Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Beijing Duck

I mentioned dinner in the last post, but I forgot to talk about lunch, our first authentic Chinese meal of the trip. For the first time in the four times that I've been in China, I was treated to Beijing kaoya, or roast duck. For those of you who don't know much about romanization of the Chinese language, this is the same thing as Peking duck. Beijing=Peking? Funny how foreigners can screw those things up.

The Chinese have an interesting practice of serving meat on a dish shaped like the animal it came from, so we were served with milk-white ducky plates--one with duck skin, one with meat, and one with a combination of the two. Other items on the menu included a kung-pao-esque spicy chicken, slimy pork cut into wormy strips, served with a beancurd tortilla that many of us said looked and felt like a rubber jar opener.

The duck tasted like barbeque pork, and the chicken was spicy and delicious. The only thing I couldn't get down were the pork and doufu fajitas.

We ordered Sprite and bottled water. Only the Sprite came, and we didn't have anywhere to pour it. Our small glasses were filled with boiling hot water, another Chinese custom born out of the need to sterilize bacteria-ridden water. So, to prove just how culturally inappropriate we could be, we walked outside and dumped out our cups of water, making room for the cold and refreshing xuebi (Sprite).

One meal down (and actually staying down). Only about a hundred more to go.

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