I''ve never eaten so much white bread and rice in my life. I'll need carb detox.
I will openly admit that for most of my life I haven't liked Chinese food. My parents did, so I would pout and hope there would be a hamburger on the menu every time we had to go to a Chinese food restaurant. I wasn't coming to China for the cuisine. The food actually started out ok, took a turn for the bland and greasy but is better in Xian and Beijing. Breakfast is usually good because it's in our hotel and there is a variety of food - western, Chinese and European.
Lunch and dinner are always the same. Sit down at a round table that seats 10 with a large lazy Susan in the middle and plates of food randomly arrive. Actually first the glass of beer arrives and we do our toast. I like the beer better than coke or sprite - they are too sweet. There is always a pot of green tea. Sometimes the rice is first - sometimes last. The food is a lot greasier than I expected. Everything, even cooked bok choy or cabbage has a greasy after taste. In Shanghai, Suzhou and Hangzhou all the food is deep fried and coated in some sort of sauce (either very bland or very sweet). As we moved to central and northern China the sauces got spicier and tastier. We are usually served flat, breaded meat that is fried. Some people think it's chicken. Some people think it's spam. Not a good sign if you can't differentiate between chicken and spam! We've had neck of some sort served - we could tell by the vertebrae.
One day at lunch we had a whole fish, head included,on the plate (breaded and fried of course) and coated with ketchup. Looked like a fish horror flick. We've had a plate full of small, greasy, unpeeled shrimp. The Chinese eat them with the peels on. As Aunty Deb said, we don't eat whiskers! Too many eyes on the table means I'll be eating rice and granola bars.
As I mentioned in the previous blog, the plates are saucer size that we eat off. We learned that Chinese do not put soya sauce on rice. We do.
At the end of the meal is watermelon slices or mandarin orange slices.
Smoking is allowed in restaurants. Sometimes there is a little box of Kleenex on the table.
The carpets and upholstered chairs are usually filthy no matter how good or fancy the restaurant is. Even if the chairs have chair covers, they are stained.
We noticed food inspection rating signs in the restaurants. There are three ratings - fail, pass and excellent. I've only seen two excellent and one was at Starbucks.
We are getting the food Chinese think is more palatable for North Americans. They don't eat like this. I haven't seen any obese Chinese.
I held off posting about the food and I'm glad I did because it is much better than the beginning of the trip. We don't go hungry, but it I won't want Chinese food for a while after this!
KFC is huge here. We only went once. This morning I had ice cream for breakfast. It's ok though because there is All Bran on top!
Overall I am grateful that the food is organized for us and we aren't trying to feed ourselves. Who knows what we would order. Other than an upset stomach one afternoon which I think was from being over tired, I haven't been sick from the food.