Life in China:A Picture A Day,March 25, 2016

Today we had a couple of friends from Shenzhen come to visit us :-) We tried a Chinese northern cuisine restaurant here in Songshan Lake that we hadn’t been to yet. This restaurant has only Chinese on the menu and it is SOOO much easier going for the first time with Chinese friends! The main dish we had was called Sōngshǔ yú 松鼠鱼 or Squirrel Fish. It has nothing to do with an actual squirrel though! And it isn’t the fish actually named “squirrel fish” either! It can be a number of different kinds of fish. There is a story that goes along with the name: In the 1700’s, there was a law against eating carp, but, an emperor wanted some and told his cook to prepare it or he would die! So, supposedly the creative chef made “squirrel fish.” It is supposed to look like a flying squirrel, or literally a “pine rat.” It is also called “sweet and sour Mandarin fish.” The bones are removed (for the most part) and the fish is cut in a cross-hatched pattern, coated with cornstarch, fried, then a very “ketchuppy” sweet and sour sauce is added. I’m curious…has anyone seen this dish in a Chinese restaurant outside of China?

Life in China: A Picture A Day, March, 2016

My daughter and I had dinner with some friends tonight. They took us to a restaurant with Jiangxi cuisine. We had a good, normal dinner; pumpkin and mushroom soup, beef with green onion and celery, mixed cured pork, and cauliflower. But…the table next to us had the dancing chicken! Basically a roasted chicken, but stuck up on a pole! It looked like the head was still on (as is normal in China), but at least no feet!

Life in China: A Picture A Day, February 17, 2016

In China, it’s fairly common in casual restaurants to have to pay for your napkins. They usually come in a little box or plastic package of about 6 napkins and cost 1 or 2 rmb/15 to 30 cents usd. Yesterday, the restaurant we went to advertised free snacks and fruit, free water or tea, and free WIFI, then when we got the bill, we were charged for our dishes! 2 rmb per setting! This was a new one for me, but I don’t even attempt to question it! Also, the “3 free of charge (charoe as they wrote)” were the only English words on the menu other than the name of the restaurant, “WIFI’, and another section that said “2 commitments.” See more about Chinese menus in my blog post today.