December 21, 2018

Three Meals

 

Residents in Tianjin prefer their breakfast fast and convenient.

煎饼果子  Tianjin-style flatbread, made with mung bean flour and eggs. Takes 2 minutes to prepare.

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In Chongqing, people start their morning with something hot and spicy.

重庆小面  Chongqing small noodles, made with peppers, chilli oil, Sichuan peppercorn, soy sauce, and 8 other condiments.

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牛肉面 noodles with braised beef

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Wuhan residents prefer a more salty, savoury flavour.

面窝 Wuhan-style fried doughnut

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三鲜豆皮 seafood tofu skin

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热干面 hot dry noodles

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Retirees in Guangzhou have a more leisurely approach to breakfast. They spend over an hour at breakfast.

艇仔粥 “boat” porridge

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肠粉 rice noodle roll

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干蒸烧卖 siu mai, or steamed pork dumplings

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榴莲酥 crispy durian cake

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招牌虾饺 steamed shrimp dumplings

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But the full spread of dim sum and morning tea are for retirees and people who have the luxury of time. For the vast majority of the working population, they have to make do with bread and milk, or simple food that’s both fast and cheap.

If you get hungry easily before lunch, you can head over to Sichuan for some street snacks.

炒洋芋 stir-fried potato slices

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天蚕土豆 deep-fried potato wedges

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烤洋芋 baked potato

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炸薯块 deep-fried potatoes

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Never underestimate the potential of a simple potato as an ingredient.

For about a month, the chefs working in the canteen at my local middle school fed us potatoes, nothing but potatoes (other than rice, that is). Breakfast would be stir-fried potato slices. Lunch would be stir-fried potato slices with pork slices and pepper, or if we were lucky, pork ribs stewed with potatoes. Dinner would be shredded potato salad with vinegar and chilli or beef stew with potatoes. Breakfast tomorrow? Leftover potatoes cut into slices and stir-fried. It’s like being caught in an infinity loop.

The crazy thing was, I loved it. And so did almost everybody else.

Three minutes before noon, there would be a noticeable drop in noise volume in the entire teaching building, as students in each classroom stopped their chitchatting and got ready for the 200-metre dash to the school canteen.

One minute before noon, almost everybody would be drooling like Pavlov’s dogs.

Ten seconds before the bell rang, there would be a chorus of countdown coordinated by thousands of students in over fifty classrooms, drowning out the teachers’ desperate attempt to cram one more important exam tip into our brain, which by that time, was filled with nothing but the salty and savoury aroma of fried potatoes drifting down from the canteen into the open classroom windows.

 

坨坨肉 braised pork is a special dish of the Yi people, prepared for the Torch Festival.

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In Anhui, while students are shooting spit balls at each other behind the teacher’s back, their parents are busy preparing a nutritious lunch.

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剁椒蒸鱼头 steamed fish head with pickled peppers

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蒿子粑粑 crown daisy rice cake

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豆腐干子烧肉 braised pork with dried tofu

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In parts of China, the trend of vegetarianism is catching on.

上汤双色铁棍山药 Chinese yam

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时蔬彩虹蛋糕 rainbow cake made from seasonal vegetables

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秋葵炒竹荪 bamboo fungus fried with ladies’ fingers

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In Hong Kong, they’ve created a type of mooncake that does not require baking.

冰皮月饼 snow skin mooncake

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Back in Sichuan, more street snacks help you to pass the time before dinner is served.

生煎包 fried pork bun

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锅盔 fried pancake

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米粑 rice cake

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豌杂面 noodles with peas and meat sauce

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古蔺麻辣鸡 spicy chicken with Sichuan peppercorn

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Meanwhile in Yunnan,

酸木瓜煮鱼 stewed fish with pickled papaya

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爆炒见手青 stir-fried mushrooms

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As for dinner,

五味鸭 five-flavoured duck

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清蒸鲈鱼 steamed red-fin perch

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西洋菜猪骨汤 pork rib soup with watercress

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蒸腊鱼 steamed cured fish

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咸鸭蛋 salted duck egg

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After a million-calorie meal, time to hit the gym.

cat gym.gif

 

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About fmiswriting

One out of 1.4 billion voices.

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