Three Things No One Tells You About Authentic Chinese Food
1. Don’t Trust The Chicken
I will be the first to admit I am a picky chicken eater. My motto is, “say no to the bone!” And when in my comfort zone I will only eat chicken tenders or breast. Yes, I know I am pathetic but eating around the bone makes me feel like a caveman and I am just not a fan.
Sadly enough, this rule is far from gone while living in China. Upon first arrival, chicken was going to be my “go-to” meal, as it always has been. Every restaurant we arrive at I pull out my translator and scan the menu for chicken and rice.
It is quickly, and I mean quuuickly, coming to my attention that this should NOT be my “go-to” method of ordering. In China chicken breast and tenders are basically non-existent. I have come to realize that this country DOES NOT waste any part of the animal…. And I mean any part.
In our latest ordering adventure not only did the meal have chunks of bones in the bowl, this time they were accompanied by a head, two feet, and pretty sure every other part of the chicken that I cannot even imagine.
Before I left for China I joked about becoming vegetarian, but looks like this joke may actually come true.
2. There is no General Tso Chicken
In America, General Tso is the number one choice of our Chinese take out food dishes. So imagine our disappointment when we arrived to our first restaurant and did not find General Tso, Sweet and Sour Chicken or even Shrimp LoMein on the menu.
The food in China is much more simple and healthy than Chinese food in America (go figure!). Surprisingly, I actually like the composition of authentic Chinese better than the heavy American Chinese style. Every time we get take out in America I am left feeling heavy and ugh, but the authentic Chinese leaves me feeling satisfyingly full.
Authentic Chinese is more naturally sweet, spicy and flavorful than I ever thought possible! Even simple dishes of Shrimp Wonton noodles and veggies have such a depth of flavor that I never expected.
I mean the broth itself tastes like pure heaven, you could put some shoe leather in there and it would still be delicious! But in all honesty, I am not sure how they make the broth with such intense flavors and for once, I am okay with not knowing!
Even with our short two weeks of being here, we are starting to get acquainted with the intense flavors and are attempting to start replicating them in our own cooking!
3. Going out to eat is incredibly cheap
Terrell and I have finally worked up the courage (okay, mostly myself working up the courage) to start venturing out into the street vendors of China and what we have found will blow your mind!
The street vendors and small shops in China offer large portion, delicious meals for very (VERY) low prices!! In America, a typical night out for us will cost around $30 USD… roughly translating into 180 RMB. Lately, our nightly meals from small shops and street vendors have cost us around 20-40 RMB… TOTAL!!! That translates into $3-$6 USD! Yes, we had an entire meal one night for $3 USD. That’s two large dishes for only $3! My mind was completely blown!
I am very appreciative of these prices because it truly allows us the ability to adventure out and try the authentic Chinese food that we are constantly surrounded by. As any long-term travelers, we must be conscious of the amount of money we are spending on our day-to-day basis. But with these prices, we could honestly go out to eat 5 or 6 nights a week and it would still cost the same as our one date night in America!
Don’t tell Terrell (he will just get a big head), but these street vendors area blessing in disguise!
Have you tried the real-deal Chinese food? What are your thoughts on the food?