Once my gut told me to stop and my brain told me to go. My heart said nothing, it was beating too fast to give impressions. A few moments later I was sliding on the asphalt. Close but no cigar. Cycling always gave me a rough ride. 

Chinese restaurants or the joy of a random pick

Resume of the day where "we" is my flat mates: Marla, Georgia, Aaron and myself. 

The first days I arrived in China there was no way to read a menu in a restaurant.  80% of the time it was all in Chinese.  On a lucky day it had 3-4 photos. Those would be our picks. 

After 3 weeks, there is still no way to read a menu, and the chance it's all in Chinese is now 95% as we avoid the tourist-friendly main streets.  On a lucky day the restaurant actually has a proper menu. 

So we go for a random pick.  Absolutely random.  Yesterday after trying to go see a movie at a cinema we went to a small fancy looking restaurant in the back streets of a busy neighborhood. Most of a time there is a main street, crowded, looking like this:

There are heaps of medium priced shops, mainly restaurants, small super markets and tobacco stores along the side walks. 

But if you take a right or left turn, depending on which way you're going, you're in for a journey.  Within 100 meters, you'll go from high end German automobiles to wheel barrels.  The main streets are the showrooms of China.  Everything looks nice: last gen cars, nice roads, very few apparent electric cables, trees all over, you name it!  If I was told I'm in Europe I'd buy it.  

So time to turn right.  Or left.  

A restaurant, a fruit store & electric cables hanging from all over the place. A typical back street in China. 

Not looking any better. 

A sky scraper as a continuity of a house falling to pieces.  Wealth and misery few steps apart. 

Not the most appealing street. 

But it can get worse. N.B: This picture was purposely taken with real light conditions and therefore is dark.  Shot on a late afternoon, over an hour before the sunset.  

But it can get worse. N.B: This picture was purposely taken with real light conditions and therefore is dark.  Shot on a late afternoon, over an hour before the sunset.  

The nice thing is, no matter how bad it looks, I've always felt in security.  Perhaps being tall in a country where people aren't is a part of it.  Nevertheless, people don't seem harmful. 

Back to the topic.

In one of these streets, we like to simply walk into a restaurant, any.  Yesterday we fell for a fancy looking one.  Mistake #1.  

With an exclusively Chinese menu, we went for random picks, my personal favorite.  

Mistake #2. 

Although the waitress spoke a word or two of English, we felt adventurous.  Menus are divided into sections: Soups, Noodles, Dumplings,  etc.  Needless to say, we don't even know what section we're going for.  The girls went for 2 dishes from one section.  Aaron and I went for an other section.

 Mistake #3.

The girls got noodles.  Nothing great but edible.  On the other hand, Aaron got some kind of steamed beans he had to peel to be able to eat, and it was clearly not a meal. 

Unseasoned Chinese green beans. 

After a good laugh, although I had a bad feeling about my dish as it was from the same category, it was my turn for the surprise. 

I got... whatever... See for yourself. 

Apparently we were in the Snack section of the menu.

STEAMED PEANUTS!! Their taste was something between a potato and a boiled chestnut.

Desperately, we both opted for a noodle dish from the same sub-menu as Marla & Georgia.  I went for the most pricey one hoping for beef or chicken, just something good.  20 RMB, barely over $3. 

I got rice, with intestine for meat..........

Tomorrow is an other day, lets hope bad luck doesn't strike again. 


On this day

My first gift