I was fortunate recently to be interviewed by City Weekend Shanghai as one of "China's Best Food Bloggers" (thanks, City Weekend Shanghai!). You can read the entire thing here, if you're so inclined. While you're there, you might consider looking through some other articles (they did an entire week of food bloggers, for example) and maybe following them on Facebook. My favorite question of the interview was when they asked me to design my perfect day of eating in China. It was a tough call (who could choose?), but here's what I came up with:
I think I'd start my day with a steaming bowl of Wuhan's 热干面, one of the best breakfast-time noodle dishes in the country. Assuming I still have some room left in my stomach for a sweeter, cooler dish, I might head up to Inner Mongolia for a bowl of 酸奶炒米. This one has a lower profile in the country than 热干面, but it's still a delicious start to a big day of eating. All it is, basically, is cold butter, crispy millet puffs, and sugar. Can you imagine? It's completely decadent and well worth the guilt you might feel about eating a bowl of butter and sugar. When lunchtime rolls around, I would jet over to Chengdu to have one of my favorite dishes in all of China: 甜水面. Like many dishes in Chengdu, these thick, rough-hewn, slightly stiff noodles are topped with a fantastic málà sauce. That by itself would probably be tasty enough, but to make things even better, 甜水面 comes with a generous sprinkling of fat sugar crystals on top. The mixture of flavors and sensations is divine -- sweet, spicy, numbing, hearty -- it's very nearly a perfect bowl of noodles.
For a mid-afternoon snack, I would likely nibble on either Ningbo's 缙云烧饼, Kunming's 猪蹄, Xi'an's 柿子饼, Guiyang's 豆腐圆子, or Jiujiang's 油糍 (which happens to be the first Chinese street food I fell in love with). If I was feeling especially peckish, I might have two or three of those. When dinnertime rolled around, I think I would go down to Guangzhou and start with a bowl of 萝卜牛杂: cow organs and radishes in broth. It's a delightful mix of textures and flavors, especially if you like offal. Since that dish is pretty small, I imagine I'd have room for a little bit more dinner and would stop by Xi'an to get a big bowl of 羊肉泡馍. With its greasy mutton, dense steamed bread, and salty broth, this is a truly filling (and truly delicious) meal. At the end of the day, I think I'd want to finish in Harbin with a refreshing 马迭尔冰棍. This milk-flavored ice cream on a stick was brought to the city by the Russian Jewish population over one hundred years ago, and it is still as tasty as ever. I always like to end a day with something cool and sweet, and this one fits the bill to a T. That wraps up a wonderful day of eating in China. I'd go to bed happy and fat that night.So that's my perfect day. What would yours be, reader?