Fooding In Beijing
So you and I have been relieving the Beijing experience for a little while now. Though my stay is gradually coming to an end, there are still so many topics of discussion and stories to be shared. Moreso, I think perhaps some of my stories might help someone who has plans of going there sometime. Hence, I am thinking, shall I open a new page on this blog, tagged “The 3-month Bejinger’s Journal”? or something like that….share your thoughts….let me know what you think.
Anyway, if you missed the previous story, check here.
Any oldie on this blog knows how much I love good food, even if I don’t know how it is made. As a result of this, my nutrition as well as diet was one of my major concerns when I had to come to Beijing. Now, I realise that it was such an unfounded concern! It is not even worth wasting your grey cells on!
The most popular eating custom is the family style restaurant. In most restaurants, there are tables for groups of 2 to groups of even 12! The restaurants in Beijing put a different association to “restaurants” because you don’t have to dabble into money rituals or break and arm and leg to afford the food. However, they also bring to understanding the old proverb that iterates that one can’t eat with his enemy. This is why:
PS: Dont forget that you can just click on the image to enlarge it
This table sits about 8 people. The round glass is where the dishes are placed and it is rotatable. Each dish serves about 2-10 people, depending on the size of the dish and most groups order at least two dishes. As a result of this, it doesn’t make much sense to eat in a restaurant alone.
|Now that's what I call "fooding"!|
So imagine having to eat with an enemy, he will definitely make sure to order every dish you don’t like, leaving you hungry, angry and frustrated. Usually, after all the food is consumed, the total bill is just split among the table occupants….again, remember not to eat with an enemy because either or not you eat the dish, you might have to pay!
Don’t fret though! Fortunately, if you are like me, who likes her food spicy, doesn’t like mushroom or doesn’t generally want to always deal with compromising on food matters just because you are ordering a group meal, there are other options. For instance, the Japanese restaurants have set individual meals that are finger licking. The set meal (in this particular instance) featured salad, egg custard, fruits, an appetizer/side/dessert/i-don’t-know-the-classification (potato salad), miso soup, your main dish and a bowl of rice as an accompaniment. In other words, you order what you want and so do(es) your partner(s). You don’t believe the finger licking part? Check out what my roommate reduced the plate of curry seafood and rice to.
while I had this
|Ginger/garlic beef and rice|
You don’t expect me to put my after picture, or do you? Plus, arent you just loving the food presentation? Even the presentations are enough food for me.:D. Here are another Japanese-style-meal:
|Seafood rings and salad|
Also, there are some other chinese-type dishes that are individualistic. For example:
Now, one day I went in search of food and I stumbled on this place. After I got my food, here is what I found:
You don’t see it, or do you? Those small roundish things you see on the sides are LOCUST BEANS, aka, IRU for my Nigerian people. I was a little bit shocked to see it in a Chinese meal. It just occurred to me at that point that food cultures across the globe are dissimilar yet similar. Encountering those locust beans in my food gave me enough confidence to chow down like no tomorrow! Odiro easy at all!
Somewhere very close to my office, during lunch time (around 12pm), this is not an uncommon sight.
|Forget about the picture quality, it is a story for another day.|
From the carts, full meals are made from scratch. I am talking some real chinese noodle/rice ish here! However, you should see the cart owner scuttling/cycling away as soon as they catch sights of the police.
By the way, I had this flavor of fanta which I had never seen before. It was peach-flavored and very yummy.
|I know it looks like water, but if water tasted this good, I'd feed on water all life long!|
So as per Nigerians being who we were, we nor dey carry last. If you bet that somewhere in this ancient city of Beijing, there exists an African/Nigerian restaurant, congratulations, you just won. My friends swear by their plate of Jollof Rice and Eba with Egusi. And you know how one has to be sure that people are being honest, so, sometime this weekend even though I am a busy woman, I will try to go and ascertain their claims about this restaurant.
Who am I kidding?!!! I can’t wait to do some justice to a plate of Iyan and Efo Riro!
Di diam kpo, my people!