Rest in Pastry

For myself, this Saturday had been just a typical day of enjoying Izmir’s amazing weather and seaside parks, but for several local Turkish families, it’d been a time of mourning. And how had I found this out? Well, the families were giving away delicious fried dough to honor their losses.

An otherwise happy day on the Aegean Sea

Roaming the neighborhoods of Izmir

Friends and I had been cutting through some residential side streets when we’d come across a food cart frying this doughy dessert called Lokma. Street food is pretty common here on the pedestrian streets, but never directly outside of an apartment building like this unless it were a private gathering, and I would’ve just kept on going if Soner and Sezgin hadn’t stopped to get some. Unable to understand what was being said in Turkish, I’d naturally went for my wallet until one of my friends stopped me. Soner gave me a reproachful look even as he’d motioned for me to put my wallet away, pointing to the pictures of an older man on the cart and instructing me to say what I would later learn means Take him to Heaven. Confused yet conscious of a cultural gap, I’d listened with curiousity as Sezgin went on to explain that the old man in these photos had recently passed away, adding in that these people were that man’s relatives as the female relative had handed him several of these churro-like pastries as a means of remembrance. In between mouthfuls as we’d made our way to the seaside, Soner and Sezgin took turns telling me more about this Izmir tradition that was just so perfectly befitting of everything I’d experienced in Turkey so far.

Comfort food?

Lokma is a common dessert across all of Turkey, but here in Izmir it holds a deeper symbolism. Lokma celebrates life and death, and when a relative passes away or a baby is born, families in Izmir rent a cart to prepare this food for their community as a means of good fortune. The families set up their carts either outside of their homes or in parks nearby, and both neighbors and passers-by are presented with lokma after having paid their respects to the relatives (whether in the form of condolences or congratulations, depending). Several companies are dedicated to lokma cart rentals for families whose numbers have changed for better or worse, and it’s commonplace in the workplace that on such an occasion a colleague might purchase a batch Lokma for their office as well. Several weeks after I’d first learned about this tradition in the context of grieving, two different coworkers had stopped by my office carrying plates of pastry drizzled in honey, and I’d sheepishly hesitated to accept mine before it had become clear to me whether to come off happy or sad. Thankfully both offerings of lokma had been prepared for the birth of a niece or nephew, and the pastries were celebratory as opposed to comfort food.

Rest in pastry, Mustafa and Ruhuna

The Turtle Men

Sky scrapers, luxury cars, and expensive suits are the symbols of success, and naturally you’d expect to see plenty of each while walking through an area of the Central Business District. International businesses and the satellite offices of household names from back home fill the multiple fifty story buildings that tower here, as expensive cars and taxis navigate around pedestrians too distracted by their bluetooth conversations to use the crosswalks of the crowded streets below. It’s hard to imagine a man selling snapping turtles having any place at all here, but the small group of men in suits who had crowded around him and his reptilian merchandise one afternoon in front of a prominent bank had proven otherwise.


Up above


And down below


The business men were shouting over each other as they used the money in their hands to gesture and point, employing the same tactics they would use once they returned to their offices to trade stocks and engineer corporate take-overs. Un-phased by the yelling and pleased with their enthusiasm, the turtle man just sat there on the curb calmly, letting the men haggle as he showed off his different turtles.


The caviar of the nouveau riche

While this was definitely the nicest area that I’ve witnessed a turtle sale on the street in, it definitely wasn’t the first. In fact, since early March I’ve been seeing turtle men about once a week in various middle-to-upper-class areas of Shenzhen, strolling around with several snappers at a time sticking out like a sore thumb (often more so due to their fashion than their business). Some have carried their turtles in burlap bags, others have sat with them leashed up in way that reminded me of pitbulls outside of a Brooklyn bodega, while some have even walked through heavy traffic making offers into the rolled down windows of BMW SUVs before the traffic lights had turned green. Day or night, I’ve seen them in every area of the city, selling the oddest commodity I’ve yet to witness here.


Not sure which is more shocking, that outfit or his turtle stick



Strut your stuff, guy


Perplexed, I’d decided to ask around. My coworkers shrugged and said turtles taste good and are healthy, while one onlooker in an upper class neighborhood had mockingly pretended to pray while saying bàifó 拜佛, which means to worship Buddha. I’m still not really sure if he was trying to make fun of me for needing to ask, or the people who’d stopped to inquire about these fine terrapins. As usual, it was my Chinese teacher who’d offered the most helpful explanation. She explained to me the correlation between eating turtles and increasing your longevity, due to how long they can live for. And to my total lack of surprise, she added that there’s a belief that turtles can increase virility and help with making male children. But these turtles won’t work, look at them, they’re obviously captive bred. They’re too well fed and their shells aren’t beat up. You need wild caught turtle to actually get the effect. This guy is a scam artist. And here I’d thought selling a snapping turtle for almost 1000RMB on the street had been the only rip-off happening on that street corner. Silly me.


Traditional Chinese Life Insurance


About as friendly as his merchandise. And as slow with the stick too.

The idea of transference through eating animals isn’t exactly a new theme in Traditional Chinese Medicine. There’s a reason chicken cartilage and organs are popular items on just about any restaurant’s menu; falling under the same line of thought as living longer by eating matured turtles, eating an animal part to enhance your own is a common belief over here. This even extends into male enhancement, because who wouldn’t believe that eating tiger weiners, ingesting a powder made from big’ole rhino horns, and drinking snake wine could have positive effects on your lower member. Maybe Yao Ming had been on a steady diet of giraffe steaks when he was a teen. I guess at face value this could all make sense, if it weren’t for that pesky thing called nutritional science. My dubiousness aside, if it works for you man… The placebo effect’s a hell of a drug.


A turtle a week keeps the reaper away


Recommended for anybody seeking more favorable interest rates

Roasted Ducklings, Hidden Bones

It’s like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, but much more likely to break your teeth than Chow Yun-Fat. Chinese cuisine has some of the most delicious and diverse dishes in the world, but it also includes the unfortunately common chainsaw chicken. Imagine your typical stir fry, except among the vegetables and hidden underneath the sauce lie chunks of chicken with the bones and tendons still in them. Who knows which part of the chicken is in your dish, but you can bet it wasn’t the most edible or valued portion of the bird. Sometimes shards of the bones have even broken off into your vegetables, creating a potentially dangerous dish of low expectations and soy sauce.


Lets play spot the bones

Chefs in China are known for using every part of an animal, and filleting birds just isn’t seen as necessary here in the Middle Kingdom. Eating these meals is like navigating marrow-laden land mines, although chopsticks do make it easier to pick them out, and I’ve experienced this at both high-end restaurants and dingy kitchens. Heck, a dish in Guangzhou even claimed one of my back molars when a particularly negligent chef had decided to deep fry chainsaw chicken. Drunk and hungry, I’d dug in expecting something to similar to sesame chicken, and left shortly after needing to see a dentist. Good times, bon appetit.



Bones or no bones, Cantonese duck is still one of the most savory and delicious meals that I’ve ever eaten


When you see something like this in a restaurant, it really all comes down to expectation management


For the customers who order extra bone

By the Way, What Is This?

Some things are better left enjoyed. I’ve had plenty of egg tart dishes before, and while this one was slightly creamier and had a subtle chalky taste that I just couldn’t quite place, it was hitting the spot after a delicious sea food dinner. My neighbors had invited me out to meet their daughter before she headed back to America to continue her studies, and besides feeding me every type of shellfish available, they’d splurged on an Alaskan king crab. After cleaning out every one of the crab’s long spiny legs, we topped off the dinner with that soupy bowl of what I’d guessed was egg tart.


Turns out the legs weren’t the only part of the crab that had been cleaned out, because after having asked out of curiosity just what exactly was in my bowl, I found out what that chalky taste was: blended up, congealed crab organs. When speaking in second languages and swapping between English and Mandarin like we had been, it’s so much easier than you’d probably expect to get as close to the bottom of the bowl as I had without actually knowing what it was that I’d been eating… I doubt I would’ve caught “crab brain goop” if they had happened to mention it in mandarin, and it was pretty unlikely they’d learned how to say “crab brain goop” in their English classes. Usually you just assume your way through it and evaluate based off of taste, and sometimes, you purposefully don’t get told in order to avoid what they expect could be a cultural taboo… such as how Americans typically don’t eat crab brain goop.


If we only knew how much this stuff boosts virility…

Upon hearing what it was, I suddenly became a whole lot less hungry, although I wasn’t at all surprised that they’d scraped out the carapace in order to make a mousse out of what would only described as by-products anywhere else. Cooks over here don’t waste, and the Chinese are anything but picky eaters. Tendons, congealed pig’s blood, fish heads in soup, even duck tongues… Crab brain mousse is just another edible oddity in the long list of things I’ve tried over here, whether accidentally or to please my host. It’s all in your head, right?


Fried, steamed, candied, pickled.. Chicken feet are as popular of a snack over here as Doritos are in the States


Tortilla substitutes or The Silence of the Hams?


Fish heads in bulk. No joke, it’s an honor to eat the eye


Even duck tongues… Actually not all that bad

If you're ever feeling adventurous, you can get duck tongues and chicken feet at just any convenient store or super market

If you’re ever feeling adventurous, you can get duck tongues and chicken feet at just about any convenient store or super market

The Wanfujing Night Market


Normally if a fellow foreigner living in Beijing were to ask me “should I go to Wanfujing?” I would tell them that whatever they needed could probably be found somewhere else in Beijing with less hassle. I don’t really care for Wanfujing, and have left the area thoroughly annoyed about two thirds of the times I’ve went. Pickpockets, prostitutes and tea house scammers are notoriously common in this area, and for the most part Wanfujing is a taxi sinkhole; a place where the drivers will attempt to charge you astronomical prices in the ballpark of 200-300RMB for a 40RMB trip because they don’t think you know any better. That being said, I’m an expat familiar with China and therefore have different expectations than a normal tourist, which leads to my personal disdain. Wanfujing is home to some of the most famous hotels in Beijing, and because of this it has become the number one tourist area in Beijing. There’s English everywhere, dining is tourist-friendly and simple, most business owners are better able to help foreigners, and there are a lot of great cultural seminars nearby for an interested traveler to attend. The area is incredibly convenient for somebody staying in Beijing short term, and so long as they’re wary of scams and don’t mind paying a tad bit extra for things, it’s a good place for them to enjoy themselves during their travels. If you’re planning to visit Beijing and want an easy, enjoyable area to stay at, then Wanfujing would be my recommendation. And even for the experienced expat and the biased, sometimes arrogant blogger, Wanfujing has some cool stuff to offer; its giant foreign book stores, a large, ornate Eastern-orthodox church, and the Wanfujing Night Markets.

Wanfujing’s night markets are a must do for anybody in Beijing, and by far one of the most culture shocking and fascinating experiences you can have in Beijing. The night markets, which are open from 4pm to around 9pm, consist of two different locations; The first is an alley way bazaar called Snack Street, full of popular Chinese snacks, tourist souvenirs and strange goods that you can’t find anywhere in the city. The other location, which I plan to focus on in this blog article, is two blocks North on Donghuamen street and sells any exotic food you can imagine.


The exotic food market on Donghuamen


The alley bazaar Snack Street’s entrance



Besides the usual street foods of wraps, noodles, and chuar meats that you can get all over Beijing and other Chinese cities, the Wanfujing Night Market is where you can eat cat, dog, snake, horse and just about any insect you could imagine. Some of the food here is stomach turning, while other snacks are surprisingly delicious… Fried scorpions turned out to be amazing! It’s a very fun experience to go and look, and if you’re brave enough try something exotic. You might not walk away satisfied, but you will forever retain bragging rites during stories to come. As a zoology major, I felt it was my academic duty to try every animal possible, and I hope my reviews make you hungry!



Uncooked snake amongst squid tentacles and silk worm pupae

On the left is snake chuar, which was chewy, salty and a little stringy, but had a very good, almost jerkyish, flavor. The right chuar stick is dog meat, which was fatty and had a dull flavor. I wasn’t very impressed with dog, but it could’ve been a bad cut of meat. Not shown was the cat and horse chuars. The horse was tender but had a grainy texture, and tasted a lot like really tender beef with a little bit of gaminess. Horse is definitely worth eating again. Cat was incredibly tender, on par with fish, and almost tasted like lamb or goat. The cat was hands down some of the best meat I’ve ever had in my life, comparable to sashimi.


After deep frying the stick of live Scorpions, they added some spices and handed it over. I was a little hesitant but I gotta say, they were pretty good! Crunchy and tough but full of protein, and fried Chitin tastes a lot like KFC crispy chicken skin. I went and got seconds. The larger scorpions had a lot more juice inside, and it tasted way too stale and scuzzy for my comfort. The smaller ones were a lot more enjoyable, and never made my stomach turn upside down.



I only ate the fried crabs, I had no clue how to deal with the shells of the cray fish and tiger prawn. Plus, I wasn’t confidant that deep frying them would adequately cook their meat through those thick shells. The fried crab was good but a hassle. They’d never deshelled it, so you were expected to chew it and spit out the shell bits, and I honestly think it would’ve been easier to tie a cherry stem in my mouth than navigate that mess. The final result was a lot of lost meat and some cuts in my mouth, not to mention several fragments of shell going down the hatch by accident. I suggest getting the fried shrimps instead, they’re just as tasty but much more manageable.


I also left these guys alone because of their shells
I wasn’t in the mood to bust them open on the sidewalk


The silk worm pupae were like little grenades of ipecac, and the second I’d managed to break through the first one’s leathery casing and actually bite into it, a briny, uncomfortably warm, foul tasting liquid spurted into my mouth… as well as onto a guy passing by. The tan liquid was a milky consistency and just hot enough to skeeve somebody out, tasting like stale water and the worst cunnilingus ever. Being a good sport and wanting to have an informed opinion for all of you, I decided that I needed to try a second one before I could call it. The next one tasted just as bad, was never swallowed and quickly gagged back out of my mouth. The Chinese nearby were thoroughly amused by the sight of a foreigner spitting up onto the sidewalk, and I did it shamelessly… Silk worm pupae are foul.


You can buy your own lamb leg for 40RMB. Obviously this was a must, though they’re deceivingly thin and have a lot more bone and tendon than it appears. The meat was great though and it still ended up being a large meal, as well as a greasy, messy one. I felt like Haggar the Horrible walking around that day.



The squid tentacles were only okay, the spicy soy sauce they were drenched in helped a lot with their rubbery, briny tastelessness. They were quite the jaw work out though, and really weren’t appetizing at all. Maybe if they had been deep fried they would’ve tasted better, but that option wasn’t available here. So many Chinese people fiend for squid too, but they just weren’t for me.


The shark fillets were totally worth it, well spiced and deep fried, they tasted a lot like codfish with an after taste of chicken. I didn’t expect them to be so tender either. I could’ve filled up on them, they reminded me of an American fish fry mixed with KFC.



If eating strange animals isn’t up your alley, the night market had a large vegetarian section for the Buddhists. Every and any type of tofu could be found here; some were candied, some were boiled, some were braised, and the majority of them were eventually fried. I was too busy moving through the animal kingdom though to spend anytime here; too many potential pets to eat and creepy crawlies to fry.


Overall, no exotic food was over 40RMB, with the lamb leg being the most expensive. Most were about 20RMB a stick, and all of it was very affordable. I’d filled up on animals that people keep for pets, and had eaten creatures that make women and girly men scream… It was an interesting and fulfilling day. And for anybody reading this who’s annoyed that I’d eaten fido or whisker’s distant Asian cousin, take solace in the karmic diarrhea I’d had the next day. I’m not sure if it’d been from the snakes or the silk worm pupae, but there were definitely some consequences for my gluttony.

These were some of the foods that I never got a chance to try, so look forward to part two one day:

Qianmen Dajie



This is the Church Street from Burlington, VT of Beijing, Boston’s Quincy Market in the East. Just south of Tiananmen Square, this wide street has been sectioned off to prevent vehicle-through traffic and create a venue for nearby tourists to shop and eat. Each side of Qianmen dajie is lined with western businesses set into ancient style architecture to create a unique market street for the pedestrian tourists. In between the street’s authentic walls are crowds of shoppers walking through another type of commerce, street hockers positioned up and down the large road with all kinds of knickknacks to sell. The street is incredibly active as people come in and out of stores, while salespeople demonstrate their toys, kites, and airplanes throughout the foot traffic. I’ve never been one to shop unless it’s at the Silk Market, but if you want the finer goods like Rolex, Nike, Calvin Klein, Nikon, Zara, H&M or… KFC?

Only in China would a KFC be next door to a Rolex store…

This is the place to come for an interesting and fun way to do any non-counterfeit shopping.DSC_0958


The Beijing Acrobats at Chaoyang Theater


After seeing this show, I fully understand how Chinese Acrobatic shows have become world famous. Lasting about an hour and a half, each of the 7 acts had my full attention, as these incredibly skilled acrobats preformed dangerous feats of finesse and astounding physical prowess. As a fitness enthusiast, watching the things these people could do with their bodies had my jaw in my lap, and my eyes glued. These amazing tricks ranged from hopping down stairs on one hand with their body in the air, to spinning multiple towels and balanced umbrellas on their toes. Near super human balance was shown as a girl created a tower of stacked chairs from beneath herself, often balancing on her hands or toes atop an unstable chair as she situated the next one under her body. After balancing 10 girls on one bike, they managed to fit 8 motorcyclists into one steel cage ball, who dangerously whizzed around each other in multiple neon illuminated circles. Throughout the whole show, beautiful oriental flags were waved as powerful orchestral scores filled the room, with Chinese idols and symbolism incorporated into each act. All in all it was an amazing performance, on par with other world class acts like Circus du Soleil, for an affordable price of 380RMB a seat (though cheaper seats in the front were available, as well as more expensive balcony seats). These acrobats perform every night of the week, often mixing in different acts, and it is a must see for anybody in Beijing! Check out for more information. Be way of other websites that offer discounted tickets, I suggest going to the venue and buying them in person to avoid any scams. These pictures cannot do it justice, but they should give you an idea just how spectacular this show is… Enjoy!


Chinese New Year’s Eve Celebrations, AKA Baghdad in Beijing

When I left my apartment that Saturday morning, I was surprised to find the usually bustling streets resembling a ghost town. Very few people were out, the streets weren’t clogged with traffic, and even the smallest of businesses were closed down. The weather was nice too, with a pollution index of only 170ppms. I felt like I had Beijing to myself, it was both peaceful and nice. I was naive and stupid.

Around 3pm I heard the first explosion. It started with a screech and ended with a deep resonating boom. It echoed through the many buildings squished into one area that form my apartment complex. Nearby where the explosion came from, several car alarms went off from just how loud it had been. That firework was the first I heard that day, but within 3 hours I would begin hear over 10 rapports a minute. Sitting at my desk by the window of my 16th floor apartment, I couldn’t concentrate on my writing. It was 8pm and every other minute flashes of neon light would burst through my window. There were enough fireworks going off that I now heard possibly 30 explosions a minute, some close and some far, but all still loud enough to shake your concentration off whatever you’re doing. From my days of living in downtown Albany, they sounded very similar to gunshots. As the night progressed, there were so many explosions that when skyping with friends I would have to repeat myself so that they could hear me over the noise. Everything from high pitched screeches to low end BOOOOMS, to the sizzling of sparks, to the machine gun fire of firecracker strips and the car alarms complaining about the noise; all of it together forming a cacophony that both gave me an entertaining window show, a small headache as well as subconsciously making me incredibly edgy and snappy. I’m guessing that a lack of peace of mind from explosions outside your home and an inability to concentrate on anything are the right mixture to turn somebody’s mood sour and reactive. By 11pm it felt like I was in middle of a full parking lot, each of the cars blasting base from subwoofers as loud as possible. The view from my window is an amazing one, showing me many buildings, some tall and some only a couple stories high. From within the alley ways of these buildings green, red, and blue fire shot up towards the sky. From the side roads mortars launched into the air, each detonating in an orb of multi-colored fire. The city was alive with fireworks coming up from the ground every thirty feet, like a colorful fountain from the streets. Even on the roof tops of a couple buildings you could see the Chinese, lighting tube after tube to contribute to the mayhem coming from below. I decided I had to go outside and see it for myself.

The air was really hazy when I got outside, and it smelled like cordite and gunpowder. As always when I go outside, I checked the pollution index. This time I was astounded to see that in only 7 hours the air pollution rating in Beijing had risen to 580ppms! Over 400ppms of smog, grime and smoke had been added to the atmosphere from the sheer amount of fireworks they had shot into the sky that night! I could barely even believe it. I continued out into the main streets and discovered it was actually pretty believable, as I watched the Chinese declare war on the sky.


Clean up took a long, long time

Fireworks were detonated with absolutely no regard for traffic, structures or other people. Cars were gridlocked for minutes because of the explosions happening in their lanes of traffic. There were several very close calls where a car swerving to avoid having a mortar launched into its undercarriage almost drove into another car, or a crowd of people watching the mayhem. Several mortars launched upwards had power lines or tree branches in their paths, and were deflected in dangerous angles towards the public or into the sides of buildings. I’m surprised there wasn’t a structure fire in my area! Because the ground was practically covered in debris and used firework cases, the just barely lit explosives were sometimes hard to identify from the rubbish. Multiple times pedestrians almost walked into or over the equivalent of a landmine. All the while the Chinese drank their moonshine and continued to bombard the sky with explosions, unaware of anything except the next KABOOM.

IMG_1840 IMG_1852

Being so close to everything my ears began to pop, and my head began pound. I started to make my way back home. To get home I have to take a narrow road that runs along a canal. The once desolate street had been filled by crowds of the Chinese, drawn out to watch the midnight festivities; and with the crowds came mortars, strips of firecrackers and moonshine. The men merrily drank small bottles of rice liquor as they coated the street with primed explosives, without little concern for their proximity to others. As I made my way back I couldn’t help but be surrounded by the insanity; balls of fire shooting past my periphery, strips of small m80’s and black cats creating the sound of machine gun fire and turning their portions of the ground into a flashing fire. Several burning pieces of debris flew from these strips and hit my jacket and my hood, potentially burning me if I hadn’t covered my face to move forward through the smoke and blinding sudden lights. When I made it out of the central fuckery I was able to watch and enjoy a lot more of what was happening. The whole street was full of fireworks, one persons’ work almost burning the person next to them. It was a clusterfuck, and could very easily have ended with a piece of flying fire blinding or scarring me.

I was able to relax at that point, and watched as a man set up a mortar tube not 7 feet away from me. I took my iPhone to capture it up close and on video.

I don’t know if it was a dud or that was its purpose, but instead of launching something up into the air, the tube exploded with what can only be described as a concussive force. I felt my heart literally shutter for a moment and skip a beat, and my ears popped to silence for a second. I felt a sudden dizziness and my body didn’t respond immediately, as I fell into the wall behind me and just barely kept myself from going to the ground. Somewhat recovered, I made it back to my house as quickly as possible, avoiding any crowds I could. I stumbled a little, and sometimes saw double from all the lights. I was shaking from adrenaline and felt like I was escaping a warzone.

The purpose of fireworks in Chinese Culture on New Year’s Eve is to drive away any hostile spirits or demons that plan to bring bad fortune during the coming year. After what I’ve seen tonight, I can’t imagine much has been left standing. To be sure, they even continued to shoot off fireworks at a rate of 20 per minute until 3 or 4 in the morning. The whole Chinese New Year’s Eve, as well as the night following it, were never silent… filled with the sounds of a man made thunder storm for  10s of hours on end. Fourth of July in America has been diminished to sparklers and dollar store smoke bombs when compared to the epic scale of mayhem and insanity that was Chinese New Year in Beijing!

My first Taiwanese meal at Zero Space, in 双井

Everyday on my way to work, as I exit the subway I pass this hip little cafe that specializes in Taiwanese food. I’ve never given it much thought but I had time to kill tonight and was both famished and sick of the other options in the area. I figured I’d try a new place, and tonight a new culture as well. Taiwan is an island off the coast of China, and one of it’s few special administrative zones. Geography is a huge factor in a country’s eating habits, and Taiwan being a small island I wasn’t surprised when most of the meats were either chicken or from the ocean. I was however pleasantly surprised at how much tropical fruit is incorporated into their dishes. Mango, pineapple, kiwi; each dish had a delicious accent. Wiping the drool off my face I settled on a mango smoothie, fried shrimp with pineapple, and beef fried rice.
The smoothie was the first to arrive. It was incredibly thick and I’m pretty sure they’d used cream instead of water when mixing it. It was tasted amazing, definitively the natural taste of mango, and not at all synthetic given the chunks of mango fruit in it.
The shrimp came next. The plate was kind of small, but after the first bite it was well worth it. The batter was delicate and fluffy, and both the pineapples and the shrimp nuggets (foodies please don’t crucify me for that lack of a better term) had a cream glaze on them that made their flavors stand out, and gave it a creamy melt in your mouth affect with an aftertaste of good shrimp. The pineapples were perfectly ripe.
They gave me a complimentary soup, consisting of seaweed and a dumpling. It didn’t have much taste but traditionally these soups were more meant to clean the nutrient rich seaweed of the salts and sediments of the ocean, and relieve the plant of its otherwise brine water taste. I didn’t expect much, but it wasn’t meant to be much.
Last came the fried rice. Not a lot of meat was in the dish, but that’s normal in china. It was full of diced beans, eggs, and carrots to make up for it. The fuyuan, or waitress, had told me it was spicy but I barely noticed anything. The dish had more of a sweet pepper spice than anything actually hot, which nicely added to the great beefy/veggie flavor built on the rice foundation. Definitely a solid end to the meal!
The restaurant had a chill atmosphere, especially being in the middle of a mall, and was affordable too, coming out to be 66RMB in total. Overall a very nice place and I can certainly say there will be more Taiwanese food is in my future! Those fried shrimp bites were crack!