I’ve pretty much recovered from the incident on Friday 😀
Unfortunately its not so uncommon, apparently groups of thieves operate (especially in the summer) and bag snatchings/pickpockets taking phones are most common.
I count myself lucky that I got my camera back and apart from a horrible feeling in shock, I escaped unscathed.
It is nowhere near as big a problem as cities in the south of China (where women wont take bags with them at night), I would still say that Changchun is a pretty safe city and that I was just unlucky, indeed I feel much safer here than I would in a UK city of similar size (i.e. london).
I guess the big difference is that if something happens to you the chances of the police catching the perpetrators and you getting justice are very slim/impossible, whereas in the UK there is actually a reasonable chance of catching the offender.
I almost always eat out as it fits in best with my work but also because I can’t be bothered to try and cook something myself as I don’t have time and the economics of it make it not worth my while. It’s dirt cheap to eat out, I generally spend less than 10 yuan a day.
I thought to myself a while back, when I’m in the UK I won’t be able to get this kind of food anymore. Especially the dongbei (north eastern) cusine and as that’s one of my favourites it would be such a shame to not be able to eat it。 It’s a pitty that in China dongbei food is often forgotten about – people talk about Cantonese food, Sichuan food, Shanghai food, Hunan food but seldom the food from Manchuria.
My initial way to choose different types of food was to pick out random dishes from the menu, It was always fun wondering what was going to be ordered, and If anything, it gives you the chance to try some rather interesting stuff. I’ll try pretty much anything once, however, I’ve learnt that it’s often best not to ask where something is from if it tastes good – being told you’re eating pigs intestins is an instant turn off 😕
The reason I write about this now is that I can see a serious problem developing, that is I don’t really like the food back home anymore. There are exceptions, I’m looking forward to a sunday dinner; but my tastes have changed in that I find myself saying things that Chinese people would say about western food – ‘it has no flavour’ ‘it’s too heavy’ ‘it’s bland’.
I also eat less food, a UK portion is now too much for me to eat….
So over the last week I’ve been trying to learn a few dishes, so that when I go back I can at least make some Chinese food that I’ll like, as Chinese food from UK takeaways doesn’t taste good to me.
It’s English-Chinese food just as the western food here is Chinese-western.
Luckily, I have a decent sized kitchen that I should make the best of, I also have all the utilsils and equipment, and now, I actually have the time.
Actually it’s not so difficult to learn, I am no chef, but It’s only taken me a few times to get it right. When I first got to China a friend taught me how to cook two basic Chinese dishes- Eggs with tomatoes and eggs and rice.
For me, I have about 10-15 favourite dishes of which realistically, I could learn 5 to cook, given the timeframe and my lack of culinary knowledge! 😉 I’m also thinking in terms of the of the ingredients that are available in the UK (Unfortunately dog meat is off the menu!), my suitcase will no doubt will be full of various sauces, spices and other cooking stuff! haha.
Most of the foods don’t really translate into english well (as many restaurant menus testify!) so I use the Chinese name and an English description.
disanxian 地三鲜 potatoes, aubergine, and peppers
tudousi 土豆丝 potatoes sliced thin
shuijuniurou 水煮牛肉 bolied beef with cabbage and lots of spices
jiangtang 酱汤 – tofu based soup with bean sprouts, kind of smelly – one of my favourites. 🙂
tiebandoufu, 铁板豆腐 – Tofu with peppers
tudoushaoniurou,土豆烧牛肉 -Beef and pototoes
baozi 包子 – Steamed roll with meat/cabbage inside
tudoujiang 土豆酱 – Mashed potato with sauce
bing 饼 -pancakes
malatang 麻辣烫 – Hot hot hot!
dafengshou 大丰收 – ‘gan’ Tofu rolled up with Chinese onion and egg/meat based sauce. 做那个真是小菜一碟！
jioazi 饺子 Dumplings, boiled, steamed of fried.
zhajiangmian 炸酱面 – noodles with silced cucumber and egg based sauce.
suantianrouduan 酸甜肉段 Sweet and sour.
And two foreigners’ favourites; gongbaojiding 宫保鸡丁and guobaorou 锅包肉– About a year ago, I spent some time trying to perfect gongbaojiding -the problem with this dish is its really time consuming as it requires much preparation and everything being diced up. But I now know how to make this and It’s something I can use in the future.
I would like to know how to make guobaorou but I think It would be too difficult for me to do! 😕 Anyone know how??:?:
At present I’m going through a Jiangqiezi 酱茄子 (sliced aubergine with beef) craze, kind of addicted to this at the moment. 🙂
Even better it’s dead easy to make, the hardest part is knowing the sauces to use to get the right flavours. I asked the chef at the local restaurant that I reguarly frequent if he could tell me what he uses – and that I wasn’t going to steal his recipe! – It’s really easy when you know how, you can get everything you need from the supermarket and it costs next to nothing.
I’m sure there will be many types of food that I shall miss – hotpot 火锅, 咸菜 Specifically Korean, 新疆 Xinjiang, 回 Hui, 肉串 Kebabs, 铁板 (cooked in front of you on a hot steel table), 骨头 Meat on Bones (bad translation I know) , 北京烤鸭 Beijing Duck(different here from beijing, not as crispy, cooked differently -better in my opinion) 混沌 Dumpling things in soup, 羊腿 Mongolian style lamb’s leg and 米线 Yunnan noodles , in to name but a few…
However, I certainly wont be missing 美国加州牛肉面大王 or 臭豆腐!! 😀