AnneMarie and Andrew

Annemarie and Andrew – Trekking Asia

Chinese Food

Chinese Food


Posted on Jul 9, 2014

Our first foray into China last November hadn’t been so successful from a food point of view. We’d struggled to find nice food or decent places to eat and almost everything we had eaten was very hot and spicy. Quite a few dishes were hot enough to make my eyes water! Most restaurants had looked out of our price range, were simply serving inedible stuff or had a Chinese only menu with no pictures. Once we had to run away from a restaurant because the dish we’d ordered was a huge pot of chicken stock and blood with bits of chicken floating in it! The food we had been ordering consisted of a meat dish with two side dishes of rice. The only meat we recognised on the menu was beef and almost always came with fresh chillies. That was our staple meal for our first visit. On the plus side, we didn’t eat anywhere western (such as McDonald’s) for the whole 17 days. Another bit of good news is that on our most recent visit we discovered why we’d had so much trouble finding somewhere to eat in Beijing. The area near Tianamen Square has very few food places (I think the authorities want tourists to get in, see it, then get out without lingering). We struggled to find anywhere to eat in this area recently (we stayed in a better area the second time and only once went near Tianamen) and with the benefit of hindsight I can see why; the hostel we’d stayed in was close to Tianamen and had been in a ‘dead area’ as far as food is concerned. I can also see how wrong our mindset was. China was our first proper destination on this trip and when we arrived we associated eating out with eating in a restaurant. In Asia eating out has so many more options than just a restaurant but we stuck with what we knew at first and missed out a bit. We approached China rather apprehensively the second time around. We’d really struggled with finding and ordering nice food and we were worried about this next visit which would be longer than the last one. We have taken lots of photos of the food we ordered to show people what we ate in China and to record for ourselves and look back on. I think that overall we ate pretty good. Over two visits, 20 days and 19 days, split by a 5 day stopover in Hong Kong, we only bought food twice which we didn’t like. Most food was pretty good and some of it tasted great,...

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Annoying Chinese Trains


Posted on May 31, 2014

I suppose it’s actually my fault we’re on this train and not a better one, but I feel better blaming the company than myself. So why is it annoying? Well, because China is so huge many of the trains are sleeper trains (certainly almost all trains we’re taking are sleeper trains) but each bed only gets one set of bedding (a pillow and a quilt). So if the train starts elsewhere and has already being on the go over night the odds are you’ll get someone else’s used bedding! Four days ago we went to the train station to book the tickets to Xi’an from Chengdu. We found that every train leaving in the evening (about 4) was fully booked. That’s usually 16-18 carriages holding 40+ people in each carriage! The next night was fully booked too. Damm, that’s a lot of people on the move! So we looked at the day trains (leave during the day and arrive very early in the morning). There were only two trains available. It turns out the train I booked started in Kunming yesterday, so our beds have screwed up used bedding. Eugh! Annoyingly, this is the only train which doesn’t start in Chengdu. Every other train I could have picked would have had clean bedding and be better. The train is packed. As was every other train leaving Chengdu. It’s hard to comprehend so many people on the move, everyday! On the plus side the train has trolleys going up and down selling everything you may need. Meals, snacks, drinks, fruit, portable batteries for phones, headphones, books, tourist maps, etc. But, it’s cramped and sweaty in here. Plus, everyone travels with MASSIVE bags! Suitcases the size of children are normal. It’s a race to get the bags on the luggage rack before someone with a crazy sized bag gets on. We are also are at the end of the carriage, handy for the toilet and it also gives us some extra space, but that too has a downside. I can see three no smoking signs around the guy in front of me who’s smoking. There’s also a sign saying don’t put cigarette waste in the bin. He’s sat on a tiny stool by the bin flicking his ash into the bin! The staff don’t care… The Chinese eating habits are quite disgusting to our ears. The breaking open of nut shells with their teeth is something I complained about last time we used the Chinese train network, well, here I am again complaining about the same thing. Where the hell do these nuts come from? I don’t see any in the...

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Chinese driving and walking


Posted on Nov 22, 2013

There is a strange contrast in China between people driving and people walking. When driving most Chinese drivers are lunatics. No regard to laws or safety. They will overtake on blind corners and brows of hills and overtake into oncoming traffic. They just pull out in front of other vehicles and just drive onto roundabouts expecting any vehicle already on the roundabout to give way. In cities they swerve across lanes and cut each other up. Basically, they will do anything possible to get ahead of each other and get to their destination ASAP. But when walking they are the exact opposite. They take tiny steps, very slowly, resulting in a pace a snail could probably match. They stop frequently and the rest of the crowd just seems to accept this also also stop, or go around VERY slowly. I have no idea why the behavior between driving and waking is so different. Maybe everyone gained enough time from driving like a psycho so that they can walk slowly… Posted from Lijiang, Yunnan,...

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