Saturday, August 30, 2008

Xi'An - 回教街 [Islamic Street] Part 2

So a group of us went back to the Isalmic street the 2nd night...

And... I saw these lamb hooves just sitting there, so I decided I had to have it.

A close up of the lamb hoof. I don't know what it was called, but it's cooked and then marinated in this spicy sour sauce. Soooo tender.

Skewers galore hahaha.

The crowded street.

More lamb skewers, but these were the best lamb skewers I ate while I was in China. They add the usual spices but they also added some other sort of chili to it. Couldn't figure it out but it was daaamn good.

豬肉韭黃餡餅 (Pork and chive "pancake"). Ground pork with chives in a flour "pancake." Hella MSG. Made my tongue numb for like... 5 minutes, which was pretty scary cause you need A LOT of MSG to do that haha. They were made by these... 13-14 year olds. Tsk, child labor. The funny thing, I don't think they were Muslim... cause Muslims don't eat pork right? :P

Felix's 韭菜餡餅 (chives "pancake"). Similar to mine, except it has no pork.

Street perfomances!

芝麻柿子餅 (Sesame persimmon "donut"). It's dough flavored with persimmon, then fried. Again, I got the sesame filling, but there's also lots of different fillings available too.

I lost a few of my other pictures :[ But yea, the Islamic street is seriously a place you must go if you're ever in Xi'An. I don't think I've even tried half of what the vendors offered. Delicious food + huge selection + cheap prices = a happy duke.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Xi'An - 回教街 [Islamic Street] Part 1

So the whole program went to Xi'An at the end, sort of a graduation trip, to do a little sightseeing, since Xi'An is a famous ancient city, the first night we went exploring around the city. Of course we found a few delicious items too!

The street vendor called it a "牛肉蛋塔," which means beef eggtart. It's not really an eggtart, since it's actually an egg and seasoned ground beef inside a thing that's like a pancake. It's really good but I think a few of my friends got diarrhea from it cause the beef might not have been cooked all the way through haha.

The inside: egg and ground beef.

Squid skewers. Intense flavors, since they brushed like... 3 different sauces when they grilled it. Couldn't exact figure out what they were putting on it.

Then we found an Islamic street and that street was just full of streetfood. We didn't eat that much since we already had dinner and I already ate a bunch of stuff on the way there. Nevertheless, still somehow made room for the stuff I ate below :D

黑芝麻鏡糕 (Black sesame sweet ricecake). Sweet ricecake they steamed with a plum sauce. You tell them the flavor you want, then they dip it in sugar and the flavoring for you. They have flavors like strawberry, peanut, plain, etc. I just chose black sesame since I love it haha.

Every restaurant on the street had this big wok and they were just frying this cube noodles over hot coals. Pretty cool.

So I had to get it just to try it out. It's pretty much... rice noodles, in fat block form stir-fried with bean sprouts, green onion, soy sauce, and hella MSG haha. After I ate it, my tongue was numb from the freakin' MSG. Seriously, don't they know it causes serious health problems?!

More to come!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Shanghai: Week 4 - 上海老街 [Shanghai Old Street]

This is a spot that we went often. It's called Shanghai Old Street, and it takes about 30 minutes and 35rmb by cab just to get there, but the food is totally worth it. In fact, we'll go, eat, then take a cab back haha. That's how much we love it. They sell everything, from Shanghai specialities to shaved ice. Here's just a few things I've tried on the street:

I swear, this lady was a master chef haha. That little hole in the wall, is her kitchen and we always go to her stand. Why? Because she makes the best...

... 排骨年糕 (porkchop ricecake) in Shanghai. It's a really simple: 3 piece of fried rice cake that she puts this sweet sauce on top, then she breads and fries the marinated porkchop, then squirt some black vinegar on it. That's it, and yet, this is my favorite thing in Shanghai. Only 4.5rmb too!! Heavenly.

The stand next to the lady's. They have a bunch of stir-fry dishes and you can't really see it, but there a two-headed fish on the table hahaha.

陝西涼皮 (Shan'Xi Cold Noodles). Another one of my favorites. Rice noodles that's mixed with chili oil, cilantro, cucumber, and then a little bit of peanut sauce completes this dish. The peanut sauce balances out the hot chili oil really well. Ideal thing to eat on a hot summer day.

臭豆腐 (Stinky tofu), Shanghai-style. They fry stinky tofu then pour this... semi spicy sauce over it. To be honest, Taiwanese stinky tofu is totally on a different level. Not bad though.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Shanghai: Week 4 - Misc

So here's a few misc. things that I had during the 4th week... and yea we eat a lot of McDees in Shanghai haha.

Yay for apple pies! But wait... it's actually a Pineapple Pie. To be honest, the pineapple pie tastes actually kinda weird since the filling is really sweet, almost more like a pineapple marmalade. Unique to China though!

Afterwards, had myself a Taro Pie, which was really REALLY good. It just tastes like... taro haha! For some reason, the crust of both the pineapple and the taro pie were crunchier than the apple pie in the US. Taiwan's apple pie is the same as well.

This is a bento set from the train ride we took from Shanghai to Xi'An. Pretty balanced meal I'd have to say haha. Too bad it was a bit salty and I'm sure they added hella MSG to it.

This is our good old friend... 白酒, a kind of Chinese alcohol. It tastes horrific, almost as if you're drinking gasoline, but hey it get's you drunk REALLY fast haha. Yup, drank a bit on the train.

We actually saw this in Xi'An, and yup, it's the center of a sunflower... and you buy it for the... sunflower seeds! This is one of the coolest thing I've seen since I've never imagined I would eat sunflower seeds straight from a sunflower haha. The only thing is that it isn't roasted and who knows what dirty things are stuck in between... oh well haha.

Shanghai: Week 4 - Baan Thai

Few of us went to this Thai restaurant one night called Baan Thai. It's located in the French Concession, and the atmosphere there is just awesome. You can choose to sit inside or outside under this big hut in the front yard of the restaurant essentially.

Selwyn's Green Curry.

My Seafood Fried Rice. Adding the sauce next to it, which was fish sauce infused with red chili and garlic, gives it a whole new flavor.

Lydia and Rose's Pad Thai. Pretty presentation, but that's about it haha.

The ambiance and the location of the place makes it worth going to, but a little bit pricey for Shanghai standards. Wouldn't say I would go back again if I had a chance, although it is a good place for a couple. Plus, the portions were small, so a lot of us had to go get street food afterwards haha :P

Shanghai: Week 4 - Element Fresh

Rose, Lydia, Rochelle, and I decided to try this place Michael Lin's been raving about ever since I got to Shanghai, called Element Fresh. It's a chic restaurant that mainly serves salads, sandwiches, and different entrees, and it is frequented by many foreigners. The place has better service than most restaurants probably cause so many foreigners go.

Lydia's Grilled Shrimp Sandwich. Very light and refreshing.

I ordered the Blackened Tilapia Sandwich. I was craving white fish so I ordered it and it turned out to be one of the best fish sandwich I've had in a looong time. I just wished the onions were grilled... I still can't stand raw onions haha.

Chris's Lamb Steak Wrap with Yogurt Sauce, which is esentially a gyro haha.

Rose's Mango BBQ Chicken Sandwich. The manga bbq sauce was interesting, since it was really light. Rose and I both wished it the sauce was more intense but it was good haha. A little small :P

Rochelle's Carne Asada Salad. Seasoned steak strips with a southwestern-styled salad.

And this is Rochelle's SECOND entree, which was a simple pasta dish with tomatoes, onions, and capers.

So we all decided to order a drink, and Rochelle started off with a mojito, that I think was made with black rum instead of the usual. A lot stronger than all of us expected haha.

I ordered a mocha haha. I couldn't resist when I saw coffee... even though it was 28rmb... a bit pricey haha. I started playing with the foam and made a leaf :]

Some sort of mango alcoholic drink. Wasn't very strong.

Lydia's Strawberry Margarita. Came in a tall glass instead of the usual margarita glasses, but not bad haha. Weak also.

Element Fresh was a welcoming change when all our food intake are usually rice, noodles, or some sort of bao haha. Yay for American food :P

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Shanghai: Week 3 - Sasha's

A group of us were craving some real, authentic American food by the 3rd week and what better way to satisfy the craving than to eat a real authentic brunch. We went to Sasha's, which is usually a steakhouse but on the weekends, they serve brunch till 3, 4pm. A lot of foreign folks there every weekend. I guess everybody felt the same as us haha.

Nothing really crazy about this brunch, but it is a buffet and they do have some special items that ordinary brunches may not have. My favorite is the smoked salmon wrapped with cream cheese. I usually never eat cream cheese too but it was good. A small assortment of sushi to add that Asian flair, but they also have the usual: all sorts of bread, salads, cereal, fruits, cheeses, deli meats, coffee, tea, etc.

My first plate with my first cup of coffee in China! Pesto pasta salad, the smoked salmon, and the donut balls were my favorites!

A fruit and dessert plate with cereal. First time I had milk in China too haha. Their chocolate croissants were orgasmic... in fact so good that we took napkins and stole about... 20 of them hahahaha.

Then we got a fruit platter to share. Felt so good to finally eat some fruits in China.

All of us loved Sasha's since it was located in the French Concession and the ambiance of the place was definitely unique since the building itself was fairly old. I forgot the architectural style but old European flair :] One of the most satisfying meal.

Shanghai: Week 3 - 上海新疆風味飯店 [Shanghai Xin'Jiang Style Restaurant]

So for Felix's birthday, we all went to this skewers place that he's been to before. It's an authentic Xin'Jiang restaurant. Most of the people look a little bit... like people from the Middle East since the west of China is so close to those countries. Their main diet is lamb and that's exactly what we got!

上海新疆風味飯店 and open 24 hours!

They have live performances there as well, and they pull people up to dance with them, especially foreigners. It's pretty damn awesome haha.

One of Xin'Jiang's specialty, goat milk tea. Surprisngly, you can't really taste the goat milk in it but you can definitely tell it's different.

One of the best beer I've ever had, 新疆啤酒 (Sinkiang Beer), and this is the only restaurant that serves it. It's a dark ale but it's sooo smooth. Think of Guiness but not as... creamy I guess haha.

So we ordered this... lamb hind quarters, and they just use their hands and knives to rip the meat off for us and serve it with dipping sauce. So tender and succulent.

Of course, lamb skewers, with the traditional spices: cumin and red chili powder.

Yea, we ordered like.. 120 of them hahah.

I used to hate lamb and would never touch it. Not anymore haha.

P.S. Sorry for the shitty pictures, I just couldn't make my hands still cause I was so excited hahah. MEAT!