Tag Archives: Chinese food

The Love for Food

There are many reasons why I love to travel to China as I have already written once down in this post from last year. There I briefly mentioned food and my favorite restaurants. By going through my pictures from the past years I realized that the food part fell a bit short in that post so I decided to make up for it now. I know that I might bring the wrath of some people now upon me by sharing those pictures but I just can’t help it.

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Nom nom nom

Chinese consider their food to be the crème de la crème of all the world and to be honest I mostly agree with that. Mostly? Because there is always some other food which is great as well (but not in the eyes of my wife and her family…prefering to eat in some run down Chinese restaurant in Germany rather than trying some local specialities, but that is again another story). I only need to mention 小五 xiao wu/ little five in front of my wife to receive death stares from her as xiao wu is the name of our favorite little restaurant in China just 2 minutes walking distance away from her parents home. Let me just tell you that it is surely one of the best foods I have ever tried and also far far away from our current location in Germany hence the death stares. Xi’an, as any other city in China, has tons of food to offer.

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More nom nom nom

Let’s take biangbiang Biang (简体).svgBiang (简体).svg noodles as an example. Not only do they have the supposedly most complicated character but they do also taste superb. Then there are various cold noodle dishes liangpi 凉皮 of which I sometimes even dream of and then of course rou jia mo 肉夹馍 the mouth-watering “meat bread” you can find at so many places around the city. Whenever my in-laws are taking us to a new restaurant I am all hyped, not only because it surely will lead to another weird story due to MIL’s unreasonable character but also because I can experience new food once again. Of course I sometimes face food which I am not the biggest fan of right after the first bite but usually it is something amazing again.

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Have I mentioned nom nom nom already?

One risk though when it comes to going out to eat with my in-laws is that I might end up with way too much food. They know that I love noodle dishes, particularly cold noodle dishes and also rou jia mo. Sounds great at first but when you do suddenly get two rou jia mo, one cold noodle dish and then some other dish it is a bit much for me. This certain flood of food I received when going to a restaurant in the city center famous for these foods. Well, I managed to eat it all but didn’t feel all too well afterwards for the rest of the day. Speaking of over eating. It is so dangerous with dear crazy mother-in-law as she piles up food non-stop on my plate and thus I learned to wait and see where she is sitting so I can find the seat farthest away from her. The thing is, even though my in-laws always order way too much it is never enough in the end. FIL can eat much, way to much for a guy his size. To put it in other words: he eats about triple the amount of food than me which equals pretty much half his body weight in my estimations. I better come now to the rest of the pictures before I start some more rants about my crazy Chinese family.

Do you have places you love to visit due to the food?

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Our Chinese New Year 2016

I know I know I am a week late with this post but I didn’t manage to finish it until now due to all kind of silly reasons. In the whole past week I could read from so many bloggers how they celebrated New Year so here I go with our tiny “party”.

This was the first time since 2013 that we actually celebrated again as we had just no time for the past years. Even before that we usually never did anything special so we always ended up watching the CCTV New Year Gala. Only once we participated in some bigger event and it was just a few weeks after we got together in 2010. Back then we went to the Chinese New Year Festivities in Helsinki. Let me just tell you that it was very very cold back then and not the most enjoyable experience I had in my life (due to the weather!). A couple of years ago I even wrote a little blog post about it which also shows that not much (nothing) has really changed on how we spend New Year.

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A bit of food for watching the New Year Gala

 

So what happened this year? First of all we kind of messed up the actual date for the New Year. My wife and all her Chinese friends CNY9here in town thought it would be on Saturday the 06.02.2016. Imagine the surprise when my wife heard from one of her customers on that Saturday that there won’t be any New Year Gala as it wouldn’t start until Sunday… this shows pretty well what living abroad for so many years does to someone when it comes to such big festivities. Anyways after a disappointing Saturday we started Sunday with preparing for the overeating day. My wife prepared several dishes while I was busy entertaining our little Monkey/ Nathan. Pictures were taken,  food was enjoyed, the CCTV New Year Gala was watched and many video chats had to be endured during that day. As you can see it was a pretty calm day for us especially as my wife didn’t had to work and thus we spend the entire day together. Besides that Nathan was finally able to wear some of the clothes my wife bought for him in China last year. Only bad thing about the dress was that the hat didn’t fit anymore, Nathan just got too much brain inside.

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Calling his grandparents to save him from the New Year Gala in TV

For the next year I hope that we will be either able to travel to China for this event as I would love to witness it once in my life personally or to celebrate with other people together. Sure it is nice to spend the whole day together as a family but to have some bigger gatherings once every few years wouldn’t hurt either.

Where there some Lunar New Year events near your home?

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Entering another World

For people like me who grew up in little towns the buzzy streets in China in the evening is like entering another world. Xi’an is by no means a huge city by Chinese standards with its 8 million inhabitants but that is already 3 million more than the entire population of Finland.

When I arrived for my first time in China I was amazed at the insane traffic and the amount of people on the streets. The streets would fill up with people already in early morning time and decrease only towards noon when the temperatures reached near unbearable levels. It took me a while to realize that each street was filled with shops and restaurants, something I only knew from shopping streets in Germany and Finland. No matter in which  street I went they were lined with hundred of shops next to each other and people all around. But it wasn’t till my first journey during evening hours around  the small side streets of Xi’an that it made click and I comprehended that I really arrived in another culture.

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Food and more food

You see in the little German city I grew up the stores closed latest at 8pm and already before that magical time the streets were abandoned as if they had rolled up the sidewalks. In Finland it was no different except the occasional partygoers at weekends in Helsinki. So what made me comprehend that I arrived in another world?  It was already dark and those little side streets were packed with people. Not so much as for trying to still get some late shopping done but to socialize at the restaurants and street kitchens. Everywhere people were sitting outside on plastic stools around small tables filled with food and more often than not countless bottles of beer. The ever-present mouth-watering smell of different foods all around overloading the brain for a decision on what to buy first.

In Finland were we lived back then it was near complete silence at evening time. Only the occasional car passing by or some animal sounds but nothing more. I was so used to the quiet of the night that I walked around the streets of Xi’an with utter disbelieve on what I saw and heard. Loud chatter coming from the groups of people clouded around those little tables, some vendors selling melons on the street praising the quality of their goods, silent death scooters cruising around managing somehow not to collide with anyone and of course the awkward tourist here and there.

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Oh guess what, more food!

The city was full during day time and alive but it all paled in comparison to what the city was like during evening hours. It got dark by seven pm and this would mean in my hometown that it is dark except some street lights. But there in Xi’an it wasn’t dark, no it bright everywhere. Colourful signs at each shop and restaurant and nearly all buildings illuminated by lights reminded me on those old Hong-Kong movies I used to watch in my youth. Each small street felt like a treasure to be discovered as each one had their unique feeling and groups of people. Later on my travels to China I would always enjoy going out for a walk around the streets in the evening as it somehow felt special to me.

I know that this description of Xi’an fits basically most cities in China or Asia however that city has been the place I spent most of my time in during my holidays in China for the past years. Each time before traveling to China I get excited about the holiday itself but I am especially looking forward to those small evening walks and enjoying the food from the street kitchens.  This blog post has been existing already for a couple of years but somehow I never got around posting it. This post is pretty much different than my usual stuff as there is no Nathan, MIL or anything about my crazy family, just my experiences and feelings when thinking about time spent in China and enjoying the time there.

What do you connect with Asian cities during evening hours?

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