Beijing. A foodies delight!

When I say “China”, what do you think of? One of the first things that comes to most peoples’ minds is food. Chinese food seems to be a staple of American culture now. So, one of the things I was most looking forward to about coming to China was the food. Some people from my hometown, not a place known for being particularly adventurous , tried to warn me about the food in Beijing. “You won’t find anything you like!” “Everything is so gross!” “I hear they eat dog!”

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Pigeon

Well, after 7.5 weeks in Beijing, I can attest that the food is indeed different. However, I think that it would be naive to think that you can only find chinese food in China. Though I have seen some things that make even my skin tingle.

So far my list of notable food includes:

Fried Cow Tongue (Charme at Joy City)

Boiled Congealed Duck Blood Squares, only ordered after we were informed that the chicken gizzard was out (Qianmen)

Barbecued Squid on-a-stick (Wangfujing)

Peiking Duck (Lots of places)

Roast Lamb Leg (Mongolian Grasslands)

Sea Cucumber (Campus)

Best Belgian waffle of my life (Zoo Coffee)

Great Pizza

Great Burgers

So many great mushrooms

 

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Wangfujing eat-street. From left to right
Top: Gecko, termite, centipede, starfish
Middle: Snake, tarantula, scorpion
Bottom: Starfish, scorpio

However, I have seen live and cooked scorpion on-a-stick, snake cakes (coiled and cooked snake), whole cooked pigeon, fried tarantula, centipede and more. So I know it exists, but it isn’t the norm. Everything that I ate, even the western food, had a chinese spin on it. The burgers had cucumbers, the pizza was a little different, but everything was great. I came in saying I wouldn’t eat western food the entire time I was here. I wanted to really immerse myself. Though I admit that I write this as I sit in the coffee shop eating one of the above mentioned Belgian waffles. I made it till week 5 before I caved. I also told myself I would try anything that was put before me. When I could, I deferred to locals to order their favorites, and just generally made myself open to new experiences. I feel it would have been a shame to come all this way and not come back with some great stories, and a new appreciation for the Caf.

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The best meals are the ones shared with friends

Though I have spent this summer broadening my horizons, and I have tried to not make lists of what I miss, I must say that I am looking forward to simply knowing what I am eating. It can be rather alarming when your Chinese friend doesn’t know what you are eating as well. But, as I countdown the hours till I board my flight. I realize just how much I will miss Beijing, where there is a new experience around every corner, and every meal holds new tastes to be discovered and new animal parts to be tried. I return to the comfort of my hometown, but also the realization that adventure has to be sought out, it doesn’t find you. Though I can honestly say that I didn’t like everything I tried, I tried it anyway. I took a step outside my comfort zone with every bite, and I am better for it.

Should anyone be mildly interested in what else we did while in China. I kept a personal blog while I was in China. Surviving Beijing. I hope you enjoyed following our adventures even a half as much as we enjoyed doing them.