Food and Drink

Travel would be nothing without food, and in my short time in China I’ve learned a lot simply by what’s served at meals. How impressive it is to see such a variety of flavors and textures! My first breakfast on campus included some crunchy and spicy chopped vegetables. It was unlike anything that I had eaten before, and what an introduction to the day and to this country. My favorite breakfast food at Greentown was a sort of fried rice dough with a chewy texture and slightly sweet flavor. I’ve tried almost everything that has been served, and I’m pleasantly surprised at how much I like. It is interesting to see that drinks are not served with the meals on campus. Coming from a culture that often has a dizzying selection, I was puzzled. The remarkable thing, however, is that I’m not only happy with my bottle of water, but I do focus entirely on the foods in the meal. One of the best things about the food on campus is how the meals teach children about portion control. By using individual plates and bowls for each item, children know what they should be eating. Although I’m far from childhood, it’s a nice reminder to us all. We have ventured out to tea rooms and coffee shops, and what a delight they have been! Not only was the flower tea lovely to look at, but it tasted incredible, and I felt invigorated after drinking it. Tea in a different establishment left me feeling refreshed despite the high temperature and humidity. The week of travel has been a very different experience than eating on campus. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed eating ‘family style’ with a myriad of foods to share, spinning in front of us all on the lazy Susan. We’ve been fortunate to experience amazing seafood meals in Zhoushan, elaborate surf and turf combinations in Hangzhou, and elegant dining in Nanjing. The meals have all been memorable, but Tuesday evening’s gathering in the green restaurant in Nanjing was the best of all. We started with Beijing roast duck, and ended with squirrel fish, and everything in between was decadent and sumptuous. I must admit that none of these meals would have happened without the expertise of our tour guide, Jackie. Having him with us on this trip and at our meals makes it all complete. We still have two days in Shanghai, and I very much look forward to what they will bring. No matter what spins before us at meals, I’m sure that we’ll toast to our good fortune, eat marvelous dishes, and enjoy every moment. When I return home I will take with me many things: pictures and stories about what I’ve eaten, some tea to recreate our outings, perhaps some lovely porcelain dishes, but mostly the desire to come back soon and do it all again. Cheers to China!

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