Thursday, May 7, 2015

Finer Foods & Dining Out

We had so many great meals in China. Sometimes just great food or a bite to eat. And then we had some all-out feasts! There are many world-class restaurants in Shanghai and we were very fortunate to visit a few while we were there. Fantastic Chinese food, but also authentic cuisines from all over the world. Believe it or not, you can actually get a little tired of Chinese food ALL the time! Here's some places we went and some of what we ate -- from humble morsels to most honorable banquets.

This was our first meal in China our first day there. Some of the best dim sum in all of Shanghai! A lot of people say that Beijing is known for their dumplings, but I think we all favored the Shanghai style dumplings, which are more delicate with a thinner wrapper. This place has some of the best dumplings in Shanghai. What a delicious way to be welcomed to China!

DinTaiFung Dumpling House

In complete contrast to the previous fine dining meal, we had these lo mein noodles at a place a couple blocks away from where our friends live -- I don't even know the name of it. I think they have about 6 or 7 tables inside and you can watch them pulling fresh noodles in the narrow galley kitchen. This big bowl of noodles and beef topped with green onions and fresh cilantro was crazy cheap -- I think around $3. It left a lasting impression and remains our favorite lo mein in all of China.


The day after we arrived in Shanghai was our anniversary! Eric made reservations for us at this authentic Italian restaurant right off The Bund called Goodfellas. It is ranked at #4 on Trip Advisor. We had an awesome meal and a great time, and I regret not getting better pictures. Eric got in to a lively conversation with Giulia, who is from Roma, once they both discovered that the other could speak the native language. It was fun to listen to an American and an Italian chattering away in Chinese! We liked how she spoke in Chinese, but still talked with her hands like an Italian!

Meeting Giulia

Can 6 people share an itty-bitty molten lava volcano cake for dessert? They can if they use itty-bitty spoons!

We had an incredible feast for our Easter Sunday dinner after going to church in Shanghai . . . though it seemed a little funny being at a Muslim restaurant. The Wolff's had been there before and it was a fantastic meal, complete with a short belly dancing show while we ate.

These lamb ribs were sliced at our table and served with a plastic glove for each person!

What a feast! It took Eric nearly 5 minutes just to order everything -- and he speaks Chinese!

Feeling very full -- and very glad we had a reservation at this popular spot! You can see all the people waiting outside.

Our last dinner in Shanghai was at this Canadian deli called Tock's. They make their own smoked pastrami and poutine. This was my sandwich and nearby you can see the remains of Cameron's root beer float!

After our first full day in Beijing we visited this place for dinner. It was the first time Kathy and Daniel had been back here since they lived in Beijing.

You get your own dining room! And it's a good thing you have your own room because this is Steve looking at the menu. Daniel is on the phone calling his dad to ask what we should order!?!


This is what we got:

Another feast -- featuring Peking Duck.

Another memorable meal in Beijing was at this popular hot pot restaurant that our driver Mark suggested after visiting the Great Wall, the Summer Palace, and the Olympic Park. We were so thankful for his service all day long and into the evening. And we were so pleased to have his company at dinner after a long day.


Chinese hot pots are very popular. It's a little bit like fondue, except you cook your food in boiling broth with seasonings. Everyone shares the same hot pot and you keep adding in foods, then pick them out with your chopsticks.

Then this guy comes around to your table and makes noodles by whipping the dough around in the air and pulling long strands that go in to your hot pot.

All of our meals in Xian came from the street (which will be in another post), so our next dining room meal was on our Li river cruise boat from Guilin to Yangshuo. 
First, these "yummy" appetizers:

Whole fried fish, whole fried shrimp, and whole fried baby crabs

Lunch was from a buffet and it was pretty tasty traditional Chinese foods. Interestingly, tomatoes are considered a fruit here -- which they rightly are -- as you can tell from the dessert plate below, and they eat them as such.


Okay, this wasn't really a meal but a very refreshing and enjoyable afternoon snack -- this is the welcome tea they served us on the patio by the river when we arrived at Yangshuo Mountain Resort.

From there it was on to Hong Kong and our first dinner was at this great Chinese place near our hotel called The American Restaurant. It's like a throwback to the early days of Hong Kong, with thin ancient men in white jackets to wait on you, and you have the feeling that Humphrey Bogart could come strolling in at any moment asking what kind of gin joint this place is.

It turned in to another feast as we accidentally ordered too much food -- but it was so good! They had the best pancakes of any I had anywhere -- it's hard to describe them exactly, but they are flaky and chewy and oily and rich grilled egg/bread perfection (top right) -- almost like a fried croissant. You spoon some of the dark syrupy stuff on them. The pinkish bowl on the left is dry fried beef in chili sauce -- they may as well call it meat candy. Thin, crispy, chewy strips of beef in a sugary-sweet-hot syrupy sauce . . . 
never had anything like it!

The only other sit-down meal we had in Hong Kong was at this Nepalese place where we had lunch by the mid-level escalators. Cameron got some kind of bbq chicken that was the most tender chicken I have ever tasted. Steve and I got some lamb and chicken curries. We really liked how so many of the restaurants are open to the street -- and in this case the actual street was about three feet away. This was very common most everywhere we went.

We really ate very well the whole trip and enjoyed trying so many new foods. Even Cameron, our picky eater, did great and never complained, unless he was really hungry and the food was not coming fast enough! I really don't recall any altogether bad meals, though we skipped a few and had to make some quick grabs at McDonald's and Carl's Jr. a couple times, but that was more out of necessity than desire. And it was a bit of a novelty too!

Next you can see some of the great street food we ate -- it's like a buffet that goes on for blocks.

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