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  • Writer's pictureJerry

Eating China

Updated: Jan 13

pickled veggies in Xiamen China

I recently spent two weeks with my (now ex wife) in China and of course my focus was mainly on food. She's from Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, and happily there was a line of family and friends waiting to wine and dine us.

It's hard to overstate the importance of food in Chinese culture. A very common greeting in China translates literally as "have you eaten yet?" The first step in understanding the cuisine is to forget whatever you may have eaten in 95% of "Chinese" restaurants in the US. They are to Chinese food what Taco Bell is to Mexican cuisine.

I visited many restaurants and also markets. What struck me most was the high level of quality. I walked through street markets and also ultra modern stores stocked with an incredible variety of ingredients. Never once did I see meat or seafood that didn't look absolutely fresh, or a piece of produce with a blemish. I'm not exaggerating. Furthermore, I found more variety than I've ever seen shopping in the US. I imagine there are a few places that are a similar here, but this was the rule in China, not the exception.

To illustrate my point about variety I've posted the photo below taken at the biggest seafood market in Xiamen. This small display offers five different types of asparagus. And not a wilted piece in sight.

Asparagus at the 8th Seafood market in Xiamen

If you're shopping for poultry, the selection is equally impressive.

poultry stand at 8th seafood market, Xiamen

Here's a link to a video of the poultry stand: VIDEO

From street food to fine dining, each place we ate offered delicious, fresh food and excellent service. As a side note; the price on the menu is what you pay, no tax and no tip! No one leaves a tip. It's considered weird.

I don't know where to begin to describe some of the wonderful meals we shared, so I'll simply post some photos.

Sharing hot pot with friends

Beijing duck a.k.a. Peking duck

lamb ribs

noodles made to order on the street

I don't know the name of this delicious vegetable

Mrs. Walper enjoying noodles in Chengdu

fish soup

fresh yam noodles with pig intestines and fried soybeans

BBQ tofu, pig feet, bacon, green beans and crayfish

casual dining with professor Yi

seafood display at a restaurant

choosing our seafood at another restaurant

Ice jelly, sticky rice balls, walnuts, raisins, brown sugar syrup and sour palm juice

Fresh pancakes in a market:

Here are a few more photos taken at markets:

dried fruits and nuts

Heirloom pork, probably Berkshire

a beautiful type of shrimp

several types of eggs to choose from

seafood counter at Walmart in Chengdu

fresh produce


Can't get fresher...


My first cab ride in Chengdu! It's an electric three wheeler.

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