Monday, January 25, 2010

some news from today

This post would be better with pics, but I'll be sideloading them onto facebook for the time being; with the Great Firewall of China in full effect it's hard to do any blog updates beyond pure text.

Rather than try & fill in everything that happened in the past few weeks+ the unexpected sojourn to Korea, I'll just say a few things about my experiences today.

Morning was warm - pleasant even. I guess it was around 10 C (or 50 degrees F).

Not sure why, but the trains seemed busier than usual; there was no room in the transfer concourse for the nice old ladies that collected people's used newspapers (I assume to resell as scrap).

Work was busy, and ended up staying way late; so co-worker and I ended up going out to eat. 

The place was called "The Spicy Joint" (辛香汇...if I pick & choose from dictionary it's more like "hot fragrant convergence"). 

My colleague, who is originally from Sichuan, says that most Sichuan restaurants in Shanghai need to tone down the heat in order to gain mass market acceptance. Even so, he said that this place was still pretty good.

Decor was super modernish; lots of curvy fishtanks with orange-reddish fish, shiny lights and post-modern furniture. 

Apparently it's very popular; if one shows up without having made a reservation a month in advance at peak hours (6pm on), it's safe to expect a wait.

By the time we arrived it was already 20:45, and we picked a number and were group number 149...but the restaurant was calling number 108.

The restaurant was located in the 5th floor of a mall/high-rise, there were lots of western brands (real products, not fakes) on sale, even at some discounts. 

Had some time to walk around, then made it back when they happened to be calling for group number 144.

I cannot speak for what happened when I wasn't present, but groups 145-148 were all real people; no one seemed to be taking a ticket number and running.

So anyway, it's probably around 21:15 and finally time to eat.

At that point, rational ordering of what could feasibly be consumed was forgotten.

We had 口水鸡 - literally, "mouth-watering chicken" (or "drooling chicken" if you'd prefer an ugly translation) - in either case, not meaning that the chicken itself is drooling, but rather that you are so excited upon seeing the food...was kind of like cold white cooked chicken drowned in a savory oily spicy sauce, and a few peanuts. Excellent.

Some sort of Sichuan noodles - pretty common at most Sichuan restaurants and available stateside as well. Not much of a kick to them here.

Suanrong you mai cai - garlic & oil stir-fried veggies...token something green on table not covered in peppers.

Some type of Lamb dish - was almost like a lot of foods from Hunan, but with lamb. Decent.

Some kind of Bullfrog - Similar to 水煮牛 or 水煮鱼, but with the meat of choice being frog instead of something less bony. Was pretty good as well...though having misheard my colleague I was convinced that I had been eating some obscure portion of a cow for half the meal, until he clarified the name of the dish again. (the same word for beef or cow - 牛- is also used in "bullfrog" - 牛蛙...makes sense, right?).

Anyway, being stuffed, ended up taking the subway home and very much enjoying the walk back, perhaps burning some fraction of the calories consumed.

Temperature at night was just about freezing. Not that cold in the grand scheme of things, but a shock compared to this morning...may need a sweater tomorrow.

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