Chinese food hasn’t exactly been good to my stomach. So, I bet you’ll all be surprised when I tell you I’m trying Chinese street food? Now that my stomach has settled a bit, I am taking a walk on the adventurous side. When I came back in October, I had the runs almost every single day for three weeks. Not something you want to hear, I know, but it has to be told. I can’t predict the future, but I can tell you two things that will happen to you when you come to China:
- As a foreigner, you will get stared at
- As a foreigner, you will get diarrhea when you first eat in China.
Sad, but true, especially the second one. I’ve read many, many articles on What’s On Xiamen (WOX), and other news outlets, concerning the lack of food safety here in China. You can see it everywhere you go: meat products, veggies, all stored together in a small fridge. Most restaurants aren’t big, there’s not a lot of space, so they have to improvise. But… cross contamination, anyone?
Though I’ve been in China for more than a year, I’d never tried Chinese street food before. Behind our school there is a street called the 学生街, which means “student street.” There are many stalls one can buy food or snacks from. Last year I was too chicken to try it. I thought they were dirty and would surely give you food poisoning, so I never tried.
But it’s a new year, so I decided to try something new: Chinese street food.
Everything in the student street is relatively cheap. Well, it is supposed to be. I’ve bought sweaters and dresses there for more than 70 Renminbi. In China, you need to know how to bargain if you want to save money. For example, if something costs 100 Renminbi, you can bring the price down to 20. It’s true. I suck at it, so I don’t bother. Well, I can do it a little bit better now, but my classmates are EXPERTS!
Anyway, one day I was hungry, looking for some food, and I thought: “Now is the time to try some Chinese street food.” And I did.
I looked for the stall with the most foreigners. To be honest, I looked for the stall with the most African students. If they eat somewhere, the food is “good” and doesn’t really cause diarrhea… most of the time. I stopped at one stall that’s always crowded. Lines often form, the wait for the food is about thirty minutes, so best not go there when you’re hungry.
During the day, cars can drive in that street until 5 in the afternoon, afterwards, no more. The vendors arrange their stalls along the street, arrange chairs for their customers, it’s all quite crowded at night. Some people work together, for example, if they sell food in front of a place that sells drinks, we can buy the drinks at half price, or something. They arrange the seating area together.
Since I’ve first tried it, I’ve been back for more. Chinese street food is quite tasty.
I’ve also tried some other stuff, like some chicken filled with rice and peanuts, chicken with sesame seeds on top, popcorn chicken. But my favorite, are the 饺子. I think the translation is “dumplings,” not sure. Will need to check it. A portion is 5 RMB (Renminbi), which is pretty cheap. And they are sooo YUMMY! I bought food there twice, but I don’t know where they went. My guess is that they went some place else, I just wish I knew where.
I still need to find another stall that sells dumplings, they are so, so, so good. No idea which one I bought, I tried two different ones. They were all so good.
I bought the two in the pic below. One was filled with veggies, the other with veggies and meat. SO GOOODD!
If you love Chinese food, which dish do you like the most?