Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Dumplings and the Street Corners
The guide books had warned us that crossing the street in China was the most dangerous part of visiting the country. In the rush to modernize the city crosswalks and little flashing signs were installed, but they didn't seem to be acknowledged by the drivers. Maybe it is because so many of the Chinese are new drivers? I will never know.
When it came time to cross the street you had to first wait for the light to flash for you, then look both directions for turning cars, then wait for a few folks to blow through the red light, then finally, look for your nearest Chinese. Sidle up next to them and goose step across the street, exactly in pace with the unsuspecting crossing guide. It didn't matter if it was a small side street or a boulevard the process remained the same.
After the stress of crossing the street we would usually be hungry. And, at any rate, needing to kill some time before attempting another street crossing. Let the heart rate come back down. It was at just such a moment when we stumbled upon our first dumpling place. In a small, simple room a woman was making stuffing and folding dumplings while her husband steamed them. The table outside was filled with young people drinking large TsingTao beers and enjoying steamers filled with plump dumplings. As soon as 2 chairs opened up we slid it, ordered 2 steamers and a beer, poured some dark soy and vinegar into our dipping bowl and set to work. The first bite was perfect. The soft dough split away to the juicy, meaty filling. Each dumpling was a 2-biter. At a $1 for 9 dumplings it was a travelers deal! Of course we ordered more.
We enjoyed the dumplings repeatedly! Each time searching out a small, busy, hole in the wall. We were never disappointed.
This sign makes me laugh every time I look at it. This was at a cafe at the Summer Palace. Any translation ideas?
Please remember to Eliminate the Meat String of Summer whenever possible. Thank you.