Food Adventures in China – Part 1

This was my first vacation while eating a Vegan diet. It was both easier & harder than I expected. Easier – I just don’t crave meat anymore, so I wasn’t looking at meat wishing I could have it. Harder – I don’t speak Chinese/Mandarin and most people don’t speak any English! That made it very difficult to know if there was any hidden meat or dairy in the food. Meat is easier to avoid, but Dairy was harder. I did the best I could, hoping I made the right choice, but understanding that I had limited information.

Starting with the plane – I actually ordered a Vegetarian (non-dairy) meal. I didn’t take a picture (packed the camera), but it was nothing to write home about. We had two meals & a snack – both meals were the same and there wasn’t a special snack. The flight attendants did find me some grapes & baby carrots, which was very sweet. Lesson learned: pack back-up food & snacks for the plane!

First Stop: Shanghai

I was a HUGE fan of Chinese breakfast at the hotel. Definitely not the traditional breakfast, but a fun experience in new flavors.

On the plate (clockwise, from left to right): some type of squash, Kelp Salad, Rice “Pudding”, Tofu Noodles w/Peanuts, Pickled Soybean Salad, Fried Noodles, & Red Bean Dumpling. I also drank a whole lotta hot tea, mmmmm….

Some scenes from the cit: View down the river from our hotel, a Stop sign in Mandarin, looking into a park, and view of the Oriental Pearl Tower. The Oriental Pearl Tower is apparently a symbol of the city (which I didn’t know about, honestly).

Lunch was at a beautiful restaurant with views overlooking the Bund. It’s also where I discovered the deliciousness that is Chrysanthemum tea. Shanghai is famous for these beautiful broth-filled dumplings called Xiao Long Bao. I had the (hopefully) veggie version that was filled with mushrooms, instead of meat. They were good, but just tasted like good dumplings to me. The greens were often stir-fried in olive or sesame oil, which was delicious! Probably not as healthy, but hey – it’s vacation!

Xiaolongbao

Image via Wikipedia

The mushrooms in China were awesome – so full of flavor and different varieties than I am used to getting.

Finally, my favorite dessert – Red Bean filled Dumplings! My mom used to bring back different dessert variations with Red Beans when she flew internationally (she was a Delta Flight Attendant) and I quickly became obsessed. I actually learned that Red Beans in the north are salty or savory, instead of the sweet ones that I love. Need to try those at some point.

After spending some time walking around the Bund, we headed to meet our friends (currently living in Shanghai) for the evening. It’s so cool to travel to a new city and have friends who live there!

We headed to a Brewery for dinner (I know, not Chinese – but we had plenty of authentic food the rest of the week). Limited choices, but I decided on this Meza plate with freshly made Pitas.

After dinner, we headed back downtown via Subway…

Kevin & Kirk posing on the Subway

To see the Bund lit up at night!

Oriental Pearl Tower @ Night

I *heart* Shanghai

To cap off a busy day in Shanghai, we enjoyed some Viognier at a little wine bar in the middle of a traditional looking part of town. I wish I could have gotten a good shot of the area, but it was so dark and nothing really came out. Instead, enjoy this picture of the wine. :)

It was a short visit with our friends, but we enjoyed every minute of it!

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