One of my favourite parts about China was, of course, the food. I will always remember my first day in China- we were jetlagged and decided to go to the nearest restaurant across the road from where we were staying. Being new to the country, we each naively picked a dishe thinking that would be our individual meal. How wrong we were! Each dish was placed onto a wheel at the table center, which spun around. Confused at first, we tried to take our dishes, but the waiters simply put them back onto the spinning wheel. Through broken English and large hand gestures, we got what they were trying to say; share. And then it all began.
There’s so much to say about Chinese dining and cuisine, I won’t be able to cover it in one post. We would go for lunch every day and have at around 10 dishes for 6 or so of us. Chopsticks were used for everything- I even ate a sweetcorn and spare rib using them- and rice was eaten at the end of a meal, as a ‘filler’. At a Chinese wedding, there was at least 20 dishes stacked onto the table, with some not even being touched as they were at the bottom of the pile!
The oils, spring onions, and sauces makes the food not only taste delicious but smell amazing too. Living in Sichuan province meant getting used to spicy food, and quickly learning what a Sichuan peppercorn looked like- and the importance of avoiding them!
My favourite meals were simple niu rou chao fan (beef fried rice) dishes or fried jiaozi (dumplings) which we’d eat in tiny family-run ‘restaurants’ that looked more like they’d decided to open up their garage rather than a full-blown establishment. It all tasted delicious. However my most favourite dish had to be the fish. Occasionally we were treated to an amazing fish dish, which was an entire fish cooked in spices, sauces, herbs and more.When I return to China, I’ll know what to order!