Food, not-so-glorious food


Being sick is no fun. Being sick while travelling is super no fun. Thank goodness it was only the flu, and not some weird disease that I’ve picked up. After spending 4 and a half days in bed, I am feeling like a human being again. I took only two ibuprofen (trying to find ibuprofen was an interesting experience in itself) and no other medication. Goes to show how resting is often the best thing for your body.

Usually it is when I’m sick that I crave certain foods that I grew up eating in Hong Kong. Is this conditioning? You’re supposed to eat plain congee (rice porridge) and drink hot water when you’re unwell. Ew, some would say. I guess because I have also spent many years in Australia, I also craved chicken soup, and oranges. Luckily, plain congee and oranges are not hard to find here.

Yunnan is not known for its food. In fact, I have become a temporary vegetarian since I got to Yunnan. The food is almost always spicy, but it’s not only chillies they put in the food, it’s also lots of other spices and sauces. It’s often very greasy and the smell is rather strong. I must say it’s not really my cup of tea. On the up side, it’s not hard to find basic stir-fry greens, and fruit is quite easy to find.

I’ve forgotten how meat-heavy the Chinese diet really is. And in this province, you not only eat your usual beef, pork and chicken, you also eat yak, white goat, black goat, horse, even dogs. I saw a dog-meat store the other day 😦 I know not a lot of people eat dogs any more in China, but it’s still a reality. I suppose it’s just cultural conditioning. When I first had rabbit in Europe many years ago, it felt weird too. I did try the yak meat (tastes a little bit like lamb) but can’t say I’d rush back for more. You can even get yak lollies. Hmm.

There comes a time when you desperately want something familiar, even though you know it’s not that great. I was craving pasta. Not normally someone to patron Pizza Hut, I did anyway. My expectations were low but the spaghetti turned out to be rather edible, or maybe coz it’s been a while? And the restaurant was clean and quiet, except for the young Chinese couple slurping pasta at the next table! 🙂 I guess as I feel better, and become more used to the food, I’ll be ordering that super spicy tofu dish again soon, though I doubt I’ll ever be able to go down the worms and crickets road.

Call me a Chinese food snob, but to say Hong Kong is one of the food capitals is definitely not an exaggeration. For the first time in five months, I actually think maybe I should have stopped there before coming to Yunnan.