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China May 2016

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So I landed in Nanjing around 8 o clock at night, I drove a couple of hours to Zhangjiaghang and was in the Jinling Hotel by, 10 or 10:30.. After a long day of travel, i was not very hungry.. I sat on the hard bed, ate a couple of melatonin and had my last good sleep for about 10 days.


The following morning, brings us to the breakfast buffet. It's a pretty beautiful thing this morning buffet.. The one thing I love about CHinese breakfast is, soup and noodles are a major foundation block.. And it's even better when one can get noodles in their soup.


Front in center you have an "American" style salad bar.. Lots of creamy dressings and things that look like Russian Dressing.




Here is a station for cold plates:


Top left Celery, cold beef, string beans, smoked tofu, some greens with sesame oil and jelly fish





Another Station:


BBQ Pork in a pastry and fried dough:



Love these vegetables.. I put some chinese vinegar on the greens and I am in love. One is like a water spinach, the other is like a soy protein..



Love the description of the soy protein: "thing"




Almost every place has a soup station.. It is often hidden. For example in the first class lounges, you can get Ramen or some type of soup.. You just have to ask. Every breakfast buffet in China has a soup guy.. You just have to no where to look.. You can get vegetables thrown in, to the right is a fried fish in sauce and pork in some sour vegetable.. Both are nice editions.




More condiments for soup:


Here are the congee, millet and soft warm tofu holders:




Here are the condiments:


There is seaweed, soy, vinegar,dried baby shrimp, hot sauce, cilantro, some type of pickled turnip., scallion and a couple of other things:



I love, love the soft tufu..


I add dried shrimp, black vinegar, turnips and hot sauce.. I often add seaweed too..




Greens and a fried triangle, i think there was spinach in it. a slice of a porkchop and vegetables. This must have been a gym day




Rice, pickled green and pork



Another day:


Greens, kimchee, dumplings, smoked tofu, some soy beans..




and a soup:



Noodles, dried shrimp, vinegar, hot sauce, pickled turnips and dried seaweed..


Not too exciting but, it's pretty great for a free buffet in your hotel. .

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Well, it's that time of year again.. And I am off pretty soon.. I was there a couple of weeks ago so, I might as well talk about the highlights from that trip..   I was only there for three nights

Eh. It was ok. We got the private room behind the counter. Very exclusive. Miss K was impressed with that, she was impressed that Jennifer Lawrence had to sit among the pukes instead of at our ba


First day, we worked pretty hard so, no time for lunch.. We ordered dumplings to the showroom:


There were two types I believe and some hot sauce top left.. Snickers get taken home and given to Miss K and she splits them at her lunch table as they all talk about how cool the writing is.








That night, we went for the best Crawfish I have ever had.. It is crawfish season and this new restaurant has taken Zhangjiaghang by storm.. These are by far the best I have ever had.. Not to mention, the largest and tastiest. Just the best.


We arrived to a restaurant where most people look like they work for the Home Depot, you are also given plastic gloves which make things incredibly easy.


That's my crew..




Bowl of crawfish and than a bowl of broth in the middle.. I was confused at this point and completely forgot about the bowl as I was so blown away by the crawfish..




They start bringing little things to the table: If there is something better with beer than pig ears, I havent found it yet.




Cucumbers and tofu and just chunks of pickled garlic.. Though, it was pretty damn garlicky.. In fact, the whole thing was pretty damn garlicky.




I thought dinner was over but, then remember the pot.. Next comes fish for the hot pot.




Those little knots are actually tofu sheets tied up.. I have seen this before but, even in the US.. But, these became so soft and filled with the soup base.. I have never had them so soft, usually they are hard,,



Finally found a rice wine I like.., It is supposedly, one of the cheaper brands.. It doesn't have that floral smell that I hate and others look for. I think they realized there mistake after the fact.. Their friends may be in trouble now.


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Next day, we went for lunch at a "local" place.. I have been here before.. They place most of their food out on the counter and you get to point.. So, easy, an American could even do it.




Really nice, toasted wheat tea:




Started with these sweet steamed bread. Almost tasted like a pound cake:




Glutenous Rice steamed with tea leaves and stuffed with sweet and sticky pork belly.. If you like rice, you will like this.. I want to fly Alicia to China for this soul reason.




Some dried bamboo with pork: I try to eat as much bamboo as I can in China



Simple tofu:




My host was so shocked this is all I wanted.. "No fish, no noodle, can I just at least get a noodle for the table"





Of course we got a noodle for the table:



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Thank you for reading Susan..



So, this is a first or at least the first time I had seen an oven so prominently displayed..


Sorry for the shitty photo.. Peking Ducks roasting in a wood burning fire:






This restaurant is a chain I believe.. I will post the name at the bottom.. There is a trend now for just a jumble of regional CHinese Dishes.. Where as local food was local, now you see Sichuan, Hunan, Shanghai and some other regions all in one restaurant on one menu.. The term jack of all trades comes to mind but, some times it's not the case.


We started with sugared walnuts on a really garlicky salad.. Like just chunks of raw garlic on the salad.. it was delicious by the way.. And this was fish gelatin mixed with some soy served with soy beans. FANCY.




The Mohel from Macau performing the Beijing Bris. I have a video of this guy slicing away.. Amazing.




It was delicious:



Where this is usually one of my favorites, here it was just average: Tofu and crab roe



Where this is a dish particular to Hunan and Sichuan, here we find it in Jiangsu Provence. Our host is from Hunan and and highly approved of this.. Sour Beef with tons of pepper, there was slight orange flavor in addition to orange rinds shaved microplaned into the mix.. Also a lot of melange of really hot ass peppers..






This dish is specific to Hunan.. Mind you, I didn't see the menu and our host is from Hunan. So, maybe this is why she ordered more towards the Hunan Side, or maybe it was all.. This particularly was a dish that was used for Soldiers during the Mao days.. And the bread was actually little cups where you would fill the meat or vegetable into the cup.. But, the cups are replaced by little sandwiches..






Corn and pork soup: very fresh tasting




Mao's favorite pork with addition of the tofu knots.. They should have omitted the knots.




Literally the worst noodles I have had in China.. Dry and hard in a clam sauce.. I don't know what the hell they were thinking.



The name of the place:



Not pictured were a couple of greens a couple of fried egg rolls or dumplings. More or less, this place was pretty good.. I mean, exceptional for US but, good for China.. I have had better, I have had worse.. The place was huge, impressive.. It was a popular place, my hosts knew several people that came to the table and we did shots with..

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Compared to the tofu knots in the Hot Pot or in general, they were a little too hard for my liking. I don't know, I am not bugged out by the fat. When Karas was young, she use to say "the fat is making me dizzy" in like an ecstatic sort of way.. Now, she leaves out the fat.. My father inlaw and her sister will eat all the fat on their plate.. I am sort of in the middle.. I will eat it, not necessarily seek it out and may leave some on my plate..

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The Mohel from Macau performing the Beijing Bris.

Priceless! :gold:



Things I think in my head but, have to wait until I get home for it to be understood.

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So the next day was more breakfast, more work, then half way through, we were off to Yangzhou.. About a 2 hour ride.. Prior to leaving, we stopped by my customer's husband's brother's inlaw's house.. They are known to be amazing cooks.. They live in large house. There dining room and kitchen appear to be what would be the garage. It opens up like a garage and they leave the door opened.. I believe their sleeping quarters are on the next few floors..


We met maybe another 10 people.. This was Sunday so they were having their traditional Sunday get together..




Crawish, egg dumplings, fish, pork filled bean curd balls, more braised pork belly, roast duck and some greens will eventually make their way out.. Also, this fermented rice drink that has alcohol but, is good for children.. Almost tasted like Pulque. This also had glutenous balls filled with sesame paste in them.




Delicious egg crepes filled with salted pork.. The lady eventually took me in the kitchen and showed me how to make these.




She purchases these skins and makes a little hole and stuffs with pork and serves with a brown gravy.. FREAKING AWESOME







That kid is 13 and he is the towns Ping Pong champ.. His cousin said to me "he is the reason why i hate ping pong" He also was pretty damn good with a soccer ball. I think this was also the meal with the rice stalk roots.. I don't have a photo of that.. I believe the green you see was some sort of cucumber salad but, maybe those were the stalks..







Kitchen shot:





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Thank you Susan!


So, that leads us to Yangzhou, a much easier to spell place.. While the people are not as fun and are not as in to food, they certainly try.. My customers in Zhangjiaghang are food people, are into trying new places and are driven by food.. He is the chief of police, which means that part of his job is being social.. They are both from Hunan and part of their identity and link to home is their food..


The customers in Yangzhou had much harder lives, own their own business and are more concerned with their business and child then they are with food or having fun. It's a shame as I see how serious they are and how stressed out they are. I certainly don't blame them, it's just when work is over, they aren't the best people to hang with. The woman is super tough.. Every time she walks into the room, she mutters something in Chinese and I see people around her react with shock or fear. I some times call her out and ask her what she says.. The last time I ask she said "I told them that we are falling asleep at the table and that they should hurry up" I so no lapse in service. But, she is constantly barking orders at everyone. This last trip, she got sick and spent half a day in the hospital before returning and working another 10 hours with us.. After we left, she spent two days in the hospital. She is a bad ass.. Someone to admire but, not go out and party with.


So, they give us this elaborate meal at this fancy restaurant..




Eh, we gave this to the waitress to take away. It's warm Tsingtao for me.


Fancy vegetable Tower and some spicy duck web..




The duck was delicious




This ridiculousness.. It was salmon sushi, tuna sushi, some octopus and raw shrimp with an actual amazing wasabi soy sauce. Dry ice was in a glass.. Apparently, the guy loves sushi.. I had a piece of the salmon and a shrimp




This was sea cucumber with gravy and land cucumber:




This is those little baby shrimp.. Really delicious. I add a shot of vinegar. These seems to be a common dish around these parts




really lovely chicken:




Oh, another difference between the two.. One group loves Hunan Food and spicy food, the other hates spicy food.. So, the often order one or two obligatory spicy dishes for me.. These are sour beans and pork with tons of peppers, the restaurant actually made this dish spicy for me as it normally doesnt come this way.. With these little pancakes.. It was delicious..




I don't eat nearly enough frog.. I love it every time I eat it.. Especially in China.. Stewed in a super garlicky brown sauce. This was a show stopper in my mind.




Quail egg and abalone soup: Broth was an abalone chicken broth.



Fish head:



Some rice at the end.


It was a very good meal and super fancy.. I feel bad as I know it's lost on them and I am just as happy at local spot.. But, they feel the need to take me somewhere fancy..

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No breakfast the next day.. Went to the gym and ran 3.5 miles.. Unless you wake up at 6am and have breakfast then, it's hard to stay on their schedule.. The people in China are so regimented.. Lunch starts between 11:30 and 12:00. That's the way it is.. So, a late breakfast might as well be lunch.


Fried Chicken with peanuts and semi spicy but, more sweet dried fried peppers:




This was fantastic.. This place is known for their whole chicken soup.. And here the broth was so rich and beautiful.. Served with wood ear mushrooms, this shrimp loaf and cucuzza




The size of this bowl is lost in the photo.. This is a huge bowl with a stewed chicken in tons of sweet onions.. The gravy was so good, as was the bird.. I had several bowls of rice with just the gravy




The beautiful of their vegetable prep should not be ignored.




Simple spinach in water:




rice to end.

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That night I went to the buffet in our hotel as our host was not feeling well.. I stay at the Crown Plaza Yangzhou.. There are a ton of English channels on TV and the room is super cool.. Also, there is usually no one in the entire hotel.. I am guessing, there were maybe 40 other guests in the entire place..And it's a huge hotel.. I have the gym to myself, I have the pool to myself.. They offer free beer and peanuts and it's just a chill spot.. The problem is, there is nothing around. So, if i want to head out by myself, it's a to do.. And, I had no cash on me and didn't feel like exchanging money and doing the whole thing so, I stayed in and watched a ton of movies.


Went to the buffet and was one of two people eating there.. It was something like 120 rm or maybe 18 to 20 bucks




Crawfish season.. Time to drink beer


but there was so much food.. I stuck primarily to the seafood though but, so many different things.. From sushi to lots of classic chinese dishes and stations and it was just like over the top.




The next morning, went to the gym and met with customers.. still not doing well, his father had made lunch for us and brought it to the showroom



Some sort of muddy salty fish: I think he called it yellow fish



Smoked tofu and celery:




Little meatballs with cucuzza in a chicken broth.. This was delicious




Egg rolls stuffed with simple cabbage:




Chicken wings with soy protein, seitan kind of thing




To think I didn't eat pork until I met Alicia.. feet split stewed in a sweet soy. fantastic.




Sea grass and tofu strands




Not single out was just eggs and pretty hot peppers.. that was for me :D The guy tried it and nearly died.

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