Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Paddy's Descent Into Beer and Snacks

Time for a little distance between me and the program. I'm skipping lunch at the moment; need a little me time as they say. So I'm in my room enjoying a cold Tsingtao, listening to the soundtrack from the movie Patton, and having a good chuckle over WOPs attempts to fix the webpage. While organized, useful information is at a premium in China, food is readily available at every turn, so I don't really mind missing lunch.

This lady has become a regular on my mid-morning chow break curcuit. For the equivalent of 25 cents she serves up a wonderful hand wrap. First she paints a Chinese tortilla with a sweet brown sauce, adds chillie sauce, fresh cilantro, sprouts, noodles, garlic, and an oil-poached egg, and wraps it all up like a burrito. Outstanding! As you can see, I also have the option of beef, sausage, tofu, and ummm mystery meat. I have a feeling she and I will maintain a healthy and productive business relationship over the next four weeks - the steamed bun lady next to her lost out big time, considering my appetite for Shanghai street-food.

Now the vendor in the above photos makes a sort of crepe by spreading an egg-based batter over her flat griddle. She then fills it with chillie sauce (ubiquitous on the street), green onions, and some kind of ground meat I think. Then she wraps the crepe around a crispy block of pastry, so the entire thing looks something like a big filled envelope, which she then cuts into two with her trowl. I haven't tried this one yet, but it's on the radar screen.

Off course there's always the old standby: wok-fried noodles (with plenty of chillies of course).

Ahhhhh...I'm already distracted from the impending revolution. Whereas Pu Yui had his concubines and opium, Paddy's got his street-food (and concubines and opium- eehhm). This other guy with the big dragon-urn serves tea (as you might expect, Paddy only uses him as a photo-op).

Normally I avoid chicken...especially after 5 years in the Hogwarts' Dorm...but how can you walk by fried chicken made in a bakery without at least giving it a go? And as the flyer says: JUST DO EAT! Eat your heart out Nike; no copywrite lawyers here!


A Wolfe In Sheep's Clothing said...

My comrade and I enjoyed the film Patton whilst on our trip through Ho's land. Gripping.

I'm reading Made In America by Bill Bryson right now, and I came across this passage:

"Wop from guappo, a Neopolitan expression for dandy or fop, was brought from Italy but took on its unseemly, more generalized shadings in the New World. (The theory that wop is short for "without passport" is simply wrong.)"

Okay, so I have no idea why I had to quote that, but I found it amusing that a book I was reading connected to my real life in such a dramatic and immediate way. Maybe it's no coincidence?

The Hapsburg Chin said...

Doc, the crepe-like thing you mentioned is called jian bing (fourth tone, second tone). It's perhaps my absolute favorite street food. You should try it. I even have a plan to bring it to the Columbia campus from snack carts in the next few years. Also, you need to look up the Nanxiang Steamed Bun Shop (Nanxiang Mantou Dian) and get some of their soup dumplings. They invented this type of dumpling hundreds of years ago, and they're amazing.

sobinator said...

Paddy, I was just speaking to my uncle and he was telling me that a lot of the growth in China is superficial;that a lot of the buildings being built and projects begun have no practical use as of right now and that a lot of the major cities (including Shanghai) have a surplus of buildings and factories. He says that many of the buildings China uses to inflate statistics are vacant, purposeless. To what extent is this true.

Paddy said...

Way ahead of you Hapsburg Chin (or should that be Qin in pinyin?) - we've enjoyed steamers full of 'xiaolongbao', including a trip to Din Tai Fung, apparently one of the more famous dumpling restaurants in the world.

The Hapsburg Qin said...

Din Tai Fung, even though it's a chain from the rebel province (Taiwan), has the best xiaolongbao I've ever had.

And I would reply to Sobinator's post, but I have to dash off to watch the England-Portugal game. The short answer, which is totally unsatisfactory, is that it's partially true and depends on where you go.