Greetings from the other side of the Great Firewall of China! Life’s good on this side of the wall; Danielle has been eating entire watermelons in single sittings and ordering delivery like there’s no tomorrow. But first – here’s a short recap of a weeklong family trip to Shangrila.
Here’s what a typical dinner looked like.
Starting off with some 青稞饼, or highland barley bread; soft and fragrant. Its usual accompaniment is yak butter tea (not pictured), which tastes like watered-down melted butter that’s been generously salted.
Mind you, though, that when they say “chicken” they mean a whole chicken. You’ve got your usual suspects like chicken breast, drumsticks, wings, but you’ll also find liver, stomach, feet, etc. In this pot we also found the head of the chicken. Lesson on the anatomy of a chicken! The pot is brought back to a boil on a stovetop built into your table and you order accompanying dishes to cook in the soup.
A bowl of chopped scallions, sesame seeds, and chili oil. Ladle in some soup and you’ve got dipping sauce!
Some wood ear mushrooms 野生木耳. These are easily found in grocery stores and my grandma likes to buy dried ones in Costco quantities. The ones here, though, are fresh and had a nice crunch to them even after they were cooked. And no, they’re not gross. They’re fun guys.
Most of our dinners looked like this. One night we got really creative and ordered the yak version of this meal 牦牛火锅, and by creative I mean not creative at all. Yak meat, yak butter tea, and highland barley bread are staple foods for the Shangrila locals.
I hope this was an interesting glimpse into the sheer diversity of food that China has to offer. I’m off to Beijing in 2 days for an adventure involving youth hostels, China’s high speed railways and the Forbidden Palace, so I’ll be back with more! Danielle out.
PS: I am a pescatarian for health reasons but I will eat food that’s been cooked with meat and also happily consume meat broth.