Eating SO MUCH FOOD in China

July 7, 2019

Right after school let out, we hopped on a 14 hour flight to spend the next 2 1/2 weeks visiting my relatives in China. I know it isn’t exactly most peoples’ ideal summer destination, but I always look forwards to the visit. Honestly, if you need any reason to fly overseas to China–literally any reason at all–it would have to be for the food. My family and I ate out for almost every meal… I must have gained at least 5 pounds! Unfortunately, most of the time I’d forget to snap a picture before I ate, so today I’m going to be sharing the collection of Chinese foods I was able to capture on my iPhone. It’s still a lot of pictures, but if I’m being honest: we ate a loooot more than what I’m sharing today!

I feel like I haven’t typed up a blog post in ages. I wrote my latest blog post a while back, but I never got around to posting it until recently. It’s been a hot minute since truly written anything! I really missed y’all ;(

Also, I should probably mention a little disclaimer: I also couldn’t tell you the English names of most of the things we ate in China. The Chinese names don’t translate so well, so I’ll try to describe them as best as I can (sorry… heh)


china food favorites - MSST
We stayed at the Langham hotel in Shanghai for a couple days, and they literally had the BEST breakfast selection I have ever seen at any hotel. It was a full fledged buffet of both European/American and Chinese cuisine! I had a latte, a little bowl of conjee, some eggs and potato wedges, fruit, a bao bun, and some sort of waffle panini thing. I was completely stuffed after this meal!
china food favorites - MSST
Probably the highlight of my whole trip: getting to make homemade dumplings with my grandma. They’re a sacred family recipe, and I love bonding with my grandparents while making them!
china food favorites - MSST
Marinated jellyfish (top), cold chicken (bottom left), and a pickled cabbage/carrot slaw (bottom right)
china food favorites - MSST
Street noodles! I’d always been too scared to try street food in China, because I’ve heard horror stories of people getting extremely sick from the unhygienic cooking conditions. They were SO good, but I’m kind of a germaphobe when it comes to food. I personally prefer meals that come from a clean kitchen in a restaurant! Definitely a great experience, though.
china food favorites - MSST
Crawfish (top), and a lima bean / spinach (?) cold salad
china food favorites - MSST
From the same restaurant: thin pancakes (they’re kind of like a crispy, savory crepe), and pork slices (bottom left)
china food favorites - MSST
This is traditional Chinese steamed egg, also from the same restaurant. It looks kind of weird, but trust me, it’s got a really soft texture and tastes kind of like a cloud. It also has great flavor from the soy sauce mixture and green onions added over top.
china food favorites - MSST
The bao buns you find in China are 1000000x better than any kind sold in America. You can tell that I was so excited when my grandpa took me to a little bao bun store right down the street! We also stopped by a random European bakery place and picked up a peppa pig cake :) (Also, please excuse me for my dirty computer and the fact that I was doing math problems on my trip…)
The Starbucks in foreign countries are soooo different from the locations at home! There was one drink in particular that I ordered on numerous occasions: the sweet foam cold brew. In this photo we were about to board a 6AM bullet train ride from Chengdu to ChongQin, and I was in desperate need of a coffee to keep me awake. I think it did the trick!
Chrysanthemum tea: one of the most popular (and one of my personal favorite) drinks in China.
china food favorites - MSST
From the same restaurant: the scary looking dish at the top is just black vermicelli noodles… not worms or eel or anything (we did have a couple eel dishes later, though). We also had some pickled veggies (mid left), spicy rice noodles (mid right – kinda like the ones we had in my Houston post), and a cauliflower salad (bottom).
Mmmmm… more dumplings! (Also from the same restaurant!)
I think this was some sort of barbecued pork dish?
china food favorites - MSST
From the same restaurant: baby shrimp (top left), some sort of savory tofu dish (top right), and a salad (bottom)
china food favorites - MSST
When we went to Shanghai, eating a mega sized xiao long bao (soup dumpling) was at the very top of my bucket list. Shanghai is known for specializing in this particular dish, so naturally it was so good. You have to suck the soup out through a straw!
china food favorites - MSST
From the same restaurant: regular sized soup dumplings. They are usually served with vinegar on the side.
china food favorites - MSST
A giant bowl of noodles and Chinese cabbage. The bowl was so huge that our whole party of 6 couldn’t finish it!
china food favorites - MSST
From the same restaurant: soft, delicate fish with garlic over top and bathed in a spicy soup mixture. Some of the best fish I’ve ever had!
china food favorites - MSST
Gosh, I seriously don’t remember what these were called. I think it’s some sort of vegetable in a soy sauce mixture (top) and some flaky sweet-ish pastry thing (bottom) ?? I’m so sorry, I am literally the worst LOL! I remember them tasting really good, though.
china food favorites - MSST
From the same restaurant: shrimp dumplings (a popular dim sum dish)
china food favorites - MSST
Also from the same restaurant: CONJEEEEE!! When I was a kid, I used to hate conjee. Now I love it! This one had pieces of pork and preserved egg in it.
china food favorites - MSST
Some sort of yogurt drink. Yogurt is very very different outside of America; it’s got this sour taste to it, kind of like greek yogurt but not so bitter. It’s mainly not as sweet. I got frozen yogurt from London (ahh that trip was so long ago!) and this drink had a similar flavor!
china food favorites - MSST
I’m not going to even try to name all the dishes here… I just added this one for dramatic effect. I have never seen this much food on a table – ever. We had a party of about 12 people, and I am sure we didn’t get through half of it.

Oh, that scary looking dish in the bottom right is literally a giant pig head, if you were curious.
china food favorites - MSST
A close up of the shrimp dish and a meat-filled pancake dish from the previous photo

Holy wow… that was a lot of food! And to think I actually had a lot more is insane (!!)

I hope y’all enjoyed this collection of photos! I know I’ve been posting a lot of travel content, but stay tuned! More exciting things are coming.

For all of my non-Chinese friends out there, I hope you weren’t scared away by these exotic-looking dishes. Perhaps you were a little shocked by what real, authentic Chinese food looks like? It’s very very very different from anything you see at Panda Express, Pei Wei, or any other Asian-American restaurant.

Each time I get the opportunity to revisit China, I’m grateful for the time spent strengthening relationships with my family, exploring new places, and immersing myself in my culture. More recently, I have felt more of an inclination to familiarize myself with my roots and truly appreciate the hard work and poverty my ancestors had to experience to give me the life I have today. In today’s era of pop culture influence, a lot of people tend to fall out of touch with where they come from. I encourage y’all to explore your origins a little bit, because a lot of people don’t have that chance. I’m really proud of where I come from, and I think everyone should be too!

I’ll see y’all soon! Have a great week:)

— Ash

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  • Reply Brooke Butler July 8, 2019 at 8:56 am

    ok i’m DROOLING these look so good, also i love how happy u look with your bao buns and peppa pig cake!!

    • Reply Ashley Z July 10, 2019 at 2:16 pm

      how could I not look happy with peppa pig & bao buns? :)

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