Part 1: Food in China

Enough talk of sightseeing, let’s talk about food. One of the things that I was really excited about was eating food in China. I’ll first talk about snacks/desserts. In my case, I’m going to talk about dumplings and red bean paste. I generally like meats and stuff encased in dough like things. Empanadas and pasties are also my favorite foods.  Shanghai allegedly is known for its soup dumplings. For those of you who haven’t had them, they are dumplings with soup inside the dough. Not dumpling soup. A friend explained that the soup part is actually liquid fat. I have to be careful because they are really rich. But boy they were tasty. We had small ones at a local chain in a shopping mall on Nanjing Road. Later, I had a giant one that was served with a straw. Very wondrous.

We had other dumplings throughout the trip. Surprisingly, the dumplings at both the Hong Kong and Shanghai airports were really good for airport food. I was rather impressed. We also had wonderful gelatinous covered pork dumplings in Shanghai. I’ve never had anything like them before but they were really good. One of our hotels had a breakfast buffet with a “dim sum” section. That was basically breakfast for me during most of the trip. There were the usual favorites, shrimp, pork and shrimp, bean paste buns, mushroom buns. There was also a little squash one. I’m not sure what it was but it was sweet.

Dumplings in Shanghai, China
Dumplings in Shanghai, China

One of my favorite foods in the world is red bean paste. In my experience, I find it in things, like buns and pounded rice. I absolutely adore it. One of my favorite things about going to Chinatown in Chicago is going to a bakery and picking up some pastries filled with bean paste. I’ve tried lotus paste and mung paste but it’s not the same. So I was really excited to be going to the land of bean paste. I stopped by a few bakeries to get bean paste pastries. So good. I went to a convenience store and got little dough balls with red bean paste. Mmm…It was all really tasty.

In addition to dumplings and red bean, I had some street food. My definition of street food is a bit flexible; it means food not bought at a restaurant or café. So I went to hole in the wall stores, stores with booths catering to passersby and street markets. This was something I really wanted to try. Sadly, there was not as much street food as I would have hoped. But I did have some tasty egg tarts in both Shanghai and Hong Kong. They were mildly sweet and filling. I also tried a banana at the Hong Kong street market. I was curious about trying a banana different from the ones we get in the states. So I found a banana that looked like a different variety and tried it. It was smaller and squarish. I’m not sure if it was supposed to be eaten raw but I didn’t have a lot of options. Much subtler than our normal bananas in the states. In Hong Kong, we also bought a variety of rolls made from nuts, pounded rice, and black sesame paste. They were incredible. The right texture and sweetness…soo good. I want more now.

The only thing that threw me for a loop was a pastry with dried pork on it. I had it at the Shanghai museum. It was okay until I found crème in the middle. I wasn’t really sure what was going on there. But if that’s the worst thing I can say about food on a trip to a new land, well, I’m pretty lucky.

That’s all for now.


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