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Authentic Chinese food

Upon arrival at my hotel in Zhengzhou I was very hungry. I had a piece of bread for breakfast at 5 a.m., portions of a light, airline meal (which wasn’t good) on my first flight to Beijing, and nothing was offered on the flight from Beijing to Zhengzhou. I would have eaten in the Beijing airport, but I couldn’t get Chinese Yuan out of the ATM in the airport as planned.

So after checking into my hotel I went to the hotel’s restaurant hoping for some Sweet and Sour Pork or Kung Pao Chicken. I soon realized that authentic Chinese food is nothing like the Chinese food in the United States (or Japan for that matter).

My choices were limited to things like pig’s knuckles, …

… chicken, with more body parts than I want to see on my plate,

crocodile (at least that’s what it says…),

camel hump???

sea bowel (I’m not a seafood fan, and bowel, of any kind, isn’t something I want to see on my plate so I passed on this one),

and the name “five year sentence” was enough to turn me off to this dish.

I could tell from the Chinese characters that this one had some kind of old chicken in it. But does anyone find a description like exploding, old, adopted mother appetizing?

I thought about ordering a plate of broccoli, sans the cow hoof. However, I can’t speak Chinese and no one at the hotel or restaurant could speak English or Japanese so I was worried that I would end up with a cow hoof, without the broccoli.

Like I said, I was hungry, but not hungry enough for a big turtle (or even a little one).

At this point I knew it was going to be a long two weeks.

8 Responses to “Authentic Chinese food”

  1. 1

    I’m sure the “descriptions” don’t truly describe what’s offered (or at least I hope).

    Personally if I saw a menu like that, and I couldn’t just leave to another restaurant, I’d go chicken. Sure, they may use more body parts that you’d like, but the majority of the dish would be stuff that’s common. I could just ignore the “weird” stuff (or actually try it – hey, it’s gotta be good if a billion people eat it).

  2. 2

    Maybe it was the ‘special’ menu for tourists. 😉

    So, what did you eat?
    Or have you been on a strict no-solid-food diet the whole two weeks? I hope not! 🙂

  3. 3

    wow – how very impressive. Thank you for sharing these photographies.

  4. 4

    Eeeek! I’m 1/2 Chinese and I’m almost embarassed that “my people” eat this. What are they thinking??? Like you, I’m more accustomed to Beef Broccoli, Orange Chicken, Chow Fun, Honey Walnut Shrimp, etc. so this is kind of disgusting to me. My coworker went there for the Olympics a few years ago and tried spiders and scorpions. No thanks. I guess I’m a “fake Chinese.” 😛 Or just Americanized…

  5. 5

    Yep, that’s why I ended up having a Big Mac at Seoul airport on the way home from three weeks in Asia. Hadn’t been to the Golden Arches for years, but I was tired and adventured-out and figured that at least there wouldn’t be a sea urchin — or sea bowel — on my burger.

  6. 6

    Most of the descriptions are correct. Pig’s knuckles, cow hoof, camel’s hump. (Although I don’t think the “old adoptive mother” is quite accurate.) Most of that food looks scrumptious to me. I’ve never been to China, but you can get this kind of thing in Boston. I can’t believe you expected to find Kung Pao Chicken in China. If you were in Mexico, would you be looking for a Taco Bell? Why would you go to China if you just wanted more of the same American culture?

  7. 7

    Why travel at all if you’re too squeamish to eat the local food. Maybe it’s delicious. Perhaps you should stay home & watch the travel channel

  8. 8