Published on:
November 7, 2018

by: Guest

A Foodie in Fuzhou!

This weeks blog comes from Teach China Graduate, India-Mae Alby, her second blog installment. She shares her experience of eating at local restaurants and trying new street food in her local area of Fuzhou.   

Cheap and Delicious!


I am gaining weight. No question about it. I take full responsibility; I don’t have to eat this good every day but it’s hard to resist cheap, delicious food!

Full disclosure: I’ve never really been a big fan of Chinese food. In England, I’d order egg fried rice or chicken noodle soup and that’s about it. I just thought it was greasy and bland. And it is, in England. Real Chinese food is quite different. I’ve had two bland meals since I arrived – everything else has been really flavourful and mostly enjoyable. One night I went alone to a restaurant called That One, pulled out my list of Chinese food translations and tried to order fried potatoes, green beans and dumplings from the menu. Got my potato (tu-do) and beans but my dumplings turned out to be this sickly-sweet soup with floating bits of coconut flakes(?) and tapioca balls, the kind you get in bubble tea. I’d ordered the wrong thing. It was honestly the least appetising thing I’ve ever tasted and I could only eat about three spoonfuls of it.

Fujian is all about Seafood…


Fujianese food is dominated by seafood, which upsets me as I dislike all seafood except cod, haddock, salmon and tuna. Too many times have I innocently bought non-seafood dishes only to find tiny fish cooked with my fried potato or seaweed mixed into meat. Fuzhou prides itself on the preparation of fresh fish. Walking down the street, you’ll see restaurants with tanks of live crab, salamander, fish, turtle, eel (and creepily still bullfrogs – why don’t they just jump to freedom?) on display. I’ve seen fathers wrestle live crabs into plastic carrier bags in Walmart and one lone giant fish sitting sadly in a large Tupperware box outside a hotpot restaurant I went to. I find all of this bizarre but then I also find it bizarre how British people mentally separate the fact that their chicken burger was once a live chicken that was killed, de-feathered, skinned, cut up, seasoned and cooked. They are much more upfront about that basic fact here and I kind of admire it.

Abandoning Vegetarianism, and no Cheese…


Chinese food heavily features meat, which was a problem for me when I arrived, as I had been a ( increasingly lazy) vegetarian for a year before I relocated here. I decided to totally abandon vegetarianism because I didn’t want to miss out on such a huge component of Chinese cuisine and I was also too lazy to research non-meat options and how to order them in restaurants. There are plenty of vegetables used in Fujianese cooking though, like fried cauliflower and green beans, which are always cooked with chilies. I’ve been cooking corn on the cob and pak choi at home, both of which are super cheap. My dairy consumption has largely diminished. There are no cheese aisles in the supermarkets. You’ll find a couple of brands of processed cheese called ‘Processed Cheese’ but no cheddar or Red Leicester or ricotta. You’ll find entire yogurt aisles here though, which surprised me. I’m keeping up my porridge addiction here, eating it with Nutella I bought in Hong Kong. Obviously, rice and noodles are an everyday thing here and I buy a meal of one or the other every single day. Eating out is so cheap and the food is always served very quickly, so I usually eat out after work.


My Staples…


My restaurant staples are Muslim places which serve amazing fried potato, beef and pepper noodles; scrambled egg, tomato and rice; and good beef-filled dumplings. No pork, obviously. And everything comes with a side of salty soup that you don’t really want but slurp up anyway. You know if a restaurant is run by Muslims because there will be Arabic alongside Mandarin on the shopfront. There’s an amazing beef noodle soup place near my workplace which I go to at least once a week. On Saturdays and Sundays, I must be at work for 8.30am so instead of making breakfast I buy baozi during my 10-minute walk. It’s oily and crunchy on the bottom but soft and doughy on top, filled with seasoned spring onion and maybe cabbage? It’s so good. My favourite breakfast stall also sells tea-soaked salty hard-boiled eggs for about 15p each. It costs me 4 kwai, or about 40p, for two of those bread-like baozi.

Fast Food Options…


Ridiculous. Worryingly, I’ve developed a taste for Dicos, a Chinese fast food restaurant. The fried chicken is seasoned so well and you get packets of chili powder to sprinkle on your chips. There’s also a great Roger Moore place in the mall by my apartment. ‘Roger Moore’ is a very British nickname for the Chinese meat sandwich, rou jia mo. This Roger Moore place in the mall has vegetable, beef and pork options and I’ve only had the pork one because it’s so flipping good. There’s no bread, it’s like two discs of (super oily) flaky filo pastry encasing an abundance of pulled pork. I’m trying not to eat it too much because it will certainly contribute to an early death but resisting it is difficult.

TL:DR – I am enjoying eating here. I haven’t cooked much. I have little desire to resist delicious cheap food!


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