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If you have read many of my blogs, you know that I love the people of China, their culture, and their food.  Sometimes when I am with Chinese friends and we are eating, I will let them order, but I won’t ask what something is that I don’t recognize. After I taste it, then I will ask what it is, because I want to be open minded about the new food item.

Here is a picture of one items that I didn’t recognize, but enjoyed eating. Do you recognize this item?

What Do Dragons Have To Do With Food?

If you are like me and don’t know what this food is, it is called Dragon Fruit. To prepare Dragon Fruit for eating, you must remove the colorful exterior and then you will find a very interesting looking and delicious fruit. Do you want to know what this fruit looks like?

What Do Dragons Have To Do With Food?

The fruit is pretty firm and delicious. I assume the black flecks are seeds, but I could be wrong about that. Regardless, this is a very interesting looking fruit both on the inside and outside, and it is yummy!

I want to encourage everyone to sample different foods from different cultures. You never know when you will come across something as interesting and delicious as Dragon Fruit!

What’s the most unusual foreign food you’ve ever tried?

During my last trip to China, I was at a store which is much like a Chinese version of Walmart. I almost always do some shopping for the special needs orphanage supported by Global Partners in Life when I am in town and this day was no different. There is an escalator that takes you from the clothes, electronics, toys, office, and home products to the grocery area. Usually the walls in this area are bare or they will have an advertisement for some product like toothpaste on them.

Let me state that I don’t consider myself a speaker of the Chinese language and I definitely don’t know all of the characters commonly used in their language. Having established that, I can’t tell you for sure what the pictures I am about to share with you say, but I think it is like a get to know your farmer program.

As you can see in the first two pictures, a couple of different types of cabbage are shown. China has several cabbages and I must say they taste very good. The larger cabbage is called “da to cai” which translates out to big head cabbage and yes, I probably didn’t spell that correctly.

farmer

farmers2 Next we have some things we all will recognize – potatoes and cucumbers. The cucumbers in China are like the cabbages in that they come in many different shapes and sizes.

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farmers4My grandparents on my father’s side of the family loved to grow vegetables so I like farmers and I love to eat! I have had the honor to teach the children of many farmers in China. I wish you all could know how humble and hard working they are. In fact, the young lady who was probably my best student was the daughter of a farmer. Also, Global Partners in Life has given scholarships to the children of farmers. They are extraordinarily appreciative of the financial aid given to their child.

Hopefully my stories can help bridge the gap in our cultures and help us to see how much we have in common! Perhaps one day you can join me on a trip and get to know some of the wonderful people of China!

We probably have some tendencies to stereotype people and certain industries.  As a rule I can tell you that the people of China are very nice, friendly, warm, helpful, and accepting.  There have been VERY few times I have been told no when I asked if I could take a picture of something or someone in China, but this occasion was the exception. I was told no.

As you can see in the picture below, this street vendor wanted to keep his secret recipe to himself, so he told me no photographs of his work.  What he is making is something similar to what people in the States think of as an English Muffin.  

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This gentleman was in a VERY large city in China, so maybe that’s why he wasn’t as friendly as other people I have encountered.  The gentleman in the next picture is also a vendor, and he had no problem at all with allowing me to photograph him and his work. Conversely, he was in a smaller city, so maybe that made a difference.

secretrecipe2

As you can tell, he is a butcher and a sausage maker.  Interestingly, not too far from his city is a larger city that once had many Germans living there.  Now that area is known for having good sausage and beer!  

The vendors are almost always super friendly and interesting to interact with when you have time.  Many of the vendors will give you a free sample, so I really like going to see the dried fruit vendors!

 

All across China each day there are an untold number of morning markets in each small neighborhood.  The vendors come into a common area, set up their booths, and sell their goods.  These markets give people an opportunity to get fresh vegetables, fruit, and meat each day.  The people are quite friendly, and you never know what you might see.

My words could never do justice to the morning markets, so I decided to show you a video of one.  Enjoy the experience, and welcome to China!

It is interesting to me how few overweight people I see in China. Is it because the Chinese walk more that Americans or because they do Tai Chi? Perhaps it is because of their diets? I am sure that has lot to do with it.

China has an amazing number of green houses, so you can get freshly grown fruits and vegetables even in the middle of the winter. Also, many open air markets exist all around China. In these markets you can find very fresh fruits and vegetables. The prices are not usually negotiated in the shops, but I think the quality is consistently high.

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As you can see in the picture above, there is an abundance of food in these shops. The prices are clearly marked,  and they usually have a steady stream of customers. I have been told that the small local farmers like to sell their goods to shops like this. I am certain the shoppers enjoy having locally grown goods!

Anyone hungry?

 

 

Fruit Cart on Street in China

Fruit Cart on Street in China

 

Amazing Street Food And Amazing Memories
I’ve been waiting to introduce a blog series about street food because it’s so much a part of the Chinese culture. Yes, I know many people will tell you that you shouldn’t eat food from street vendors because you don’t know if the food is stored at the proper temperature, or if the utensils are clean, and so forth. That is probably good advice if you are a very conservative eater and have a weak stomach. But I can tell you that if you don’t partake, you will be cheating yourself from some delicious food and from enjoying the wonderful, funny, and kind-hearted people that prepare it.

I have so many wonderful memories of the different types of street foods in China: I can visualize the steam coming off the cooking devices. Oh, and the wonderful smells…. It’s torture having to stand in line inhaling the aroma of the good food ― especially something that I already know I love to eat―and wait patiently for it to be prepared and handed to me!

China’s Fresh Fruit on the Street
I’ll lead this Street Food series with China’s fresh fruit. The fruit that you can get from a street vendor in China is usually very fresh and inexpensive, if you don’t mind negotiating a little. The blogsite shows the picture gallery.

One amazing thing I enjoy is watching a fruit vendor carve a fresh pineapple into a work of art in a matter of seconds. It has always impressed me how quickly the street vendor can prepare a design on a pineapple and then put it on a stick for you to enjoy.

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Protecting Your Stomach in Advance
If you are one who usually doesn’t try new foods, but on rare occasions gets caught up in the moment, tempted by a wonderful smelling food that you just can’t resist, then you should consider getting some protection for you stomach. Before you travel, just tell your doctor that you will be traveling and that would like something for your stomach…just in case. My guess is the doctor will say, “Yes, we can protect you and give you a prescription for Cipro.”

Now, go, eat, and enjoy!

Beau

 

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