Life in China - Daily life - Food

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If a company pay for all of your expenses or you never look at the price tag at the restaurants and pizzeria, then this article is not for you. If you do not want to spend too much money for the food, but still want to keep your belly pleasant, then the information may be useful for you.

Okay, first you have to get used to Chinese "feeding style", they never care about how they eat. For example eating fish or meat they throw the bones right on the table, and the waiter always does the dirty work without being offended.

Most of the Chinese eat in cheap street bars, which you can fine at the each corner of a city. They do not look cool or friendly, but that doesn't mean that the food is the same. Most of them cook pretty good. Don't be fastidious, you may go to an expensive restaurant where you may sit down, look at the menu and eat your dinner, but very often food happens to be tasteless, portions small and prices very high.

Lets look what we can buy in those cheep food bars:

1. Noodles with beef. 牛肉面. Niu rou mian. 10-20 yuan

The dish looks like the photo. Number of beef peaces depends on the seller, someone put more, someone put less. Most of the times you will find about five pieces of meat in size of finger bone. Usually they also put some cabbage, that may be Chinese cabbage. They may put some greenery as well, onion and something else. That "something" looks very similar to parsley, but that is not parsley, it is not edible as for me.

The soup of the noodles may be hot and spicy (红汤, Hong Tang) and not spicy (清汤, Qing Tang), choose the one you like.

style="width: 402px; height: 302px;" /> The noodles may be thick (粗的, Cu De) and thin (细的, Xi De), I prefer thin noodles; may be made from wheat (面, Mian) and rice (米线,Mi Xian), test both of them and decide which one you like.

2. Braised pork. 烧白. Shao Bai. 15-30 yuan

This is a pretty fat dish. The meat floats in fat and its own juice. Somewhere you may find " dry version", but that would be a defect. They sell Shao Bai with some rice, a cup of bouillon and some sour vegetables (cabbage or turnip). The meat is under some greenery when braise, and then they turn it upside down, so the greenery appears to be under the meat. The greenery has some special taste, but still edible. If you like fat meat then you will definitely like Shao Bai.

3. Fried pork. 回锅肉. Hui Guo Rou. 12-20 yuan

This is thin slices of pork fried with some vegetables. Hui Guo Rou may contain various number of different vegetables, but always cooked with thin slices of pork. The common components of the dish are: green pepper, onion, carrot, greenery of Chinese onion (very similar to the greenery of garlic). Sometimes they may put cabbage, red pepper, Dou Fu (豆腐), garlic. Usually the meat is very dry, not everyone likes that. They sell Hui Guo Rou with some rice, cup of bouillon and some sour vegetables, the same as Shao Bai.

Hui Guo Rou has two versions: meat separated from rice (盖饭, Gai Fan) and meat fried together with rice (炒饭, Chao Fan). I do not like Chao Fan version.

4. Fried-boiled pork with Chinese mushrooms. 木耳肉片. Mu Er Rou Pian. 15-20 yuan

Mu Er rou is a Chinese mushroom with a strange taste. In life it looks like this:

Mu Er Rou Pian is a not hot/spicy dish, it contains meat and mushrooms mostly. Sometimes they may add cucumber and cabbage. Meat is soft, juicy and not fat. You may take Mu Er Rou Pian for a dinner or a supper.

5. Braised pork with beans. 红烧肉. Hong Shao Rou. 20-35 yuan

Hong Shao Rou is very fat, hot and spicy. They cut very fat pieces of meat with skin into cubes, then braise it with beans, pepper and other spice. Some of them replace beans with kidney beans, some of them do not put any kind of beans. In the end they add some greenery on the top of the dish. The meat is that fat that I couldn't finish a portion without vodka. They sell Hong Shao Rou with some rice, a cup of bouillon and some sour vegetables, same as Hui Guo Rou.

6. Braised pork belly. 肥肠. Fei Chang. 15-25 yuan

Fei Chang is identical to Hong Shao Rou, just the meat being replaced with pork belly, that is why the dish is not so fat and has strange taste. You may swallow it a couple of times per month. Unlike Hong Shao Rou they very often cook not hot version (清汤,Qing Tang) of Fei Chang.

7. Chinese dumplings. 饺子. Jiao Zi. 10-25 yuan

Jiao Zi is more similar to fruit dumplings than to meat dumplings. There are much more dough than meat, the dough is not elastic and stick together. There are twenty of different fillings, such as meat, shrimps, mushrooms, fruits. Meat and cabbage (白菜,Bai Cai), meat and mushrooms (蘑菇,Mo Gu), meat and greenery (韭菜, Jiu Cai) are the most popular fillings. All of the three versions are good, but I prefer Jiu Cai. They sell Jiao Zi with some kind of sauce (调料, Tiao Liao) which they cook right for you, it may be hot, salty, spicy, sweet, whatever taste you want.

The dumplings may be fried, such dumplings are names煎饺 Jian Jiao. They not always look good, but they are very good on taste.

8. Thin Chinese dumplings. 抄手/馄炖. Chao Shou/Hun Dun. 12-25 yuan

Chao Shou is another variant of Chinese dumplings. Meat or other filling is wrapped with thin dough and then being boiled in some kind of bouillon. In the result we get some kind of soup with dumplings. The soup may be hot and spicy (红汤, Hong Tang) or usual (清汤, Qing Tang). Some of them add small shrimps and greenery to the soup. The filling is made from meat or shrimps, usually without vegetables.

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