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When people ask me about my recent trip to China, many of them ask: What do people eat in China? Well, lots of things. First off, really none of the things you can find in Chinese restaurants in America – and if they have them, chances are they taste very differently. Secondly, many, many more parts of the animal than we usually eat in the Western world. So, I decided to start a series about different types of Chinese cooking, dishes in China, and Chinese restaurants in China. I’ll get to the crazy delicacies like chicken feet and hundred year old eggs eventually, but let’s kick it of with one of China’s most famous dishes that is suprisingly not all that well-known in Europe or the US.

What Do People Eat in China? Braised Pork Belly = Hong Shao Rou

Why is it so famous? Well, it was Mao Tse-tung’s favorite dish. Basically, it’s pieces of pork belly glazed with sugar and rice wine and cooked until the fat and pig skin turn super soft – probably one of the fattiest dishes you have ever eaten. As you can see below, there is a tiny bit of meat at the bottom, a large chunk of fat in the middle, and the pig’s skin on top. Being a little bit of a finicky eater (ok, a lot of a finicky eater), I have to admit that this dish did sound kind of gross to me… Pork skin?! But, it is one of Marco’s favorites when we travel to China, so I gave it a try. I mean, I like bacon and it’s basically from the same cut of meat. Guess what… it actually tastes really good! It’s really juicy, full of flavor, and super soft. I wouldn’t advise eating a lot of it since it’s really heavy, but give this dish a try next time you’re in China. That is, if you are a meat eater… which I can probably assume given that you didn’t stop reading quite a few sentences back 🙂

On our recent trip to Guangzhou, our friends took us to one of their favorite places whose name unfortuntly escapes me at the moment. Here’s how they serve Mao’s ultimate favorite:

Mao's Favorite Dish

Mao's Favorite Dish

 

 By the way, did you see the noodles in the backround of the first pic? Remember how I mentioned communicating in China is not that easy if you don’t speak Chinese? I know, insert big duh here… Anyways, these were the noodles that I ordered as my “safe dish” based on the menu pictures. Well, they didn’t picture the fish eggs (which I detest) they were coated in 😉 Luckily, there were plenty of other delicious dishes for me to feast on.

 

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