier by one simple fact: the food here is delicious! I still miss some things that are rarely found here, such as a hearty steak, but I know that when I return home there are many foods that I will have to say goodbye to. So today I'd like to dedicate a post to some food photos, so that everyone else can see the delicious-ness that we experience here every day. (And FYI, it's not at all like the "American Chinese" food that we have at home... though I do like both very much!)
Yummy Chinese BBQ! Recently this has made many appearances in my life because of the warm weather. We sit outside, eat some barbecue, drink some beer, and enjoy good company. There are vegetables, meats, and usually an assortment of seafoods as well... snails and crawfish are some favorites.
麻辣烫 (Pronounced "malatang" and roughly translated to "hot spicy soup"...) Essentially you can choose meats, vegetables, bread, etc. and the restaurant will cook them in a hot, spicy broth for you. You can choose your level of spiciness depending on your personal tastes, hence the rough translation. If you know a little Chinese you don't have to worry about too much spice!
These are clams cooked with Chinese style sauces and spices. We've encountered many seafoods here that are the same as those back home, but completely different in taste! The style of cooking here is quite different, and therefore it is very enjoyable to try new things. Though Nanchang is not close to the coast, it still gets quite a bit of fresh seafood from the coastal cities of the south.
火锅 (Pronounced "huoguo" this is the name for Chinese "hot pot".) I've been told that Sichuan Province is famous for this dish, but my experiences with it in Nanchang have been quite good too. The menus can sometimes be difficult for me to read, so I like this restaurant in particular where you can choose your food from sight rather than a Chinese menu. On the right sight is a bland broth, and on the left side is a spicy broth. You can put your food in either side to cook and then enjoy!
The last thing I want to mention is Chinese tea. I am not usually a tea lover, but I have had the opportunity to try many different teas during my time here (and in Fuzhou as well) and I've really liked them! This particular tea is from a gathering of people who taste and enjoy tea weekly. Experiencing this tea along with Chinese singing, dancing, and entertainment was an experience I will not soon forget!
There are many other delicious foods that I could talk about, and I wish I could share them all with you the way that my students share them with me, but instead I recommend taking off to China to experience these exquisite tastes yourself. My students and I all agree that translating the names of foods can be the most difficult because they don't always translate quite right. You may need a translator to accompany you on a food journey through China, but it's certainly worth it! Yum, yum, yum!