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Published: July 17th 2006
Local Fruit Vendors
Fresh fruit is freely available at local stalls just outside the campus gates.
Food, one of my favourite topics! None more so than when I am travelling through, and in this case, living in, a new and exciting place.
Taizhou is located on the northern bank of the Yangtze River, about 3hours NW of Shanghai, one of the most fertile and productive regions of China. Consequently there are always lots of fresh ingredients available. The cuisine here is generally considered to be of the “Eastern School” although with the variety of fresh ingredients and condiments and the increasing mobility of China’s population, many styles of cooking are gaining popularity.
In my short time here I have been given the opportunity to try a wide variety of local dishes. Surprisingly, peanuts seem to be a very common ingredient, usually fried whole. They are not only used in appetizers but other dishes as well. Similarly, aubergine (eggplant) is also used widely in vegetable dishes. As was expected, there are a large variety of fresh leafy greens and tofu is used in many shapes and forms. Chicken, duck, fish (river) and shrimp are popular as well. My favourite so far is a spicy fish “hotpot”.
A typical day sees me eat a Western breakfast
Breakfast On The Run
As in the West, many people take their breakfast on the run. Local mobile vendors make sure there's plenty to eat and drink.
of fruit, yogurt, porridge/muesli or boiled egg and toast (I even found Australian butter at the local supermarket!), using the share kitchen facility at our hotel apartment. (I know, I’m a whimp!). At this stage I would rather keep the traditional Chinese breakfast of steamed buns, rice porridge, noodle soup and pickled vegetables for special occasions only!
Lunch is eaten early, about 11.30am, at the college staff canteen, where I have been provided with a “smart card”. There are usually about 10 or so dishes from which to choose and, of course, the ubiquitous boiled rice. Pointing, gesticulating and nodding or shaking the head vigorously seem to communicate what I want pretty effectively, at least until my Putonghua (Standard Chinese-Mandarin in the West) improves! Value of the meal is then deducted from my card. I am still very much a novelty, and am amused by the amount of interest there is in my skill with chopsticks! (Everyone is impressed!)
Even though I can eat in the staff canteen, I usually cook for myself in the evenings and at weekends - usually a stir-fry of some sort. Fresh food is freely available at nearby local fruit and vegetable stalls
Louise and Snoopy's Baozi Breakfast
Two of my charming second year English major students Wang Yue (Louise) and Sun Leilei (Snoopy) insist that "baozis" (steamed buns filled with pork) are the best way to start the day!
or at a variety of well stocked supermarkets. If I’m feeling lazy, I buy some hot/cold snacks from the mobile food vendors plying their trade in the streets surrounding the college campus. That is if I haven’t been invited as guest of honour to yet another fabulous banquet! (I will dedicate a whole blog to this wonderful experience)
I am not starving by any means!
I’ll let the pictures tell the story!
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