Not much to talk about recently, suppose I’ll make this a food post with some other happenings.
Most recently last night we went to a Korean BBQ place that just opened and was offering 32% off. Why 32%? Because in Chinese that’s written 打68折 or “everything is 68% of it’s original price.” 6 and 8 are both lucky in Chinese culture, being homophonic with good words such as “get rich” (8=ba->fa) and “flow, luck etc.” (6=liu->liu). As a result, it’s customary in China do do things like start businesses, open shops/restaurants, get married etc. on dates with auspicious numbers in them. For example the Beijing Olympics started on August 8th, 2008. Stores and restaurants will then generally offer a 68% or 88% sale for a starting period, or a sale on the 8th day of each month etc. good things to look out for.
This marked the first time I’ve eaten Korean BBQ with a real Korean person (one of my classmates) so she took us through the steps. You basically order a bunch of raw food and grill it yourself on the flattop in front of you, one of my favorite ways to eat.
For what we ordered, you want to start with the thick cut bacon to get the surface nice and greasy, as well as start off with something relatively light in flavor. Then you move on to the plain and then marinated beef in order, of which we had two types, and then finally veggies to soak up all the meaty goodness, specifically mushrooms, eggplant, onions, and Chinese chives.
How you eat the meat was rather novel too. You’re supposed to put it on a lettuce leaf with some rice, miso, raw garlic, and green peppers to taste, then wrap it up and chow down. Delicious. Straight up eating it with your chopsticks is acceptable too. A veritable feast, and with the discount all for less than $9 American, gotta love exchange rates. The waiter kinda scammed us by bringing extra seasoning plates that nobody wanted without asking and charging 7 RMB (~$1) each, so after finding out we took our passive aggressive revenge by paying the difference in the smallest denominations of coins we had. The cashier was a little pissed and asked us to switch for bills, but we said we were out and left. The most passive aggressive I’ve been in a good long while haha.
Dessert was Shaanxi 13, a domestic craft ice cream place I think I’ve mentioned before. Super super good, all local ingredients, and some quite unique and surprising flavors. Last night I split a four-scoop thy consisted of orange soda, hawthorne, honeydew, and banana caramel vanilla. Sadly didn’t have room for the watermelon, which was new, or the walnut or peanut, which are two of my favorites and some of the best IMO.
In drink world, I discovered recently a place just a block from campus that ha a fantastic selection of imported beers for cheaper than you’d find them in the states, although somewhat expensive by local standards still. I’ve been three times and only tried new beers, which was hard as they also have some of my all time favorites. Highlights are probably the Inedit by German Damn brewery, a spiced malty witbier, and the Paeckle brewery Elegast quadrupel, which is just how I like my beers, sweet, strong, and smooth. Unfortunately the only stouts they had were at the upper end of the price range (Chinese palates don’t take to them so well I’ve seen), but there’s plenty there to keep me occupied.
Today I had bibimbap for lunch, which was not bad, but notable more for how it represents Xi’an’s international makeover. Chinese people generally enjoy Korean things, makeup, dramas, music etc, and food, although some less authentic restaurants try to appeal to the Chinese palate more by making dishes more savory.
Recently apparently there’s been a huge uptick in Korean restaurants in Xi’an, the street leading from my campus to the main boulevard has four alone. This is due to huge Korean investment in Xi’an as many companies, including Samsung, are opening offices here in the High-tech zone where I currently intern. As a result, the whole city is getting a much larger Korean population, part of which is opening restaurants, cafés, convenience stores you name it. Other parts of which are learning Chinese, I had a Korean classmate this past semester who’s husband had moved for work, and my friend was tutoring two Korean kids whose family had just moved here for much of the semester.
Lastly, we had a spa night when my roommate received three face masks from his Korean friend scented (flavored?) as blueberry, grape, and tomato. I got the tomato. And damn was my skin looking good the next day.