Travel Diary: An American in China, 11

July 11, 2010 § Leave a comment

We are gonna be on a roll today, so I’m going to be brief with my greetings and get straight to the point.

Shenzhen is a metropolitan city right across the river from Hong Kong. It is abundant in seafood (yay!), exporter of fresh fruits and veggies, and all in all, a fascinating place to be.

As always, we hightailed it to my grandparents’ place and chatted till pretty late. Before we headed over to my uncle’s place, where we stayed, we went to (of all places) Sam’s Club with my other uncle. Sam’s Club, China edition, is very similar to what we have, but with even more stuff. They’re also stocked in some really odd things, such as… (close your eyes if you get queasy easily)

A chopped up alligator. Yes, to be honest, I was disgusted. But the thing I’ve learned is, when you’re in another country, you’ve gotta respect their culture and lifestyle. If the Sam’s Club in China wants to sell such things (and people there do buy it up and enjoy eating stuff like this), then so be it.

I was majorly dairy deprived. At home, I eat cheese, drink milk, inhale yogurt and ice cream, like twenty times a day. I don’t really touch any of that stuff in China. First of all, you can’t really find cheese or butter anywhere. Second of all, the stuff you can find, like milk and ice cream, is just so different from what we have in the US and I’m not too keen on them. Therefore, I was exuberant to find Laughing Cow cheese at Sam’s. So excited, in fact, that I ate a wedge (even though it’s spreadable…) in the car. I also bought cheddar and Colby Jack. Cheese fest ๐Ÿ˜›

Once at my uncle’s casa, I was greeted by this little guy:

Most hyper dog ever. He’s such a chipper goofball though, we’re great buds ๐Ÿ™‚

My youngest cousin’s school is conveniently located right by my grandparents’ house. Every day after school, her dad would pick her up and she would go choose a snack and bring some for me, as well. Then, we’d all go off to dinner or playtime or whatevs. This one was probably my favorite- it was a fried pancake of sorts, with bacon, eggs, and sausage. Greasy goodness! She also brought me drinks and meatballs and popsicles. What a good cousin!

Upon hearing that I’m a fan of hotpot, my uncles decided to take me to a unique hotspot restaurant. The restaurant serves ‘rice-brewed hotpot.’ It’s a lot more bland (and healthy) than regular hotpot, and there’s a lot more seafood involved.

We ordered…

Clams…

and Shrimp! These two were by favorites, by far, but we also ordered a lot of other (questionable) items. I’m such a conservative eater, for reals.

Cleaned our palate with a bowl of congee made from the rice hotpot!

Once again with the drinking thing! I loooooooooooooooooove this new find. It’s coconut juice! Soooo delicious. I had three per day on average in Shenzhen. The good thing? It’s HEALTHY! I’m not kidding, I’ve been reading about the benefits of coconut juice in a million magazines. Score!

And now, for the best meal ever…

Bear with me for a second, these were just the technicalities. We went to a ‘massive wild fish bowl’ restaurant (translated word for word). It’s a bit like hotpot in a way, except there’s no soup and it’s all about the fish. We picked huge hunks of sea bass and mahi mahi. The sea bass was the clear winner.

They toss the raw fish inside of this humongous sunken pot in the middle of the table, along with stuff like tofu, ‘kuanfen’ (gelatin-like noodles… soooo good), mushrooms, yadda yadda.

The home-made soup is added.

Then, they put the lid on and it steams like nobody’s business for about 30 minutes. We almost went insane because the temptation was so unfair, especially when the room filled with the aroma. Gahhhh. To cool us off, we ordered this…

What could that be? It’s known as ‘suanmeitang’ or ‘pickled plum juice’. I’ve heard of it before, but this year probably because of the various heat waves, it’s served absolutely everywhere. Almost every restaurant I frequented offered a complimentary cup of it. The taste is definitely acquired. It’s slightly salty, really sour, a tad bit sweet. Think grape juice with a tang. No matter… It’s refreshing and that’s what counts!

Here, they teased us by letting us peek in the pot. My aunt eagerly reached for her chopsticks, only to be awarded with a stern glance and a “it’s not ready yet.” They made it up to us by pasting corn cakes onto the side of the pot and then closing it up…

An agonizing fifteen minutes later, it was ready! Doesn’t that look irresistible? Well, it definitely was. There was just bombs of flavor. I basically breathed in all of the sea bass. Plus, the radishes were amazing and the tofu, as well. Oh, and potatoes! Gotta remember the potatoes.

My nibbled-on corn cake. Veryyy satisfying- it was crunchy and gritty, just the way I like it.

Once we were done with all that main stuff, we decided to toss in some noodles. Never say no to carbs, that’s the rule I live by!

Several days later, we had a family dumpling fest. Everyone came together and made dumplings together before devouring it all. We had bokchoy and celery (my favorite) filling. Haa, but I ‘specially requested filling-less dumpling skin. My family called me crazy. Whatevs.

We were also lucky enough to visit the spinny buffet in a tall, tall tower. I was a clueless little girl though and wasn’t even aware that the buffet had revolved until after it stopped. ๐Ÿ˜›

Other than that, another notable excursion was to the biggest restaurant in all of Shenzhen. It was ginormous, but you’re just gonna have to take my word for it because I was too hungry to take pics. Here’s an idea of the size, based on just the menu…

Oh, and some pretty mussel shells…

That thing behind the shell is abalone. Doesn’t look like much, but it costs crazy much… You’d think they were diamonds.

Haaa, and some random gigantic eggs we found in the food-ordering area:

Be back in a jiffy with more,

C

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