Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Street Food

Street food in action
For a foreigner living in China it is more than possible to continue having a western-style breakfast each day -- if you have the spare cash that is. When I say western-style, I mean the basics of one bowl of cereal and a piece of toast with butter (and jam if you like). It is very easy to buy milk and bread everywhere here, although 99.9% of all the bread I have eaten in China is rather sweet. Problems arise with butter and cereal. In Wenzhou these goods just aren't available in the supermarkets, the only place to buy such things is at D&L square (which I briefly mentioned here). Almost everything in the "European Supermarket" is imported, and it comes at a price. So, if money is no option you can quite easily live in China with a daily dose of home.

On the other hand, I find that a Chinese breakfast can be equally, or sometimes more satisfying than anything my toaster can prepare -- and it comes at a fraction of the price (literally). I don't particularly like going to a Chinese restaurant for breakfast, I simply cannot adapt to eating similar dishes I would normally have at night in the morning. I find the best way to eat in the early hours is on the street. Some of the most enjoyable food I have eaten has come from street vendors, the food is quick, simple, and breakfasty enough to suit me just fine. At the top of the list is Baozi, a kind of bun with pork or vegetables inside (I go for the veggie one). How much for two? 2 RMB. Next on the list is something called luo bo si bing (see above), which is kind of like a fried pitta bread with white carrot inside. How much for one? 1.5 RMB. If you are not still full yet, there are numerous other options available on the mean streets of Wenzhou, from balls of rice to sticks of deep-fried dough. To wash it down, for 1 RMB a nice bag of warm soya milk can be yours -- that's right a bag (see below). The grand total for this street-food-breakfast: 4.5 RMB (that's around 45 British pence at the current exchange rate). Or you could just have a Macdonald's breakfast for 35 RMB....

Nothing like a nice bag of soya milk to perk you up in the morning

12 comments:

CrazyBunnyLady said...

Yummy.

St0rm187 said...

Yummo, as Rachel would say. Great pics!

The Acolyte Tao said...

Ni hao!
I have no idea what soya milk is honestly... Hm, looks like I need to broaden my range of foods that I eat...
Zai jian!

Jonna Wibelius said...

mmmm I love baozi and soy milk.. the other street food is too oily for my stomach, especially early in the morning. (Or actually, it tastes good when I eat it, but then afterwards I often feel queasy. But I do agree with you -u save a lot of money by opting for a Chinese brekkie rather than a western one.

About the bread being too sweet -are u not able to find hard bread (or 'knäckebröd' as we call it in Sweden) over there? It is everything but sweet, and the best thing is that it lasts for ages... and not too expensive either..

Chris said...

Thank you St0rm187.

The Acolyte Tao, I just found this on wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soy_milk

It looks like we only say soya with an "a" in the UK. You might be able to find it in the supermarkets where you live. It's just milk made from a type of bean. It's very tasty once you get over the fact it isn't cow's milk.

Joanna, I know what you mean with the oil. I find I cannot eat youtiao at the moment. I ate one a few months ago and it made me feel sick, it just tasted tooo oily. Now I cannot bare them.

I must admit I don't always save money on a Chinese breakfast, I do own a toaster which has been worked to the bone.

As for the bread, I really haven't found any hard bread before. When I visit my local bakeries they are completely stocked with the softest breads I've ever eaten. I'll have a look around tomorrow on my day off for some!

Jonna Wibelius said...

Chris -hard bread is probably not available from a bakery but more like a western grocery store.. Is there are Carrefour or a Tesco over there? I reckon they would have some.

Oh, and I am the same like u -if I eat something that makes me feel a bit sick I can't eat it again for a long time... I had a bad 'jiaozi' (dumpling) experience when I first moved here and didn't touch jiaozi again for a good 2 years. Now I've started eating them again, thinking they are really delicious. Funny how the body (or is it the mind?) works.

flyingfish said...

Luobo si bing look and sound delicious! We don't seem to have them up here in Beijing. I wonder why? We have luobo-everything-else.

Chris said...

Jonna (sorry, I wrote Joanna last time), I thought I was the only one with weird food habits! It is strange how the mind works, just thinking of a youtiao makes me feel a little sick, even now.

Unfortunately Wenzhou is not privileged enough to have a Tesco or Carrefour. The biggest supermarkets we have are Trust Mart and Century Mart, and they don't stock anything but the usual.

Flyingfish, the luobuo si bing really is one of my favourites. I am surprised to hear it is not available in Beijing. I will have to find its origins.

mabelp said...

Wow! It seems food in Mainland China are not expensive.

The Acolyte Tao said...

I looked up Soy milk! I've had it before, I hated it. Haha, but I did read something interesting about it before though that it is not good for guys because it has something in it that produces estrogen and what not. I'm not completely sure so I don't want to say anything more on the subject in my ignorance?

Chris said...

The Acolyte Tao, I think you're right. I also read about a recent study in the US that said Soy products can have an effect on sperm count, something like that anyway. It's a bit worrying because I eat loads of Tofu which comes from the Soy bean!!

大眼睛熊 said...

I really like the couple that sells Luobosi Bing, they're nice and make tasty food, although the price has gone up from ¥1 to ¥1.5. And I'm sure they all know u now, the only costomer that doesn't eat pork! Xxx