As a self-proclaimed foodie, whittling down this list and only sharing ten of my favorite foods is torture.
Disclaimer: This post may result in hunger! Try not to drool on your computer screens 🙂
And since I hope to whet your appetite, the photo essay includes more than ten photos. I list the ten I am instructed to, in no hierarchal order:
1. Chinese cold dishes 中式凉菜, including cold rice noodles 凉菜, lotus root 炝莲菜, cucumber and green beans with garlic 蒜泥黄瓜豆角, boiled peanuts 花生米, cold beef 凉拌牛肉, and yu mian 玉面。That is 玉面 closest to the camera. It is made from flour, shaped similarly to dough, thinly sliced and then drowned in garlic, soy sauce, chicken bouillon 鸡精, mandolin-sliced carrots and scallion, topped with coriander 香菜. It is transparent, firmer than tofu 豆腐 and cold rice noodles 凉皮, and addictive. After my first Chinese New Year, my mother-in-law always sent us back to Xi’an with a block, instructing ZJ on how exactly to recreate this dish at our apartment on XISU’s old campus.
2. Mutton and bread soup 羊肉泡馍
3. Beijing duck 北京烤鸭
4. All Chinese noodles make the list. I eat noodles with raw garlic, biting off a piece in between devouring the noodles, sauce, or vegetable toppings. 油泼面，菠菜面，腊汁肉面片，柳巷面，和Biángbiáng面。Ice peak, 冰峰, a lightly sweetened more crisp and carbonated version of Fanta, complements a dinner of noodles.
5. Stuffed Chinese pancakes 肉饼。Pancakes, like the one pictured below, are stuffed with meat 肉. Other stuffing can include garlic chives and egg 韭菜鸡蛋.
6. Soup dumplings 灌汤包
These broth-filled packets are by far the best tasting dumplings you will ever have. In Shanghai, they are large enough to stick straws in and slurp out the goodness. Pork is the traditional filling, but in the Muslim Quarter, you can find lamb, vegetable, and shrimp. ZJ and I ate pork soup dumplings on Thursday at our local fairly authentic Chinese haunt, Chengdu 23. The customary way to enjoy this delicacy is to bite off the top, sit the dumpling on a ladle, spoon in some vinegar, slurp out the broth, and then devour the filling and remaining dumpling skin.
7. Biscuits 饼干🍪, especially Biscoff and Tim Tams. I have a sweet tooth, in case it was not apparent in day five’s post. Tim Tams are the best of both world because it is a biscuit smothered in chocolate. My sister fell in love with these when she studied in Australia; I stumbled upon them in Metro, the import market where I splurged on lox, pasta, cheese, and the occasional bottle of wine. My parents purchased Biscoff biscuits at Costco and I devour them alongside espresso. ZJ likes to dip them in his espresso.
8. Chinese entrees includes stir-fried vegetables, meats, 大盘鸡， 拔丝红薯，葫芦鸡，火锅🍲 or any entrees for that matter, as long as chili peppers maintain a low profile, I will consume that dish!
9. Sushi makes the cut at number nine. We used to eat at the rotating sushi bar in Xi’an at several locations, usually the Big Wild Goose Pagoda 大雁塔, Kaide Plaza 凯德广场, or Xiaozhai 小寨。Here in the States, we have gone to the all you can eat sushi restaurant with my parents and sisters. The owners of that place are Chinese, and I like having a chance to practice with someone other than ZJ for a change.
10. Chinese crepes 煎饼 and its versatility is why I set it aside from other Chinese foods. Crepe may not be the best way to describe this pancake, because it is thicker than a crepe, but still thinner than a pancake. It can be scarfed down alone, or with 土豆丝，京酱肉丝，菜 folded into the crepe. My favorite type of 煎饼 is 煎饼果子, a breakfast pancake likened to a burrito, usually filled with sliced potatoes, spicy cabbage or cucumbers, and a crisp wonton cracker. An egg is cooked on the pancake and a spicy, peanut or sesame-based sauce was brushed onto the pancake, before being expertly rolled up. I would purchase my breakfast pancake from an elderly deaf couple who sold it on the old campus.
What are ten of your favorite foods? Xiananigans asks that you return the favor. Make us hungry!