Thursday, August 30, 2012

Eating in China

I am having a hard time figuring out how to cook here. I jokingly wrote on facebook, "Anyone have any recipes for American food that doesn't use American ingredients?" Sadly, this is all too true for me. Actually, I think what we miss the most are ingredients to make mexican food! Either way, it is really tough to learn how to cook her without the same spices and ingredients I'm used to using. And guess what. I have lost probably 10 pounds by now. It's partly the diet, and partly all the energy I have to exert to buy the food!

Cooking successes:
My husband made spaghetti that was excellent! We had found some tomato paste in an "imported food" aisle at the store. We also found some "Italian seasoning". It was surprising how good it tasted!

I made the chili, and again was surprised at how good it turned out! They don't sell pinto beans here, but I finally found some red kidney beans that worked well.

--Semi-success: Tacos

I made my own flour tortillas, that were a little puffier than real tortillas. They tasted more like "gorditas". The kids thought it was weird, but I would eat it again.

--Semi-success: Chinese food

I'm really not a very good chinese cook, but I"m learning. It sure would be easier if I was. I have been watching cooking shows. lol

Actually it is really cheap to eat out here. Even at a nice restaurant, you can eat for about $5 (U.S.) a person. If you eat at a more "sketchy" restaurant you can eat for less than $3 a person. We have eaten some weird things like, "wild chicken". It's basically a scrawny chicken that has been allowed to run around free. lol They chop up the whole chicken and serve every part. You kind of have to just suck on the bones because these are skinny chickens, and there isn't much meat. The taste is okay though. Hmmm...well it depends on who cooks it.

We were in Beijing and Xi An for 10 days and the one thing we learned from first hand experience is that northern China food isn't very good. In Xi An they like to eat "sour noodles". It's a bowl of noodles with a lot of vinegar in the broth. I like vinegar, but this wasn't my favorite. I also ate a muslim dish that I wasn't too thrilled with. It is called "Pao Mo", and is basically a really dense dry bread broken up in to tiny pieces and served with lamb in a bowl of noodles. Meh...

So now my task is to really come up with some good recipes. I don't have an oven, just a broiler function on my microwave. That makes it harder. I welcome any recipes that use fresh vegetables, very little meat, and don't need to be baked. Help!

Here is a picture of a meal we ate in Xi An. It was geared to foreigner tastes, and really not very good. They did have a guy pulling noodles for us, and that part was good, but the rest was yucky. You can tell by the look on my face...


Rummuser said...

I am surprised that you cannot get the ingredients needed to cook your kind of food in China. I wonder if the same will be the case for Indian food then?

Nene said...

I had a hard time with a finding a few ingredients in Ireland also. I googled recipes and because I was in Ireland it took me to a European site: There is also an that is a US site. The reason I'm telling you this is because if you google recipes, or maybe even chinese recipes, because you are in China it may take you to a recipe site telling about how to cook in China. It was really helpful to me in Ireland because I finally realized that the stuff I couldn't find was mainly because it had a different name in Ireland. So I could do a search on that site and it would tell me what the Irish substitute was. Anyway, try it, you never know. Good luck, and if you need any recipes, make a list of the kinds of food you can buy and maybe we can look around and send you recipes that you can use. :0)

Liz said...

Pasta primavera has only pasta and veggies. Do you want us to send you a care package?

Grannymar said...

I wonder if these will help:

Also try YouTube

I hope this helps.

Delirious said...

Oh Grannymar, this is a great link!! THanks!

Delirious said...

Ramana, I think you would have a hard time cooking Indian food too. We have found a few INdian ingredients, but not many.

Amber said...

You should look around and see if there are any cooking classes you could take - maybe you could be the Julia Child of Chinese food! ;)