I miss the real thing
I’ve almost been away from China for 2 weeks now! Two weeks! Mad how time flies! While last week was kind of fantastic –beginning to end, this week has been the total opposite. Sore throat and fever = no running in the forest. Not being able to exercise always puts me down. Work has been OK although since I haven’t felt like top notch I guess my mood has been suffering a bit too. Anyways.
One great thing about being here is the food! I’ve been eating salmon and avocado almost every single day since I got here. Can’t get enough of it and it doesn’t bore me at all… it’s just sooooooo good. During my first week here I even lost 1,5 kg! Yiii-ha. Although then came the wknd (booze and hangover burgers) and the 1,5 kg re-joined my body. Oh well.
On Monday, however, I felt a new kind of urge in my body…. A kind of craving… that wanted something that I didn’t think I was going to miss that soon. Yup. Of course I needed some Chinese food!
There are numerous ‘Chinese restaurants’ over here (everything from ‘Golden Dragon’ to ‘Sunny China’) but only one ‘real’ one: Shanghai Ren Jia. (translates to: ‘Shanghainese home’). I remember when this restaurant opened and some narrow-minded journalist went there to eat and do a review. He ended up writing something like: “Not bad but not real Chinese food. I mean, there weren’t even any fried bananas!”
I so wish I could have met him on the street so that I could have asked: “where in China do you eat fried bananas?” And then we could start talking about what’s ‘real’ Chinese food!
Anyways, to cater for a population that prefers fried bananas to mapu tofu this place has abandoned their ‘authentic’ cooking and turned to the deep fryer, as well as the sweet and sour sauce. However, there’s still a list of Chinese dishes (at the very back of the menu) written in Chinese characters that you can order if you’re keen on something real. Obviously, me and my friend (who’s also lived in China for several years) opted for that one and ended up with: tomato-egg stir fry, gong bao ji ding (chicken with peanuts), a tofu dish and then we managed to get the owners to make us dumplings, just because we spoke Chinese to them. The place is run by a lovely, Shanghainese family.
Strange still, because nothing tastes even a little bit similar to how it tastes in China. And the bill? 30 euros. That’s around 300 rmb. For four small dishes (+ rice) And still we ended up getting a big discount because my friend is a regular as well as a friend of the family. I completely understand that they need to charge according to what other restaurants here charge, and if you compare it to a dinner at any other restaurant in town it is actually very cheep. But still. I guess eating Chinese food should take place in China only.