Thursday, September 26, 2013

Family Style

Since I've been here I've tried some very interesting foods. From red bean frappe's to black sticky rice ice cream and everything in between.

Our teacher took us out to lunch this week and we went to a traditional restaurant. Here traditional means family style, where all the dishes are places in the center and everyone takes something from every dish and either eats it right away or places it on their plate. Its very unusual for someone who only eats whats given on their plate. I think it creates more communication and relationship since one cannot be shy, everyone just grabs everything. Its very usual too for others to grab food and put it on your plate so you can try and eat it.

Well we went to this Chinese restaurant and the program was paying for it so everyone was able to order x amount of food. I opened the menu and was about to run back out of the restaurant. The pictures included whole ducks and chickens with their heads still on in a bowl of soup, or whole fish heads on a plate of greens. I was not expecting anything of the sort. I ordered the simplest thing, noddles and then black pepper and salt chicken. We all tried different things just to see how everything tasted. No whole duck though (I told them I'd leave if that happened). When the food came it all looked so delicious. 
We had chicken and tofu, noodles and beef, vegetables and snails.

People have always told me how good they were, but looking at them I couldn't do it. 

Here's the inside of a snail, looks just like squid or octopus. Apparently it was 很好吃 (very delicious). Maybe one day before I leave I might try them. 

In China people usually don't eat desserts or too many sweets, so I was worried about my ice cream situation. We've found Haagen Dazs and Cold Stone, but they're even more expensive here than in the US.
We found the best places are the little shops on the street where you can get ice cream for less than 30 cents. 
At night study breaks are a must for us and we venture out to find ice cream. 
I've had all sorts from grapes, peach, pineapple, and lately black sticky rice. I know it sounds disgusting but it was actually very good, once you got over the initial shock of eating rice ice cream. 
My favorite so far though has been Green Tea Ice Cream Cake. We went to Pizza Hut for dinner one night and ordered this for dessert. It was delicious.

Who knows what we'll find and eat next. I've been trying a lot of food and other times I'm scared to eat them.
It's all been very different though. I think the biggest thing to get used to in terms of food is that your eating Chinese food 24/7. Back home you'd probably have it maybe once or twice a week. Here you have it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner everyday. My body is still adjusting to it, I've been craving a salad for the longest time. 
The food is great though, especially the  "fried" noodles (炒面) . I've become very adept at using chopsticks, I now can even eat peanuts with them. 
It will be very weird to get back home and use a fork again. 

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