Thursday, August 19, 2010

Cheese & Meat? Oh My! Korean Food in Beijing!

I was really surprised by how many Koreans there were in Beijing. Apparently Koreans are the highest minority in Beijing, which I thought was really interesting. There are a lot of areas where the streets are filled with loads of Korean restaurants and markets. Awesome. More Koreans in China equals more awesome Korean food. Most of the time when we think of Korean food, we think of Korean BBQ. I was really getting tired of eating Chinese food everyday so when some friends suggested getting Korean food, I was extremely happy. I was in fact expecting Korean BBQ, but I was introduced to something much better and weirder! 
We we given a menu where we got to choose what additional items we wanted to add to the big stone grill. We decided to add these thick white ravioli-like Korean noodles that I love. The dish already included a different type of noodles, meat, veggies, and other things inside. It was also huge!!! We had 3 people and the chef was making our 2 person order. They also brought out the japchae (Korean side dishes), which made me feel close to home even though I was half way across the world. 
The blob of food came out and then they sprinkled  cheese on top. Weird right? If you would have told me I'd be eating Korean food with cheese atop I would have been really grossed out. BUT- I guess this shows you really can't judge something until they try it because this was D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S!!!  You couldn't eat it alone since it was too spicy so we also got some steamed rice. Between the cheesy goodness, rice, and side dishes we got so full we wanted to roll out the door. 

Yum, yum, yum! Let's all go and put cheese on everything!!! 
Happy Eatings!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Southwestern Minority Food!!! 西南民族菜

I'm home back in the U.S. of the A!! Super excited! This is the first post I'm actually able to post myself since I'm finally away from the Great Firewall of China and had to have my sister do all my posting. I can finally comment back now! Very exciting!  My 2nd to last meal in Beijing was Southwestern Minority food. I love minorities & I love food. It was the perfect combo. Very, very good! Plus, I've never had 西南民族菜 (Southwestern Minority Food) so it was a great send off meal.
Spicy cold noodles. The best I've ever had!
 Look at all that bone marrow. That meat was amazing. It fell off the bone. The best part of of it was the seasoning. Just that was enough to eat with rice!!!
 This was pork meat with special southwestern chinese seasoning!!!
The most amazing fried fish balls ever! The sauce made it ever better!
This was a plant of some sort. I forgot what it was exactly but it was super good too!

Southwestern Minority food was really good. Only problem was that their seasoning was so good you had to eat it with bowls and bowls of rice!!! It was spicy too!
Happy Eatings!! 

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Countdown Til I Return Home!

What's wrong with this picture? Ghetto Fabulous. Do you see how there's a whole portion of the bike missing? If you think driving while texting or on the phone is bad, you need to experience the Beijing bike experience. People are not watching while riding their bikes, while carrying an umbrella to block the sun, texting, listening to music, and talking on the phone all at the same time!

UPDATE: Turns out I spoke too soon. The bike in the picture above may be missing a part, but my bike just got stolen earlier with 2 days left of the program. My bike was old and broken, but apparently that's what's IN these days. Currently I know at least 6 people who have had their bikes stolen. 1 person has only been in Beijing for 2 weeks and has already had her bike stolen twice. 1 of my classmates got his bike stolen 4 times already and has since given up on replacing it. The most hilarious bike stealing case has been when the thief cut off my classmates lock and then put his own lock on the stolen bike so that it would seem as though the bike was actually his. Awesome. Note all of the stolen bikes were 2nd hand bikes in very poor condition. With 2 more days to go, I have decided just to suck it up and wake up early to wake to class. Oh well, I guess my China experience would not have been complete without it. After all, you haven't been to China until you've gotten something important stolen!

As I mourn my 2nd hand bike, I leave you with some street food.

Intestine on a stick. I actually had no clue what they were selling but it looked gross so I wanted to give it a try. 

I then proceeded to another "restaurant" -- haha aka a grill on top of a bike -- and picked up more normal items like sasauage, eggplant, veggies, squid, etc.

And now I'm back to mourning my bike. I leave you with the conversation I had with my teacher once I found out my bike was stolen:

Me: "My bike got stolen right outside of our building."
Teach: "How many locks did you have on it?"
Me: "1..."
Teach: "Yeah that's not enough."

Happy Eatings!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Best Part of China-Hands Down (NSFW)

The best part of being in Beijing for the past 2 months has hands down been my weekly fire cupping and gua sha visits. Basically, they take these suction glass things, put alcohol inside of them and light it on fire. Then they cup it to your skin and leaves you with these unsightly marks. It relieves stress just like a shiatsu massage. The only con is that those marks are left on your back for about a week so you look like a human Dalmatian. I've always wanted to get fire cupping done as a kid, but my mom would never let me cause she said I would get taken away by child service's for abuse.

[Click only if you aren't easily grossed out.]

After getting the fire cupping, I ask to get gua sha, which literally means "to scrape away the disease." Gua Sha uses repeated strokes using a Chinese soup spoon or animal bones. This brings the blood to the surface and releases all the "bad stuff/disease" that is inside you body by opening your pores and bringing it to the surface. Just like with fire cupping, you are left with marks depending on how unhealthy you are. You can come out blue, black, pink, or red. It kind of looks wolverine slashed your back. You feel the relief right away though! Gua Sha can be used to treat heat stroke, colds, asthma, headaches, food poisoning, etc. So basically everything! You must try!

So since I've been going to class with my "abuse" marks all my classmates have been asking me what the hell was wrong with me. I actually ended up taking 5 foreigners with me and they have been converted to fire cupping and gua sha. I should get paid for advertising for them. So funny seeing white people with a bunch of fire cupping marks on them!

So now that I've conquered fire cupping and gua sha every week for the past 2 months, what's next on my list?

Blood letting/Wet Cupping. So they're suppose to make a small incision in your skin before they do the fire cupping on top of that. By doing that, the pressure difference extracts the "bad" blood aka disease from your skin and body!

Since I'm leaving in a week, I'll definitely be going tomorrow once last time!

Happy Eatings? Ha!

School Food Aint So Bad... On The First Day

So I'm sure many of you have been wondering what I've been eating from the school cafeteria, which by the way is clad with lots and lots of scary huge cameras pointing at you from all over. How very Big Brother of them. The first day was awesome. I thought to myself wow this food is great! Then, I realized they never change up their food. All the choices you saw on the first day are the exact same choices you have on your 60th day...

Dumplings. At least they are freshly made everyday and not frozen or maybe that's only because China'a refrigerators don't seem to be able to get very cold so they don't have any other choice but to make them fresh.

Jia Jiang Mian. Cold Noodles with Sesame Sauce. 

Panda Express, China style. Pick 2 items and we'll give you some rice. Here's my choice of potatoes and celery. 

Did I mention all their noodles are freshly made from scratch too? There's actually a guy that is pulling the noodles. Here's some green noodles in a tomato soup. Again pick 2 items and they just throw it in. I chose a Chinese pickled veggie and tomatoes. 

Pick 2 items again. Eggplant and veggies. 

This food was actually kind of appealing for the first day but later you realize it's all the same. They just take the same things and serve them in different combinations. I just chose the meals that seemed more different to take photos of. Trust me I am so sick of tomatoes and scrambled eggs. That's like the safety dish to get in China. 

Happy Eatings!

By the way, I'm going on a Chinese food strike when I get home. No Mainland Chinese style food for at least a good 2 weeks. Of course Hong Kong and Taiwanese food is still okay since they don't have that here. Bring on the tacos & salsa too!!!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Summer Palace Continued... What Does a C Mean To You?

Here are some more pictures from my trip to the Summer Palace. This place was huge. It's impossible to actually see it all in 1 day. 

Some people opt to rent a boat and paddle along the water routes and sightsee from there. It was way too hot for that though! After, leaving the Summer Palace, we went to eat some snacks.

Upon entering the joint, I was greeted with a big fat C rating! Who knew Beijing had ratings for their restaurants. Now if you think a C in the U.S. is shady, I wonder what a C in Beijing looks like. Looks like the Beijing Municipal Health Department decided that this restaurant had a C level of sanitation. FYI, passing in the U.S. is a 70% which equals a C, but passing in China is 60%. Do what you will with that.

Did a C China status stop me from eating there? Obviously not.

I'm also happy to report that my stomach was A-OK after. I'm officially invincible in China. It's quite an awesome realization. 

We also made a stop at Starbucks. Starbucks is super big in China because there's no good Chinese coffee. FYI, the best coffee ever is Vietnamese coffee. I liked their fruity choices though with a Black Currant and Raspberry Juice Tea and Hibiscus Mango Tea. 

Happy Eatings!

If you can eat at a C restaurant in China and live to tell the tale, you can do ANYTHING!
P.S. 2 weeks until I return home!!!

頤和園 Adventure Part 1

This is me at the the tourist site known as the Summer Palace or Yíhé Yuán; literally "Gardens of Nurtured Harmony." It's where the Empress & Emperors used to go on vacation.

I was kinda hoping for a more fierce looking Qinlin to be guarding the Summer Palace. This one looked really skinny and wimpy.

Now this QInlin looks like it can do some major protecting. 

After hours of walking, the meal of the day was Xibei food aka Mongolian. 

A picture of the girl that was probably making my food. 

Some veggie dishes

Lamb Soup.

Little dumpling things you dipped in your soup.

Lamb, fungus, & Mongolian hard bread.

I've been really lazy uploading pictures since the weather here has been really bad. Part 2 to come.

Happy Eatings!