china food odds and ends
What can I say? Eating in China is a total crap shoot, particularly when you local guide won't even help you out with alternative suggestions. I think it's because they work for companies and don't want folks to get sick or something and then complain to their bosses. At least that's what I'm hoping their rationale was, who knows. Regardless, when we had a chance we did try to break away to not always the best, and I only got sick once! Fortunately, after a little expulsion and a nights sleep I was good to go. TMI?
As I finish up with our China journey, I wanted to throw in some one-offs, both good and bad, we came across.
Yep, that is what they were calling this. I was expecting some kind of beef, possibly in a different shape than a traditional burger. Turned out to be shredded pork on an English muffin of all things. Once I heard that, I was kind of exacted to try it. You know, pork and all. I will say the meat was cooked well, tender and juicy. For me, the fall down was the seasoning, it came across as bitter and I know exactly what it was--anise. I just never developed a taste for it and it runs strong and hearty through the meat. Plus, I think they threw in a little bit of that fish oil which just makes a total no go. But if you are a fan of those flavors, then it's a nice little bite of food for about $1.
When they brought this to the table we all kind of looked at it like, what? I decided to be the first to try it. The buns are plain old steamed buns made of rice flour. Basically the outer dough of a steamed pork bun, just without the pork inside and shaped into a dinner roll. We got them hot and I kind of liked the bun by itself. Probably would have liked it a lot more had there been butter. But you try to ask someone who doesn't speak any English for butter and see how far you get. The dipping sauce we weren't totally sure about, but we think it was some kind of condensed milk. It actually tasted like heavy cream mixed with honey. It was so sweet I thought my teeth would fall out. This wasn't served as a dessert either, it came with all the other dishes. We also got this in two different cities, at least the second time we were prepared for it. I'd eat the bun again, the dip--no.
We saw this dish more than a few times. You'd think it being just pork and rice it would have a chance but for more than one of us it was a texture issue. The pork inside ranged somewhere between spongy and mushy, kind of like wet bread. It was a very odd mouth feel. You try everything once and then when you see it again and again and again, pass on it.
Here was a surprise, I kind of liked this when most others did not. It was a roll of mash sweet potato topped by some red bean paste then battered and deep fried. I didn't know what was inside when I bit into it, I think we thought it was some kind of vegetable tempura and I guess you can say it was to a point. I'm a big fan of red bean paste, but there was more sweet potato than bean here. I had several of these, which was good, as I vaguely remember the rest of stuff we got was less than appealing.
Two things I'd like and should be right up my alley. Shock of shocks though, I just didn't like it. The "bacon" was more like thin sliced ham and the saute caused it to have the texture of boiled meat. The onions were barely cooked and then it was all covered in some overly salty brown sauce. It all seemed as if someone said, "hey, we have a lot of onions and 'bacon' left over from the breakfast buffet, how 'bout we cook 'em together and see what happens." This was just salty, greasy, heartburn on a plate. It was also another dish we saw twice. If nothing else, the different restaurants are consistent.
That's it for now, I'll finish up our China (food) journey in a couple days and then get back to what's going on in SF. And you won't have to hear about China and their food anymore! (probably)