Much of this past week has revolved around food, like group lunches, arranged B.A.S.E dinners, and randomly picked restaurants.
For breakfast I've been eating a crepe-like thing that begins as a huge, thin pancake spread around a hot skillet. An egg is added and spread around the 12 inch skin of dough. Seeds are sprinkled, spicy sauce is spread, and a few dashes of greens,
then a crispy thing is added and the whole deal gets folded up, then halved, and served. It's really not that great, but so far the best thing I can find, and it's only 50 cents. The other options are pita-like biscuits. Some of them are filled with a slightly sweet bean paste, and others have funny things inside. I'm not sure how to ask for the sweet one, so it's hit or miss. Coffee is non-existent, save nescafe instant coffee. There are quite a few coffee-milk drinks in small cans, like bottled frappucino.
For lunch a few of us usually go to a restaurant. Sometimes the restaurants have an english menu, but mostly we choose visually from bright pictures. Some of the entrees we've ordered have been inedible, like a chicken entree, cooked but served cold the whole chicken was sliced up into sections -bones and all. It was hard to distinguish between meat, fat, cartilage, and whatever else is inside a chicken. The positive side to all of this is that a huge four-person meal with drinks usually costs between $5 and $8
dollars each, so it's not the end of the world if you have a bunk meal.
The dinners have been more catastrophic. At a restaurant suggested to us by Robert and Mary Ann, someone ordered fried tofu, which seemed like a safe move, but it had the worst odor you can imagine. It smelled exactly like a pig with a hint of manure. I'm not sure how they get it to smell like this but it does. Nonetheless I tried one, and of course it tasted just as it smelled. I was so impressed by these stinky little nuggets that I wrapped one up to show the rest of group when we met up later that night for drinks.
I've been trying quite a few different drinks from the supermarket. There are a lot of sweet-milky tea drinks, and syrupy juices. I've tried the frappucino knock offs in a can, most of which are good, but I picked one the other day that was carbonated cola with coffee flavored -that one got dumped into the sink. All the standard stuff is here, coke, pepsi, sprite, but with a chinese label. Beer is really cheap, a 22 ounce bottle is 2 RMB, which is about 30 cents american.