Friday 14 August 2009

China Trip Preview

I’ll be blogging about my recent trip to Shanghai and Beijing over the next few weeks. Before going away, I like to do a bit of a research on what and where I’m going to eat. As this was my first time in Shanghai, I did a bit more planning than usual.

The Chowhound boards are a good place to start but there are no photos and there’s just a bit too much 'one-upmanship' for my liking. Of the blogs, Appetite for China was invaluable - I just knew I had to check out the xiao long bao at Jia Jia Tang Bao and the sheng jian bao at Yang’s Fry Dumplings. For good fashioned print media, I found the Time Out Shanghai guidebook very handy.

Unfortunately, I had a minor disaster in Shanghai as some little street urchin nicked my camera and about 3 days worth of food snaps. Consequently, there won’t be any separate Shanghai restaurant reviews. Instead, I’m going to summarise my trip in three posts supplemented with a few snaps taken on my phone. Worse thing is you’ll have to read my crappy prose instead of drooling at photos of food !

I was a bit more lazy when it came to researching Beijing as I'm a lucky sod who gets to go there often. Having said that, one of the first things I did in Beijing was pick up a copy of Beijing Eats by Eileen Wen Mooney. This excellent book is a Beijing restaurant guide and a crash course in regional Chinese cuisine rolled into one. It’s not available in the UK and I bought my copy at the Foreign Languages Bookstore on Wangfujing Dajie. World Foodie Guide has a great review of the book as well as loads of top tips for Beijing.

Beijing is a great foodie destination and it's arguably the best place to visit if you want to sample lots of different cuisines from across China. I'm looking forward to sharing the best of my experiences.

One final point to consider is the use of English names for Chinese food in these posts. The names I use may not always match up to the restaurant’s English menu (if there is an English menu). This is because 'Chinglish' is still prevalent and the attempts at English translation often end up as gibberish. So where possible I’ll use the generally accepted English name for a dish but failing that I’ll try to describe the dish as best I can in English.

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