Two surprises from China

My recent trip to China was all very good… and I had two good surprises due to some misconceptions.

I liked the food
I was in China for 2 full weeks and… I liked the food! Actually, I didn’t get bored with the food. One reason is that I was very well guided to the very big variety of food that they have there.

I had two misconceptions:
a) I thought that almost all the food was based on rice and noodles. I thought that during 2 weeks I would have to eat rice or noodles every day… and it’s not the case. They have lot of food without rice and noodles are common but there are options
b) I thought that lot of Chinese food would be spicy. I don’t particularly enjoy spicy food and I didn’t fancy eating spicy food for the whole two weeks. I ate some spicy food but it was easy to avoid, and actually it wasn’t too spicy, even by my standards.

After discovering the very good Chinese food in China food I learnt that London China town has lot of Cantonese food because the first immigrants were from Hong Kong, since it was easier for them to come to London than mainland Chinese.

In that 2 weeks I almost didn’t repeat any dish! This is quite amazing!

They are much cleaner than I thought
I knew that Chinese people spat. I knew that some Chinese restaurants in Barcelona got closed because they were not clean enough. I knew that Chinese restaurants are usually cheap (why so cheap? Bad food? Bad process?). And that Chinese restaurants cut the meat in very small pieces (suspicious, is it because the meat has low quality and they cut it small to hide the bad quality meat, compared with a cut of steak?). Because of all this inputs I expected the hotels to be dirty, and the restaurants to be filthy. I was very wrong.

Staff in restaurants used gloves, fast food chains used masks to avoid contaminating the food while talking across the food. In some places the glasses and bowls were wrapped in plastic to avoid getting dirty while on the table. The hotels were very clean. I have no complain at all!

It’s true that, in some very cheap places where I could see how they prepared the meat, I saw things falling on a dirty floor and being put back again to cook. But that was in very cheap restaurants, almost street food.

Regarding the meat being cut in small pieces: besides creating some more work places, it’s more energy efficient to cook meat cut in small pieces than in big pieces (like a steak). Now even this makes sense! And, of course, it’s chopstick friendly!

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