So, in an effort to get caught up on this whole blogging thing, I'm throwing out one last China food blog. Yum!
This whole fish was really good. We had fish like this a few times, always with this sort of sweet and sour crust on it. It was quite delicious, if difficult to eat family style. In the back right, there is a plate of baby bok choy - we must have had this at every meal. In fact, there were several times that the vegetarians in the tour group pretty much subsisted on baby bok choy and rice.
China did not seem to be an especially vegetarian-friendly country, or at least not the places we ate on our tour. One man in our tour group seemed especially frustrated that they seemed to think that vegetarians only ate vegetables (I was never quite sure exactly what he wanted. He complained one day that a friend of his took him to a Peking Duck restaurant in Beijing the night before the tour started, and all he had to eat was grass. I never figured out if he was being literal or not.) Once, they threw in some tofu, and that seemed to appease him a bit.
Mmm, this was from our dumpling feast in Xi'an, possibly my favorite food of the whole trip (the closest contender is some homemade noodles we had outside of Xi'an). After a number of cold dishes, some noodles, etc. we started the dumpling feast. There were either 17 or 19 types of dumplings in all - enough for everyone at the table to have one of each. My favorites were some of the seafood and duck, least favorites included something so spicy I couldn't breathe and this walnut thing (too thick, ugh). They were also shaped beautifully - many of them were shaped like the food that was in them. I found this link that has more pictures of the restaurant and dumplings. By the time we left, I was so full I thought I might explode, and we had to walk what felt like miles (but Travis insists was not far at all) in 110 degree heat.
There are more pictures on my flickr site of foods that I saw but didn't eat: stinky tofu, soup dumplings, a steamed bun restaurant, and something very tentacle-y. Just click on the China set on the right hand side.
There was so much amazing food on this trip - the first thing we ate still stands out, which was this amazing fried rice and dumplings at our hotel in Beijing, which we ate while extraordinarily jet-lagged. We couldn't understand how we could be expected to eat so much food, and we eventually gave up, embarrassed. Only later did we learn that it is customary to serve too much food, and it was be considered rude to ask for less or to complain about it being wasteful or anything like that.
That in itself should give you an idea of how hospitable and friendly the Chinese people generally are. China is really an amazing place. The people obviously love their country, and they are so proud of it's sights, sounds, and food - most people we saw seemed to take a great deal of pleasure in seeing tourists enjoy their surroundings. It seems like I have so much to say, but I think wraps it up pretty well. Next, I'm on to catching up on the various things I've cooked and eaten since getting back to California! Yay!