Food is also on the cheap in China too. Of course you can find plenty of restaurants that will cost an arm and a leg to eat at; but for eating on a daily basis there is a different option. Previously I would shop at the supermarket and buy enough groceries to feed me for a whole week. I was saving money -- or so I thought.
Since moving to Wenzhou I found that my working hours meant I had to eat out more and more. At first the cost was worrying, but then I realised that by regularly eating at "sensible" restaurants I was actually not spending any more money than I did at the supermarket. The food in these places is simple home-style Chinese cooking which is actually very healthy and completely different from our Western-produced Chinese food.
Tonight we went to the local Chongqing restaurant that serves some spicy dishes, almost identical to Sichuan style food. Inside, the restaurant has been recently refurbished and would look quite modern and chic if it was 1978. It's a comfortable environment with adequate air conditioning (a must if spicy food is on the menu), plenty of tables and waiters that haven't learnt to smile.
Three dishes are usually enough for two people to share. Tonight we ate:
- Mapo Tofu
- Chinese Cabbage
I'm not exactly sure of the English word for this vegetable. It literally translates as "White Cabbage" but I'm certain such a name doesn't actually exist. The Chinese know how to do vegetables and this is one of the best examples of how effective simple cooking can be. There are no hidden calories or trans fats in this.
- One bowl of rice
So how much does all of this cost I hear you ask? Considering there is strictly no tipping in this country, the total comes to a breath-taking £2.00.
And that's why I love eating in China.