I am a long way from planing meals each week, going to the grocery store, cooking and dividing food into red tupperware, and finally carting it all to work for consumption! I miss my healthy servings of fruit and vegetables but the chance to try new foods daily is an excellent replacement. A few observations:
- Food is becoming the lowest cost item in my travel budget.
- It is not common for restaurants, especially the lower cost, drop-in places where I eat, to sell beverages. It is accepted that I bring my own bottled water.
The third city I visited, Chengdu, is in the southwestern Sichuan Province of China. The city is known for spicy food and hotpot (think fondue). Numbing peppercorns are a common ingredient in sauces from this region. Chili oil is also heavily used. I used tips from a Serious Eats article to pick my final restaurant and order food.
Leo, an enterprising 27-year-old, owns the hostel I stayed at in Xi’an. He is a friend of a friend from MN and warmly welcomed me to his city. We ate at a fast casual restaurant near his hostel. The menu: Chinese hamburger and noodles with sauce (under $5USD).
Carbohydrates are a new staple of my travel diet. A snack at a street stand in Chengdu and more baozi in Xi’an. The snack on the left was less than $0.50. Three trays of dumplings were under $4.
A quick, fast lunch in Chengdu. In Xi’An I stayed next to a grocery store – awesome! I picked up fruit, nuts, and yogurt to start diversifying my mostly carbohydrate diet. Also in Xi’an I splurged on a western lunch at a bakery. Sandwich, mango pastry, and a sausage wrapped in bread. This meal was closer to $9.
Oreos in lemon and berry mix flavors are now on my “to try” list.
In Xinjin, a city an hour from Chengdu, I met April and she treated me to a Hot Pot meal. We had two types of broth and cooked beef, chicken, cucumbers, cauliflower, tofu and other foods in the broths.
My last meal in Chengdu was silky tofu in a chili oil called Mapo Dofu. I also ate dumplings and a rose water dessert. When I pointed at a large container with fruit floating, I thought I’d successfully ordered a water. Incorrect! Alcohol came in the small glass and I laughed to myself.