Hello Uncle Foreigner

pork rib

Dec 22, 2014

Snaps: Should your potatoes taste like bacon?

Yes. Yes they should taste like bacon.

Potatoes and bacon

We’re particular eaters with limited vocabulary, so we’ve established a fairly consistent routine for dinner. At Riverside Hot Pot we get the pork meatballs, at Pork Rib we get the pork rib, and at Beef Hot Pot we get the Dragon Boat. We add to this from time to time, when we’re feeling adventurous or when I get some new vocabulary. And occasionally, our restaurant owner buddies make some suggestions.

The woman who runs Around the Corner restaurant in Tai’an knows us pretty well, and the other night she gestured toward another table and said something about potatoes. We went for it, and the result? Homemade potato chips fried with cured pork. We have a new winner!

Oct 12, 2014

Our surprise friend

A local kid continues our education

We made a new friend who sat and talked with us at River Restaurant

This summer and fall have been particularly lovely in Luzhou: Not too hot, not too much rain and way more blue sky days than you’d expect from a country with such a problem with air pollution. So we’ve been finding every excuse to spend our time outside. And one of our favorite outside haunts, we’ve been referring to as the River Restaurant. (Formerly, My Birthday Restaurant, because the first time we were there was to celebrate my first birthday in China.)

A few weeks ago, we met a new friend — a bold 12-year-old girl who pulled up a chair and sat with us for about a half hour. We practiced a little English, but mostly she peppered us with questions in Chinese. Do you have children? Is New York the capital of America? The usual. She also gave me a rapid-fire lesson on the Chinese holidays; at this point Mid-Autumn festival was just around the corner. We took a photo with her, and she left, with a vague promise that we’d meet again someday.

And then we did see her again, just two days ago. Her home is near the very tip of the Luzhou city peninsula. She walked with us to dinner (this time at Pork Rib restaurant), announcing to the staff proudly that we were her 美国朋友 — American friends — and telling us that the staff were her 中国朋友 — Chinese friends. Then she flitted off into the wind once more.

Oct 4, 2014

September’s flavor of the month

It’s pork

Pork rib at the Kung Fu Bar

In addition to gallivanting around the north this summer, we’ve also made the most of our renewed time in Luzhou by exploring locally. And our latest gem, we found just as school was starting last month.

蜀南人家 is a restaurant decked out in a red lantern, old timey Chinese style — similar to Chinese Bar. “Kung Fu restaurants,” our friend Andrea calls them, which seems to be the new trendy thing. With waiters dressed up in a simple laborer’s costume, woven baskets on the walls and earthenware jugs full of preserved foods, there’s a definite theme element to the presentation. We think it’s fun, and these restaurants are certainly popular among the people of Luzhou. Is there an element of cheese to it? We don’t know. But, our grandparents would find this all very familiar, Maybell told us.

While Chinese Bar’s food is nothing special, 蜀南人家’s is phenomenal. Our first night there, our server advised us that the pork rib rack was the house specialty, so of course we had to get it. And it came out: an actual shovel full of spice-smothered, Flintstones-big arc of meat so tender that we could pick it apart with our chopsticks. We raved to each other as we ate, and celebrated Peter’s now fully carnivorous lifestyle.

And then, we went back five times in four weeks.