This week for my Chinese Class, Alice and I took a trip to one of the wet markets that I frequent. I’ve been buying my produce and dry goods from this particular market since I arrived in China, but most of the items I’ve been buying are randoms that I bought out of curiosity, or old favorites I recognized from the States. Thanks to Alice, I now I know what these foods are called in Chinese, and I also know what some of the mysterious wonders are. Here’s some delicious, some nutritious, and some weird food things I learned about this week.
1. 粽子 zòng zi
A lovely pyramid-shaped dumpling that is wrapped in bamboo leaves or reed. It’s popular during Dragon Boat Festival, which was today. The result of boiling rice inside of a leaf is a really sticky, pasty, rice. It’s not bad for a quick snack on the bus, but its glue like consistency makes it difficult to eat when walking between classes unless I want to have paste in my hair, fingernails and the folds of my clothes. Good for quick fiber though.
2. 荔枝 lì zhī
Mouth watering Lychee fruit. Or Litchi. Or Lichee. Pick your favorite, in season now.
3. 蒜苗 suàn miáo
Garlic shoots or sprouts. I have yet to cook these myself, but they are delicious, sweet, and all around mouth watering. Yum. And now I need to go buy some, then learn how to cook. Step by step, right?
4. 洋白菜 yáng bái cài
Delicious purple cabbage. Common everywhere. Yummy everywhere. And generally purple.
5. 调料 tiáo liào
The literal translation is condiments, seasonings or flavorings. I love these sections of the markets because they have everything: garlic, kelp, lotus seeds, peanuts, soy sauces, dried lily. Even with my bare minimum skills in the kitchen, these ingredients excite me every time I pass this section. Can you say natural nut butters? Maybe with some ginger mixed in… or some cinnamon… I wonder what lotus seed butter would taste like… I have a thing for nut butters.
Let me re-compose myself.
On to the weird.
6. 猪鼻子 zhūbízi
Pig nose. Yet to try this. Pretty popular purchase from what I understand though because it’s rather cheap.
7. 牛百叶 niúbǎiyè
Beef tripe. It’s made from the first three chambers of a cow’s stomach. This, I have eaten in the primary schools by accident. Tastes like rubber. Or Calamari. Not good, not bad, but it does have a weird texture. I thought it was some sort of hard tofu.