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Confused Desi Eats Spicy Food in China

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I like spicy food. Maybe because I am an Indonesian, maybe because I am an Indian; both contribute to the love of chili. Below piece wasn’t meant to be written here in the blog, I was keeping it as a personal reference or for the time when I write for a famous Indian travel magazine, but since it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen anytime soon, I am posting it here, hoping it would persuade them to give me a spot in their guest post column. That or to share eating options with my fellow Desi on where to eat spicy food in China.

Before I visited China, I had no expectation of their food. My besties never particularly mentioned any food from their hometowns. Even if it would be so so only, I didn’t care, as long as my historical curiosity is satisfied, I would be one happy traveler. So yeah, little did I knew I would have a gastronomical experience in China, from a sumptuous home cooked meal to drinking crab soup by a straw from a dim sum, treats by my bestiesbut alone I ate my share of spicy food to satisfy my Indian tongue.

Foreigner Friendly Green Chili Frog

Green Chili Frog

My first meal at the famous hutong. I had been walking up and down the alley for some time deciding where to eat. There were many interesting named restaurants, but I decided to try this one because they grew onions in the vase, maybe it was purely for decoration, but I was kinda hoping they would pluck it right in front of me and added as an ingredient into my food.

The restaurant was packed with foreigners. I was sitting beside a bunch of Indonesian girls, while on the other side there was a German couple. They have extensive choices of food and all sounds so nice. I settled with green chili frog. Frog is not so easy to find back home, also not something Hulk usually wants to share with. So here I shall indulge. It’s so dreamingly delicious. It was a cold day, but I stepped out with a full smile and warm body and heart and tummy. After being calm at a horrible dining experience the night before it seemed like a payback. Thanks universe.

Gong & Drum
Nan luogu Xiang, Beijing 100009

Cuisine: Yummy Chinese

A Taste of Shredded Beef with Chili at a Hutong

I came back to the same hutong the next day. The plan was to drink a Venti Peach Blossom Tea Latte, send some post cards and eat at the same place as yesterday (above) but at the last minute I went into the restaurant beside it because they kept inviting me in. They even showed me the menu and advised me what were their best dishes (there were thumb up gestures). I haven’t talked to anyone the whole day unless for ordering and paying; It felt like we were almost friends! So I went in, to my surprise, a part of the restaurant was covered with post it notes from the customers, it reminded me of Song’s Pad Thai at Phi Phi Island.  I ordered the shredded beef because I was missing Hulk. Awwww.. No awwww for me? Okay. I also pinned my name card there so people could see that Foreign Geek was there. #shamelessadvertising.

106 Nanluogu Xaing, Dongcheng District, Beijing

Cuisine: Chongqing

Pickled Frog Spicy Spirit Took Me to Could Nine

It’s a huge restaurant in a shopping mall, but it’s almost empty. I circled the mall to find a more reliable place to eat, but my heart was set to this one, because of the name, Spicy Spirit. How bad could it be? It has spicy in its name — Hulks words were ringing in my head. I sat down, ordered a yummy looking drink and the pickled chili frog dish. I mean chili frog was already yum, added pickle was even better sounding I waited and it came. I paid and wondered why there weren’t many customers? The food was delicious. Only the next day when I came back and needed to que to eat at the same place I knew why. The first time I came at odd hours (perks of being on holiday). This time the huge restaurant was packed with a waiting list. Thankfully, they could fit in dinner for one shortly after I que.

Spicy Spirit
1018 Changning Rd, Changning, Shanghai, China, Could Nine Mall, Shanghai

Cuisine: Szechuan

Xian Hot Pot Delight at Wangfujing

As a super fan of spicy hot pot meal, I wanted to try an authentic one and I got the chance in Beijing. There were two hot pot restaurants facing each other. I went into the humbler one (was running low on RMB). I ordered quail eggs, sweet potato and (again) frog. It came in a huge pot. It was obvious that the meal was meant to be shared. Oh well, it’s too late, so I sat there for more than an hour pacing myself to finish it. I did. It was oh so good!

I forgot the name 
APM Shopping Mall, Wangfujing, Beijing

Cuisine: Xiang

I hope this Four Things Friday/personal list helps you when you travel to China and wish to satisfy your craving for spicy food in China, but I suggest to ignore this list and keep a wide open mind instead. China has a huge range taste to indulge in, don’t miss all of it just because you have this awesome cheat sheet.

Do you try new restaurant when you travel or you do your research beforehand? Also, do you have a favorite Chinese cuisine of a specific region in China? Mine is Szechuan.

Four Things Friday

When in China eat away or as my BFF, N, would say, happy eating you all!

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