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I’ve had many people ask me what the food is like over here, so I’ve put together a small blog describing the varied foods that I’ve come across so far.
A lot of people back in the UK are into their Chinese takeaways and have asked whether or not the typical Chinese takeaway meals, are the same as the actual dishes in China.
The quick answer would be “no, not really”. Here in China, it’s better, healthier and there is SO much more choice, with the dishes being different in each province.
Qinghai Province (west China) which has more of a Tibetan food influence, is made up mainly of fats, proteins and dairy products. It’s heavy and stodgy food that is well needed for those kinds of environments, where it’s often below zero and is at altitude.
We’d have a lot of Yak meat, yoghurt, bread, milk, butter and tsampa (Which is roasted flour, usually barley flour and sometimes also wheat flour. It is usually mixed with the salty Tibetan butter tea and great to actually carry with you on long hikes).
It is only when I started to drop in altitude and ventured into Sichuan province after around 7-8 weeks in Qinghai, that the food started to dramatically change.
The climate was warmer, there were more plantations and vegetation, the food was far more diverse and a lot tastier, with herbs and spices added to the mix.
Sichuan is famous for its spicy hotpots (originally from Chongqing) and the food here does have a kick.
What gets me though; is not necessarily the spice (I can do spice after living in Thailand), but it’s the oil and grease within the food.
This has caught me out on two occasions, either suffering from diarrhoea or vomiting (or both!). Admittedly though, I was stupid both times, either accepting a challenge or drinking the oil!
Breaking into Yunnan, they have everything here, so many nice dishes - I still haven’t tried them all, it’s probably not possible. They have all the vegetables, all the meats (chicken, I love chicken... mmmm) and can produce loads of meals, suited for all types of eaters.
My favourite food so far, (although I do love it all, as each dish is almost suited to the environment I’ve been trekking in), has to be the food from Yunnan.
And my favourite dish so far, is either dumplings, with a little pot of chilli and vinegar or a stir-fry of all vegetables and meat, with rice and a small bowl of herbal soup!
If you’ve been to China (or are currently here), what was your favourite food here and what do you recommend?
If you’ve not been to China, which of the above provinces, sound like it would take your liking most?