Chinese Street Food, Restaurant Food

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Drying fish in a Shanghai ally

I am proud to say I eat just about any food.  If it is on a menu, I’ll try it.  As a young kid, I ate rattlesnake, squirrel, turtle steak, frog legs, kangaroo tail soup and just about any odd item found on a menu.  The squirrel and frog legs I hunted, which makes me sound a bit like a hillbilly, but it was fun as a kid.  I really looked forward to new foods in China.  However, overall, it was disappointing.  Despite us driving past miles and miles of red peppers piled high in the fields, the food was boiled and bland.  Boiled broccoli, boiled cauliflower, boiled bok choy.  Also, the Chinese do not differentiate between breakfast, lunch and dinner foods.  In the morning you had much of the same foods on the buffet the prior night.  Very few of the dishes were great.  However, I did get to add to my list of unusual foods, which included:

  • Camel tendons
  • Donkey Skin
  • Carp, full of bones
  • Pigs Ear, nothing but cartilage, what else?
  • Horse sausage

My main question was who got the good cuts of meat if in the fine restaurants they were feeding me donkey skin and camel tendons???


Quail on a stick

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Outdoor cooks

No, I did not get to eat the above fish.  They were hanging in a Shanghai ally.  Oddly enough, I did not see any flies in these open air markets full of hanging food.
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Signs in China, Now THAT’S a Bad Sign

slide-sign-smoking-20131029-IMG_1700slide-sign-smoking-20131028-IMG_1651 copyIf you were asked to make a sign written in Chinese, wouldn’t you want to have a Chinese person check it out?  Especially if it is a sign millions of people would see, or if it were a notice on your company’s product?  I think the Chinese must be very perplexed why many so many English speaking people stop and take a photo of their ‘No Smorking’ and “No Smooking” signs.

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There are LOTS more examples…. Read on.  Click on the image to see the entire sign.
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Chinese Transportation

I see Bicycles EVERYWHERE

I see Bicycles EVERYWHERE

So how does one find their bike here?  Once found, how do they get it out?

In the cities, what initially looks like a two lane road is really a six lane road.  Along both curbs are fast moving scooters and bicycles going both ways.  Before stepping into the street, one must look both ways for scooters,  motorized carts and bikes.  Then upon crossing both lanes of automobile traffic, you have to look BOTH ways again.  Vehicles, we were told, have the right of way.  We saw very few wrecks and the traffic just flowed.  Our bus driver once had to back out into very heavy traffic.  He just went slowly, kept backing out into the traffic that simply flowed around the bus.  Those who could scoot by did until their path was blocked.  No horns honked, as drivers just flowed around him, like molasses in January.  That could never happen in the States.  If one did attempt it here, there would finger pointing of sorts and much horn honking….  Oddly enough, there were very few wrecked cars and no old beat up vehicles.  All the cars appeared to be quite new.

These are photos of a more rural area in far western China.

Notice the wedding dress

Notice the wedding dress

The Race is ON!

The Race is ON!

Hey Woman, Take me to Market

Hey Woman,
Take me to Market

China’s Building Boom

China Building BOOM

China’s Building BOOM

Each city we visited in China had much evidence of the governments efforts to convert China to a land of cities from a land of farms.  On a return trip from the Great Wall, some of us on the tour bus started counting the cranes but stopped as we could not count fast enough and we totaled over 100.  I asked each of our guides for details about this building boom but did not get consistent answers.  Fortunately many of my questions seemed to be answered in a feature article in the International New York Times from November 11, 2013 “In New China, Hope Fades and Homes Crumble.”
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Squatty Potties – Chinese Toilets

Train Toilet

Train Toilet, Squatty Potty

Squatty Potty

Squatty Potty

Now for the important stuff about China. The Chinese are known for seeing western products and doing their best to imitate them. Not so with the toilets…. My wife said there would be a line of Chinese women at these Squatty Potties and the one western style commode, when there was one, would be open and unused. They also do not imitate our plumbing. The silver looking toilet was the one found on the 19 hour train ride we encountered…. That is another story… There is a lady on the train, the bucket lady, whose job it was to get a pail of water, pour it into the commode and voila, like magic, the entire restroom was sparkling clean once again, if it wasn’t for all of the apparent ‘misses’ from the 36 people per car sharing the bathroom on the rocking and rolling train. The bucket you see next to the commode is for ALL the toilet paper, yes it goes into the bucket, not the commode. Out on the streets, we would see a man sweeping up fallen leaves, or a dime sized piece of paper, but inside the toilets, well we could not wait to get back out on the streets.