More from my China trip: the food of Shanghai!
I said I’d tell you more about the restaurants of Shanghai, and it’s certainly a more interesting topic than traffic!
I am always very well entertained and well treated on my visits. Food is such an important part of Chinese society and business relations and I am certainly happy to be the benefactor! There is such a wide variety of restaurants and dishes as each part of China, even down to districts within a region, has its own particular cuisine.
The vast majority of Chinese food that we are used to in the UK is based (quite loosely) on the cuisine of Guandong near Hong Kong and is quite sweet compared to the more robust, salty food of the north or the spicy, piquant food of Szechuan in the South West. It amuses me that when I am sat with staff from our suppliers, who usually hail from many different parts of China, they will often comment that the food we are eating is not hot enough for them (Hebei natives) or too sweet (Shandong natives) and they will always claim that the food in their region is the best!
I have to say that Shanghai food is one of my favourites – I love the shrimp and pork dumplings that the area is known for but on this trip I have also had some delicious fish, pork belly, seafood and countless other dishes (including frog – and yes it does taste much like chicken).
On a footnote, my Chinese has unfortunately improved very little over the years as there is usually at least one person around who speaks good English and will translate to everybody. However, last night we found ourselves in a situation where, between four of us, there was very little common language. The solution? Lily, one of the staff I was having dinner with, Facetimed her boyfriend who currently works at a restaurant in London, so that I could chat with him and he could act briefly as interpreter from thousands of miles away! Quite a surreal experience and one that I’m sure Lily’s boyfriend wasn’t expecting.