Mmmmm Macau!

Mmmmmmm….Macau. More about the country/Special Economic Region aka Casino later. First, on to the food!

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As a former colony of Portugal , the European influences are obvious. Egg Tart meet Mouth.

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Going with the colonial theme we can sneak some Brazilian cuisine in there. Meat anyone?

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This simple pork on bread with Siracha is simple but great. These things along with Egg Tarts are ubiquitous in Macau.

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There exists a Thai-town in Macau , this restaurant had inexpensive , amazing , eats , prepared by a crew of authentic Thais. Sa-wat-dee! We were exhausted from wandering around town by this point . It was amazing to simply sit in air-conditioning, eat spicy food , and drink Beer Chang with Thai condensed milk coffee.

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There are also ample opportunities for grabbing fresh veggies. Also , check out that behemoth winter squash!

Yummy!

Turkey Day

Was Thanksgiving Day at Boxing Cat Brewery worth the 400 rmb?

Yes. yes it was.

Staff handled things really well , the interior ambiance was great ( love that fireplace) , we had little candles burning on every table , and most importantly there was tons of amazing food with free flow microbrews , wine , and spirits.

Highlights of the meal include: apple granola cobbler , pumpkin pie , bourbon cranberry compote (best cranberries of my life and I love cranberries) and of course the mash and turkey. I’m so happy the food was spot on American Thanksgiving.

Ah Shanghai! I’m thankful for you ( just not for my landlord).

Dear Idiots

Laws.
Rules.

As teenagers they all seem made to be broken. Some are stupid , arbitrary, and down right nasty. The longer I live in Shanghai , the more I come to despair at the utter disregard that a certain set of them receive.

Traffic Laws.

Tell that to my 18-year-old self speeding on the highway and I probably would have laughed.

After two and a half years of watching pure stupidity at wheels , I’ve come to hold traffic laws in a brighter light.

This one’s for you , Mr.Idiot on a motorbike.

Dear Moron,

I spotted you at the intersection of West JianGuo Rd. and 2nd Ruijin Rd. Do you remember me? Probably not as you were blatantly disregarding the red light in front of you ( it means stop!) and the pedestrians crossing the road. Perhaps you may recall the one blond head in the sea of black hairs. That was me.

You probably haven’t heard of the American saying used in my youth , “No Cop , No Stop”. But I’ll go ahead and inform you right now that only is applicable when in the middle of nowhere. In the kind of place where farm animals outnumber the people and the only thing in sight is corn , not in the middle of a city of 23 million people.

In your defence , you could have been trying to turn right and in China there is no stop on red rule before making a right hand turn. It would certainly be a great idea , and it would save us pedestrians a lot of grief but we pedestrians know that you drivers are in such a hurry to do such important things as ; gossip , play mahjong , chain smoke , and spit. These things are arguably more important than any grievous bodily harm that may come our way. However , you weren’t making a right hand turn! You were making a left hand on red through traffic! And it wasn’t a gun-it-on yellow kind of deal. That was a stale red light buddy. That’s why when the taxi almost slammed into you, and came to a skidding stop a meter in front of you because you were in the middle of the intersection , I laughed.

My pleasure quickly turned sour when you glared at the taxi while he honked his horn. Like you were being wrongly affronted , insulted, and accused. That simmering look you gave him could have sizzled the oil in my wok. That’s the point of time when I yelled, “F*ck you, You idiot! at you. I couldn’t stand that look you were giving him , Mr.Almost-Hit-Me-And-Then-Almost-Causing-Yourself-To-Be-Killed. Usually I would glare at the stupid taxi drivers too but not this time. I know you probably didn’t hear me ,and then anyways probably wouldn’t have understood , but it still felt good.

Your Biggest Fan ,

Roomaomao

It’s important to try to defend my walking/biking safety seeing as how the metro just turned into a war zone. It just got personal. Blood was shed. Yes, on the metro.

My good friend L-Dawg was just recently pushed to the ground hard enough to break her skin. A fellow rider knocked her down, and her knee struck the gap in between subway car and station platform. This fellow did not offer to help her up but instead an actual good Samaritan (too rare in China) gave her a helping hand. The pusher didn’t say a word to my friend , didn’t try to help , avoided her look , and slunk off with his tail between his legs to hide. Real great guy.

Will the traffic and behavior of the citizens of China ever change? Any fellow expats have comments on this?

Google imaged this photo
By Maciej Dakowicz
opentravel.com

Hong Kong Foods – Round Two!

Man , Cantonese fair won my heart over while in Hong Kong!
Be jealous everyone!

Boxing Cat Brewery Thanksgiving

The menu looks pretty damn awesome. Creamed Brussel Sprouts with Candied Bacon and Apples , what!?! Western foods in Shanghai have a way of letting me down though. At $64 USD a pop this meal had better be amazing. In any case I will try to get my moneys worth on the straight free flow wine , beer, and coffee. The beer at this microbrewery is very good. I’ll need like 10 of them at happy hour prices to break even haha.

Thankful for a bunch and eagerly awaiting this meal!

Instant Jealousy – Foods of Vietnam

Ahh Vietnamese cuisine. So good and so much I didn’t get to try. Cold region foods can seem so bland , lacking in spices , and rich , colorful tastes. Vietnamese cuisine is loaded with the tropical tastes : curries , lime , lemongrass , mint , basil , and that extra zing from fermented fish sauce.

Hanoi is a world-class destination for dining. It’s got it all. From fancy pants former colonial mansions turned gourmet restaurants to the Asian classic plastic blue chairs and coals on the street.

And home of the best Pho I’ve ever had in my life. A steal at a $1.50 a bowl in a hole-in-the-wall place with three things on the menu: Chicken Pho , Beef Pho , and Veggie Pho.

Yummy , let’s dive in!

Highly recommended places in Hanoi

Quan An Ngon

18 Phan Boi Chau Street.

A super bustling restaurant with outdoor seating under tarpaulin roofing. A guidebook hotspot but also popular with the locals , which is a good thing. The jumbo shrimp with lemon , and the fried frog legs are absolutely amazing.

Madame Hien

15 Chan Cam

Gorgeous setting in a former French colonial mansion. Pineapple duck alakazam! I spent $20 for two people with two beers but was going on the cheap side with veggie dishes. Still , compared to the $20 Bob Evans meal you’d get back in the States , it was amazing.

Now enjoy the photos!

Hong Kong – Food N’ Drink

I’m working on the write-ups! I swear! Things are just busy right getting back into the swing of the work schedule and the home-living chores needed to keep the cockroaches away. I’ll distract you with some pics of eating and drankin in HK. We didn’t have much time and ,dang, Hong Kong restaurants are expensive compared to Shanghai. Just wait for the Vietnam eating pics!

Fragrant Pan / Savory Pot

One great thing about living in a huge megalopolis is the amount of food needed to sustain the population. In a one block radius around my apartment the number of restaurants is on an order of magnitude higher than my college town and my parents suburban town put together. Not only the numbers of restaurants but also the range of different foods is fantastic. This is fine with me.

I’ve been thoroughly converted from a Western diet to an Oriental one. Back in my college town I was starved for good quality food. That “food” on campus was not cutting it. When the chance to visit a restaurant came up, my circle of friends and I would always head out to an Asian restaurant. Drive 50 minutes to get to the good Indian place? Sure! Half an hour to the authentic Korean restaurant , we’re down! Skip the burger and fries at Denny’s , give us Kimchi and Aloo Gobi!

Let me show you what I had for breakfast this fine Saturday.

Jealous?

Let me introduce you to a new-found favorite.

香锅 aka Fragrant Pan , Savory Pot , something like that. Translation can be a pain. Xiang guo sounds right in Chinese just awkward putting it into English.

Nestled in the basement of the SML (Sun Moon Light) shopping center where a previous post talked about the Taiwanese vegan restaurant are a ton of different Fragrant Pan restaurants. The competition is fierce right now with nearly every restaurant offering a 15% or 20% discount. The one Savory Pot that didn’t engage in the cut-throat price slashing was dead.

These restaurants have fresh ingredients sitting out buffet-style and it’s up to the customer to choose what things get cooked up. There are 4 different “zones” . A Zone has cheap, green , leafy vegetables going for 1rmb/ 50 grams . B Zone features slightly more expensive non-meat things such as mushrooms , tofu products , sliced lotus root , and others. C Zone moves onto different meats at 4rmb / 50 grams , and the final D Zone has shrimp , octopus , pigeon eggs, and other treats for around 6 rmb/ 50g.

Point at your favorite things , choose a spice level , and grab a seat. You are minutes away from a feast. A very affordable feast at that. How much could this giant bowl of lotus root , tofu , spinach , cabbage , shrimp, 2 types of mushrooms , dried yellow bean strips , cucumber , rice cakes, potatoes ,and winter melon cost? Try 66 rmb (Just a tad of $10) oh yea plus 3 bowls of rice and 3 free soft drinks. Could 3 people finish it? Nope.

This is one of the reasons I love China.

Photo of the Day – Awesome Restaurant Menu

Here is a super creative menu found on HuaiHai Zhong Rd. near Changshu Rd. It was posted on the outside of the restaurant and I walked right by it thinking “Odd , I’ve never seen a transportation sign posted on a wall before”. See , it’s cleverly designed to resemble the bus stop signs. It even has real bus numbers and the metro line 1 (which is nearby) represented. The next stop (HuaiHai Zhong Rd and Shaanxi Nan Rd) is viable. It’s only open closer inspection of the route name and the stop names that (if you can read Chinese haha!) one realizes these are style of dish and the name of the dishes respectively. Good Stuff!

Taiwan 7 Brother – Vegan Food!

While people here in China eat plenty of veggies and eat fairly well health-wise (barely any fatties here ) , it can be tough to be a vegetarian. While ordering tofu sounds like a good choice for the vegetable-oriented among us , keep in mind that small bits of pork and beef are almost certain to be included. Stir-fried spinach sounds good? Yes , but only if you like the small dried shrimp that comes with it. And to make matters worse pretty much all the meals you can get at a restaurant are bound to be cooked in oil that was used to cook meat , or the wok wasn’t cleaned off and animal oils abound in it.  Animal rights aren’t so hot here and people making the choice to not eat animals are pretty much limited to the Buddhist monks eating at their temples.

This may make matters tough for vegans/vegetarians planning on moving to or traveling in China. However , besides home-cooked options , there are a growing number of options available. Like I mentioned earlier , Buddhist temples are a sure-fire way of getting cheap , delicious, vegetarian fare but we have other places as well.

One of these places , recently discovered by me after a mention in That’s Shanghai , is Taiwan 7 Brother . Ohhh man is it good! The menu features a lot of veggie products designed to resemble meat and trick the eater into believing its  meat, inda like Morning Star veggie bacon and spare ribs,  as well as the just straight these are super tasty veggies enjoy dishes.

I sucked down the Spicy Numbing Tofu with fake pork , eggplant with pepper and carrot , and the amazing , thick , Shepard’s Herb ( Not exactly sure what that is ) Soup. The three dishes plus two bowls of rice hit the wallet for 60rmb (~$9.50) and was plenty to stuff two people . It’s a great find for those vegetarians , people who like good food , and people who are looking for healthy dining options ( the food was not loaded with oil like many restaurants here are known for doing ) .

Taiwan 7 Brother can be found at Dapuqiao Line 9 Metro Station’s SML basement found court. It’s tucked away near entrance #2 in the newly opened Taiwan Food Town near the 7/11 . Happy Eatings! (And be jealous all my Ohioan friends , mwhaha!)

Oh , and also in case you were wondering about the name. 7 and older brother are said  qi and ge , respectively.  Qige sounds like Vegan . Taa – daa!