I don’t know what it is, but it’s really good

And this is just the appetizer course!
And this is just the appetizer course!

Speaking for myself, as an amateur foodie of sorts, I came to China with a pretty good idea that my idea of “Chinese food” was quite limited.  Fortunate as we are in Seattle to have a wealth of options in regard to international fare, I can now quite confidently say that we are missing out.  It’s cliché, but true:  to better grasp the breadth and variety of Chinese cuisine, you’re going to have to visit China yourself.

Given the short duration of our visit, we have not been able to follow Anthony Bourdain’s footsteps down any back alleys or deep into a market to try what is surely delectable street food.  However, we have had the good fortune of excellent guides Jennifer (Shanghai) and Elaine (Beijing), who have directed us to an assortment of very satisfying restaurants, as well as an outstanding banquet I mentioned before that was hosted by our partners at Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

It was not a requirement to join the study trip, but everyone in the group is a pretty adventurous eater.  Sitting at a large round table over lunch or dinner, chopsticks in hand, curious questions pepper the conversation:  Is it a kind of potato? What is in that sauce? Is that fish?  Things are familiar in texture or taste, but we can’t quite identify them.  Ming and our guide taste, discuss, and don’t have an English equivalent for this vegetable or that seasoning.  Though there is always too much food, everyone tries just about everything on the table, passing one another the dishes identified as favorites:  “try this, it might be jicama or a yam”, “no, that’s not beef, I think it’s eggplant,” “these shrimp are so tender, who’s going to eat the last one?” 

We have an opportunity to strike out on our own for dinner tonight.  I’m not sure what we’ll find, but I’m sure it will be delicious!

Side note:  the faculty members on this trip are more than willing to submit blog entries, but we didn’t allow for a lot of free time in our daily schedules, and most of us are nearly asleep in our soup at the end of our long days.  I hope they will be able to contribute their thoughts once we get back to Seattle. 

Posted by Krista Peterson, Associate Director, Global Business Center

 

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