Getting the Food You Want

When the DH and I first arrived to China, we lived at the Shijiazhuang airport. Being an airport located in the middle of cornfields, there were not a lot of dining options. We learned to order one dish – yu xiang rou si – and then proceeded to eat it daily. (Both because it was easy to order and we liked it that much.) Our food vocabulary has improved since those early days, but I still feel ridiculously unprepared when entering a restaurant.

How to Order Chinese Food and Like a Local are two lifesavers for the newly-arrived or the Mandarin-challenged.

How to Order Chinese Food will show you tantalizing photos, accompanied by a description and the Chinese name in pinyin and characters. There is information on regional cuisines, ordering guides by type of food and a glossary. Thanks HtOCF! Where were you two years ago?!

Like a Local shares pictures and descriptions of delicious street food around Shanghai (and has the cutest header graphic ever!). I don’t live in Shanghai, but if I did, I would keep a close eye on this site. Still, it is helpful for others in China as some of the food is similar. For example, all summer the DH and I devoured huge quantities of these little guys:

Crawfish!

Yumm! Crawfish! Or as some people call them, crayfish. Anywho, from this post, I learned that crawfish are called xiǎo lóng xiā 小龙虾 in Chinese, which translates literally as little dragon shrimp. Something about that makes me happy. I like eating little dragons. I like eating!

**Update** Thanks to Kunzilla for pointing out that lóng xiā actually means lobsters, so crawfish are known as little lobsters. I still like eating little lobsters.

Like a Local also gives advice on how to order in Chinese and what the waitress will possibly say to you. There is also a valuable post on buying fruit from street vendors and how to avoid being cheated.

Scrolling through the Like a Local blog, I have come to realize it is my dream come true. Now, if only I were in Shanghai to enjoy this street food every single day!

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8 Responses to “Getting the Food You Want”

  1. Tyler Says:

    yu xiang rou si-Is that fishy pork? I dream about that tasty dish even to do this day.

  2. global gal Says:

    Fishy pork! Yes! We were connoisseurs. Fishy pork at the Mongol’s, fishy pork at the Russians, fishy pork at the Kwik-E-Mart. When I eat it now it is never quite the same!

  3. kunzilla Says:

    “Fishy pork” is actually a south-west “dish” and i use the word carefully becuase, well, the Chinese use bowls most of the time, hehe. My aunt makes a killer fishy pork, it’s all in the sauce, ;).

    as for xiǎo lóng xiā 小龙虾, well, the direct translation is actually “little lobsters.” Lobster is lóng xiā 龙虾 in Chinese, don’t ask why it’s call that, it just is.

  4. global gal Says:

    I tried to make yu xiang rou si at home once, with a spice packet from the supermarket and it was awful. I’m not much of a cook!

    Thanks for the real translation. As I said, I don’t speak Chinese. I like the little dragon shrimp translation better, though I guess it is important not to mislead everyone! 🙂

  5. kunzilla Says:

    i must say that i enjoy reading your entries, glad i can be helpful, haha. with the packets the supermarkets sell, it’s pretty easy to make fishy pork, maybe you just need to follow the instructions more.

  6. waltzingaustralia Says:

    Thanks for the link to “How to Order…” I love China and I love Chinese food. I figure this will be useful on future trips as well as in my hometown Chinatown.

  7. www.foodthatheal.info » Getting the Food You Want Says:

    […] global gal wrote a fantastic post today on “Getting the Food You Want”Here’s ONLY a quick extractHow to Order Chinese Food will show you tantalizing photos, accompanied by a description and the Chinese name in pinyin and characters. There is information on regional cuisines, ordering guides by type of food and a glossary. … […]

  8. chinkerfly Says:

    This might be helpful for the people who live in Chongqing or Sichuan ~ (moving soon to its own server) Discover Chongqing: Dining (Budget)

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