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Manuel

Fed up with Chinese food restaurants...

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liuzhou
I was wondering about more fresh vegetable items...look at statistics on asparagus growth in China. In much of Europe its a delicacy - I have not seen it in China so much, is it mainly exported?

No idea, but it's in every supermarket and market here. Bought some this morning.

I've never noticed China being short of fresh vegetables. In fact, they have a lot more than anywhere I have been in the west. Most markets consist of around 90% vegetable vendors, and people eat a lot more vegetables than most people in the west.

Even little kids and students pick out the vegetables from their noodle dishes by preference. I have never come across any of those "I hate greens" syndromes which are so common among kids in the west.

Just at the weekend I was in a seafood restaurant with a couple of people in their early 20s. They only ordered vegetables and said that a meal without a plate of greenery isn't a meal..I ordered all the crustaceans etc.

That said, meat consumption is undeniably on the rise.

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pprendeville

Having had a bad does of food poisoning last year [if you do a search for diarrhea on this forum you'll find quite a few of my posts come up :) ] I'm quite drawn to this thread. Back again but for 10 months this time and while I havent touched, and probably never will again, the street food and only eaten in what look like decent restaurants, I've ended up on the toilet again a bit too much. Wondering is there anything like a list of healthy option dishes that people could recommend to me or restaurants in the Haidian area that people can recommend? What would be good for breakfast also? I like 八宝粥. Is this healthy? Unfortunately, I am staying on campus and can't cook in my own room as it stated this on the contract. I would prefer to be able to but I'd better not take the chance of getting kicked out.

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imron

If you're going to be staying for 10 months, have you considered renting off-campus?

That way at least you'd have access to your own kitchen.

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WestTexas

U can eat breakfast and/or lunch in the school cafeteria. There will be dishes that are passingly healthy though you may have to look around a bit for them. You will probably get food poisoning once or twice, though. Also, some of the street food options are healthy and won't give you food poisoning. A baked sweet potato, for example, isn't very likely to give you food poisoning. Not saying it's impossible, but very unlikely. Same with steamed or grilled corn. I think grilled corn is a 东北 thing?

I think the lamb meat thing is overexagerrated. Lamb meat is fairly cheap and there's not that much reason to pass off other meat as lamb. You could also buy the lamb meat from muslims (real muslims, not just ones who are wearing the hats) because they have religious reasons to use proper meat.

I have been in China 4 years now, only gotten food poisoning once. That was from the school cafeteria where I work. I eat street food and in cheap restaurants all the time. Street food isn't any more likely to give you food poisoning than anywhere else. In fact, some people have argued it is less likely to, since you can personally inspect the 'kitchen' to see if it is clean and all the food is prepared fresh rather than possibly sitting around.

Breakfast is easy. Get a bowl of 粥, some 小菜/咸菜(various cold veggies you can get a little plate of), some soy milk, and maybe a boiled egg. All that stuff is healthy and available at pretty much any breakfast place. Certainly, the cafeteria at your school will have all of them. Cheap, too.

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ChTTay

"Unfortunately, I am staying on campus and can't cook in my own room as it stated this on the contract"

Which University are you at?

At Tsinghua, a few of my friends in dorms just bought themselves hot plates and a couple of pans. Just cooked in the room and made sure it didn't get too smoky to set the alarm off. Get yourself a small fridge and microwave then you're all set. At the canteen you can just buy rice when you need it.

I am pretty sure the fuwuyuan's all knew about this but just turned a blind eye as long as you didn't set the fire alarm off (don't let it get too smokey!).

As for breakfast, again in your room, ... instant oats, muesli, cereal, bread, yoghurt, fruit. All that would just require a fridge, maybe a kettle. If you were worried about cooking, none of that needs any real cooking so it should be fine. If you have a fridge you could also make sandwiches and stuff.

For eating out, I've had a few stomach issues on and off over the last two years. These days I just avoid anything too spicy and anything that looks too processed or the sauce will just be from a packet. What I mean by that is Chinese style fast food or food that's a bit too "gloopy" looking haha

As for the canteen, I generally avoided the "buffet" style stuff that was just sat around and bought stuff that they made in front of me. Either that or soup noodles (again, not spicy) that they pieced together. Also dumplings were never a problem for me.

Hope that helps!

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pprendeville

Originally, I had planned to rent of campus alright but when I saw the rooms here in Minda guesthouse I was pretty impressed and having electricity and WiFi included in the rent, a very good shower/bathroom, spacious and comfy bed it’s hard to move again.

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I’ve started eating zimizhou which I think is a fairly healthy option for breakfast on some days and I got some porridge for the room as well (just boild the kettle and add some water and milk). Good options I guess the baked sweetpotato and sweetcorn.

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I’m in Minzu uni. A friend of mine has done as you suggested so I think I will follow suit and pick up a hot plate at the weekend. I’ll just boild stuff so as the alarm won’t go off. Have a little fridge already so I got some yoghurts and OJ in there. Ya, hopefully they’ll turn a blind eye. I found some wholemeal bread. Strange English brand name – Bimbo. Nice though.

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langxia

It seems that you are at the east gate guesthouse ? Because the rooms at westgate do have fridges and you can also cook. (but that might have changed in the last year)

Btw if you are looking for a good canteen the best one is the one in a basement in the northern part of the campus. everything is prepared fresh when you order it.

I have been at Minda for two years and it really is a great place :) Enjoy it.

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ChTTay

If you've got yourself a fridge there are all kinds of cold options you can do. The hot plate just adds even more.

I would say, just make it easy for the fuwuyuan to turn a blind eye. Don't smoke up the place, don't leave uneaten cooked food, sauce etc all over the place, don't splash oil on the wall/floor. If you are clean about it, I can't see you getting in trouble for it.

I do think some places say "no cooking" in the accomodation contracts though so you should probably check. Might also be worth asking someone who has been in your halls longer to see if they know many people who cook or cooked in the past.

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pprendeville

took the last posters advice and got the hotplate. great investment. not making a mess. just steam veg and make soup and its great. stomach back to normal again thank God.

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Manuel

My university's cafeteria provides atrocious food, and the meals are exactly the same today as they were four years ago when I arrived (although they seem to have reduced the amount of salt). Every restaurant within a 20 mile radius provides the same oily/salty/sugary/MSGy crap. I am not going to be very diplomatic about this because I've grown up on a Mediterranean diet and I know what good foods is.

For the past year I've been feeling weak, tired, and generally low. Regular headaches and poor brain function had become the norm. I was having trouble focusing on my computer screen, and in class I always felt sleepy, although I was getting 8-9 hours' sleep. I was never in the mood to engage in physical activities.

On my last trip to Spain a month ago I did a thorough health examination, including a whole bunch of blood tests. The doctor told me that my iron levels were alarmingly low, and that was almost definitely the cause of my low energy levels.

Back in China I've revamped my diet: I've stopped eating out in general, completely removed all refined foods from my diet (white rice, bread, biscuits, cake, any type of soda) and any processed foods. I've also removed any type of sugar and foods containing added sugar. I am also leaning towards a vegetarian diet for reasons including the fact that beef is not always beef, and also on animal welfare grounds.

So basically I am cooking everything myself from simple raw ingredients because that's the only food I can trust. Everything else is rubbish. I am buying raw pulses (lentils, chickpeas, beans, etc), whole grains, raw nuts and seeds, etc on Taobao, and fresh fruit and veg from the local market. I know many of these are probably GM and are drenched in pesticides, but the quality of the food is certainly much better than what you get in any restaurant. By the way, my energy levels have gone through the roof after one month on this "diet", and I am only sleeping 6 hours a day, no coffee or tea either.

In my experience most restaurants (in any country) are more concerned about flavour and profit than their customers' health. It was said earlier in this thread that you need to spend more to get better food but I disagree: in a lot of expensive restaurants you pay for a posh venue, not for quality wholesome ingredients, which are actually very cheap when you buy them yourself! In the end it's all the same ubiquitous crap. Fine if you only eat out once or twice a week, but in China eating out seems more common than eating in, and that's a big problem.

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ChTTay

I'm surprised it has taken you four years in China to realize cooking at home is healthier :):):)

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Manuel

LOL, no, it didn't take that long, it's just that I didn't get around to it because was too busy doing a million other things. I also did a fair bit of location engineering work for two years, which meant staying at hotels a lot so I couldn't cook anyway.

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Sixpenny

I can't speak for China because I have never had an opportunity to travel there thus far. I can say however, that the United States is the same way as you say. There are some really horrible places to eat here. Then again there are more decent places as well. I think the very scenario is true for most anywhere a person might live. I would just aviod the places you're educated on, make the best possible choices you possibly could when faced with the "eating out" situation, and cook for yourself as much as possible :) That's what my family does. Some resturants are just off limits...know what I mean ! Wink ! Looks like you're already starting to cover your bases on the subject.

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Lanchong

If you want to find good food, have a look at http://www.dianping.com/ It has a lot of restaurant reviews, and you can filter by area and cooking-style, and rank by rating. You can also can get discounts at some restaurants by pre-paying.

After using the site for a few weeks, you'll find you know just as much about decent restaurants in your city as many locals.

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Silent

 

Every restaurant within a 20 mile radius provides the same oily/salty/sugary/MSGy crap.

Read here already many complaints about the MSG. I always assumed it was about processed foods. When it comes to restaurant foods, how do you know? To me it sounds strange. I may extrapolate a bit too much, but have the impression many restaurants (at least cheap, one person/family run ones, ) cook with 'fresh' ingredients. That is veggies and meat straight from the market instead of processed foods full of colorants, conservatives, taste improvers etc.  The cheap restaurants won't buy the best quality, but I think that is not necessarily unhealthy.

 

At hygienic end things are different. I've seen more then ones that veggies are washed an open sewer (river). Food may be prepared in bulk and may stand a bit too long without proper cooling. Reheating, if not served cold, is often insufficient to sterilize the food again.

 

About the oily/salty/sugary, I'ld say it depends on the dishes you order.

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abhoriel

I've had good experiences with smaller restaurants in China.. try the smaller restaurants which are filled with plenty of locals - they always know best :)

Also I've eaten loads of streetfood with no "adverse aftereffects" shall we say. As you can actually see the food being cooked, you know it's being done properly and not being left around for ages growing bacteria after cooking!

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trisha2766

What  do you all think about food in restaurants in hotels in China?  For the most part that's where we ate while there, a holiday inn in Beijing and a crown plaza in henan.  I thought the buffet food was very good but a bit disappointed that they had pretty much the same food everyday so I didn't get to try too many different things.  I got to try dragon fruit for the first time though!   There were other restaurants in the hotels but they were more expensive and the menus were all in chinese and I didn't know where to start and didn't want to take a chance of ordering something I really couldn't eat and losing that much money.   Hopefully there will be a next time and I'll know how to order better.

 

In guangzhou however the hotel buffet wasn't that great and had way too much western food there.  Otherwise we ate at either a Thai place or american place.  The american place had great homemade apple pie but I didn't come to China for that!  The Thai place was good but again, I really wanted more Chinese food.  We also ate at a subway there out of desperation one night. Tasted the same as at home.

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hutudekongfuzi

Have been living in China for a year now and this topic regularly comes up among expats, the general consensus being that we've all had better Chinese food outside of China.

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imron

You're eating in the wrong restaurants then :-)

No longer being in china, good northern style food is difficult to come by.

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OneEye

I think you're doing it wrong, if that's the case.

 

edit: imron beat me to it. But seriously.

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