I can’t think of anywhere I’ve been to (to date) that adopts the ‘waste not want not’ ethos more literally than China… queue Piggy’s.
So context…it had been a longgg day of site seeing in Shanghai and we needed something substantial to eat following reaching great heights in one of the worlds tallest buildings ‘Shanghai tower’- disclaimer- I hate heights and the whole thing had me weak at the knees.
So we hit up the mall- the safest bet we’ve found for decent food, and menus with pictures (essential to overcome the language barriers). And along came Piggy’s! We wanted something safe and hearty before our next adventure to ‘Hangzhou’ the next morning, and Piggy’s, a Korean BBQ style restaurant, seemed like a safe bet. Pig figurines throughout, a multi-coloured industrial look inside, photo opportunities out, and all staff with little piggy hats, what else could you wish for?! We were asked if we wanted pork or beef (thankfully our server had some English- onto a winner, right?), but we were in piggy’s so Pork prevailed! All seemed fairly safe to begin with, just a pork omelette, some tasty bacon type rashers, all familiar stuff.
Next up there was some form of battered bite, we were quite at our leisure and on familiar turf- or so we thought! To our surprise when we bit into these ‘imposter’ breaded pork bites, it wasn’t meat that met us but some form of crunchy cartilage! Unfortunately we ate them at the same time so there was no pre-warning! Yup it was definitely an ear or a tail… gritty stuff, and not something I would repeat!
So for any Western traveller who fancies Piggy’s just a head up- bite with caution and expect the unexpected!
Muslim Quarter- Beiyuanmen Muslim Night Market was one of my favourite local snack streets throughout my travels! Not for the faint hearted and definitely difficult to stomach for vegetarians but it trumps my food fanatics night market musts- food for thought…
Freshly made noodles (Xian is known for it’s cold noodles) and countless sweets
‘Roujiamo’ marinated beef or lamb stuffed inside a freshly baked bun. (AMAZING! We followed the crowds and it lead us here…definitely worth the wait!)
Freshly made Xi’an Dumplings
Rice Cake (sweet but savory… hard to get your taste buds around)
Meat on a stick- Soooo it didn’t look the most appetizing or the cleanliest eat ever, but there’s no guarentee with that anywhere in China… These were definitely worth the risk of the dreaded TD!!
Be sure to check it out during your trip to see the terracotta warriors! Definitely worth a walk along Xi’an’s city wall (especially in the evening) when it’s lit up like Christmas, you could even take a bike ride along it…
Heat wok and add oil. Stir fry pork and garlic until pork turns white and feels firm. Add soya sauce. Remove pork from wok and set aside. Stir fry vegetables. Return pork to wok, add water and oyster sauce. Reduce sauce. Serve. ENJOY!
The highlight of any trip for me is the different culinary delights you sample on your journey- China was no exception. BEWARE though excessive oil, MSG and the mystery meat may have a knock on effect, bubble bubble toil and trouble, queue the Chinese tummy churning. Also disclosure it is nearly impossible to be vegetarian in China from my experience and from tales of fellow travelers- luckily enough this is not a worry I have to contend with.
Eggplant (Aubergine) was a definite highlight for me, served with salty tempura batter or deep fried with pork i’m sold! For me learning how to make the food your eating when away is essential to keep the holiday memories and mood after returning to the daily grind. So we made sure to do a Chinese cooking course, and where better than in Yangshuo surrounded by beautiful mountains off the beaten track. Continue reading “Cooking in China”→