Day 6: xiao chi

Every meal in China we’ve eaten as if we hadn’t eaten in days and we’ll never eat again. It all tastes divine and each bite brings back memories and stories from our past lives in China. These are things that simply cannot be bought in America and never taste the same when I make them. It has been a love affair and today we have had many lovers.

I love you jian bing guo zi 兼并馃子!
I finally had jianbing guozi for the first time since coming back. It is a Shandong specialty though I’ve seen other provinces take claim for it. It’s a very large flour crepe with an egg omelet on top with a spicy savory sauce wrapped around crispy guozi with lettuce for color. It’s a warm “sandwich” that I love to eat with my hands. It’s fast and convenient though I have waited 20 minutes for one during lunch rush hour at Jasco before. Buy these at grocery stores or very busy stands to ensure freshness, the stand next to my hotel looked a little shady.

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Just look at the shifu 师傅 at work creating the masterpiece that is jianbing guozi.

An ode to Liangpi 凉皮.
Liangpi is a specialty of Xi’an, though you can find Sichuan claims as well. It is cold rice noodles with sesame sauce, tangy vinegar, spicy chili oil, sweet carrots and cooling cucumber. It was the perfect summer food in Xi’an where I went to college and then it was only 1.5 yuan. I paid 5 yuan today, but we aren’t in Xi’an and I graduated from college a few years ago. Crazy Chinese inflation. Amazing liangpi.

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Rou jia mo 肉夹馍.
Roujiamo is famous for being backwards. It literally means “meat encasing bun” when in it’s actually pulled pork inside a bun. This is another treasure from Xi’an. I try to reproduce this for my husband at home by altering the Southern BBQ recipes, but it’s a special bun that is hard and toasted on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside and the pulled pork has it’s own special spices. It’s never the same as in Xi’an. The perfect roujiamou has an the right amount of fatty pork to lean pork. Too lean and it’s dry and bland, when pork prices rose the roujiamo became too greasy. There needs to be balance. I’m partial to the veggie version 菜夹馍. As nostalgic as this was, Qingdao does not compare to Xi’an’s roujiamo. I must find the elusive roujiamo secret recipe!

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You can tell this was a disappointing Roujiamo because the wrapper is too dry. It should be specked with grease.

There are so many small treats to enjoy in China. Always look for snacks with the best buality!

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Warm pumpkin porridge! I love anything pumpkin!

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