Eating on the Cheap

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October 31st 2010
Published: October 31st 2010
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living the good life
200 dollars a month, less than 7 dollars a day, for food. This is how much Pacific Lutheran University supplies us with. As the RMB rises in value, this amounts to less and less. However, my friends and I have made a game out of making money off of our food stipends.

So, we treat ourselves to one expensive meal a week, usually Western food. We have done Subway, Peter's Tex Mex, Pizza Hut... None of it seems very glamorous by American standards, but it seems like a treat to have cheese, and greasy fries, burgers, cookies... that sort of thing.

The rest of the week, we spend very little. I have a meal card now, so I can eat in the dining hall. They have all kinds of food: noodles and rice, eggs, veggies, meats, and baozi. Some of it isn't very good. But some of it is delicious. The noodles that taste like American Chinese lomein, for instance. And the fried eggs for less than a yuan each.

Noodle bowls are always a good choice.

We each received a 200 yuan gift card to Anderson's bakery, which is good for breakfast items.

When we
The ground porkThe ground porkThe ground pork

for our spaghetti sauce.
go to Chunxi Lu, sometimes we have donuts for lunch or dinner. Not the healthiest, but they have some interesting flavors. I haven't tried spicy dried pork yet, but I did enjoy the green tea cream one.

It is easy to find small restaurants with simple dishes like egg and tomato, mapo doufu, fried rice, etc. If we split three or four dishes the cost is usually between 10 and 20 yuan, and it generally comes with tea and/or white rice.

We have even managed to cook up quite a few good meals in the "kitchen," which consists of free standing gas burners and a few woks, pots, and a spatula. We've done a lot of scrambled eggs. Our tomato and egg didn't turn out so well, but we don't use MSG, so that is probably why. We made a veggie stir fry with lotus root, broccoli, and carrots, and mixed leftover noodles from the dining hall in with it. Our fried rice was really good. And so was the spaghetti with homemade sauce. Next I want to try something with tofu skin, and some of the Sichuan spices. We haven't used them all that much yet.

And the money saved funds taxis, shopping excursions, and trips to the tailor. So worth it.

Additional photos below
Photos: 20, Displayed: 20


fried egg and tomato on the rightfried egg and tomato on the right
fried egg and tomato on the right

chaomian and veggie stir fry on the left

our first meal in the dining hall

(still a little red after Tibet)
Clare, Audrey, and ScottClare, Audrey, and Scott
Clare, Audrey, and Scott

making fried rice
fried ricefried rice
fried rice

would have been better if we remembered to crack one of the eggs in the rice
another shot of the dining hallanother shot of the dining hall
another shot of the dining hall

There are lots of pictures of really good food above the windows so we can be disappointed by what we get.
green tea and apple milkgreen tea and apple milk
green tea and apple milk

although I have moved onto instant milk tea recently

31st October 2010

Someone was telling me today about the spice of Chengdu. They said it's a really "hot" spice made from red flowers? Do you know what it is? Could you get some and bring it back with you?
1st November 2010

I don't know exactly which one that is, but I could try to find it.
2nd November 2010

The most important Ingredients in SiChuan cuisine is 花椒 (Sichuan pepper), you can't cook Sichuan food without it.
3rd November 2010

Thank you!
Now I know what to look for.

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