Food Field Note

Food, food, glorious food!

Food is very different here from the United States.  You can order chicken feet in restaurants here , as well as pick out the live fish you want to eat  from tanks in the front of the restaurants.  I hear some places in China even serve rat on a stick!  I think that sounds really gross!  But I would still try it!  It’s a new country and a new experience, and I don’t think I should pass anything up!

What food did I try?: 

Before coming to China, the only thing I was nervous about eating was carp.  Carp is a type of fish.  In Utah, where I’m from, carp are a big problem and are considered “trash fish.”  They call them that because they aren’t considered edible, and they stir up the mud on the bottom of lakes, streams and rivers, making life really hard for other marine animals that need clean water to live.

Rachael mentioned that any fish is really a product of its environment, and that carp in China might not be bad if it came from clean water.  Well, Rachael was right!  The water in which carp live here isn’t really bad, and the carp even look cleaner!  The first time I ate carp here, it was actually really good!  I wonder if there is any food you  eat that is unique in mei guo. Do you remember what mei guo means from my last article? It means “beautiful country”.  Are there any foods you’ve heard of people in China eating that you think I should try?

Rachael wants to help our Chinese mama cook so that we learn how to cook all the delicious foods we eat.  Mama won’t let Rachael help though, because she says it is bad for bao bao, the Chinese word for baby.  We are expecting our first child while living here in China.  We are going to name her “Wicker” for her first name, and we want her middle name to be a Chinese name.  Right now we think it might be dan, which is the name for the lotus flower and is pronounced “dawn”.  So for now, Rachael isn’t allowed to help, and mama has only let me look over her shoulder a few times.  The Chinese are very guest-oriented, and it is a source of pride to take care of friends.  I think it is because of this that mama doesn’t want me to help cook.  She even yells at us every time we clean up our own plates after a meal!  We do it anyway though.  Mama says in Chinese “don’t do, don’t do!” and I say back to her in Chinese  “you say don’t do, but I do!”  That makes her laugh!

 How did I feel when I tried it?: 

 Something Rachael and I have really liked is that Chinese food makes us feel much better than American food! We think it’s because the food really isn’t meant to be stored here, so it doesn’t really have preservatives. Everything is pretty much made to be eaten right away.  Our whole digestive system feels better eating Chinese food than American food.  Chinese food here really isn’t deep fried either, so the food is not breaded.  We think that makes us feel better as well.

When we go to Chinese friend’s houses, we have learned how to say that we don’t want our food really spicy!  We had to learn how to say that after the time we ate out and ordered a whole plate of spicy hot peppers!  We thought they were green beans in the picture, but they were hot peppers!  Rachael and I both ate some of them, but they made our mouths burn!  That same day, we also ordered a big plate of liver, thinking it was beef strips!  That was an interesting lunch!

 How is the food prepared?: 

Most of the food here is also sauteed in a wok.  Mama’s wok looks like a big metal bowl.  The stoves are all made for heating the woks perfectly, so they have a big space where the wok fits right in!  Mama heats up a little bit of oil, then adds in the food and tosses everything around while cooking it.  She seasons the food, and serves everything with rice!  We have rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner!  If we don’t have rice at a meal, then I don’t feel normal!

Is this food connected to the local environment? How?: 

A lot of the food we eat all comes from around here.  There aren’t big farms in the cities, but you can buy live chickens and fish in the market, and eggs come in big bags!  Beef and lamb are really popular here as well, but people don’t keep those in the cities, so you can’t buy those live at the market.

Plate of Peppers!

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