Food, Food, Food: China Edition
For my Beijing trip, I was only there for less than 70 hours, so I wasn't quite as concerned as my Japan trip-- foodwise. I didn't pack nearly as much emergency foods. I knew that I would mainly be eating in restaurants, so I figured I'd have control over my gluten, dairy, peanut and banana intake. I also figured that while in China, I needed to just go with the flow. To my surprise, it was quite easy to stick to my diet and the food was always very tasty.
On the first night, I had an early dinner at the hotel's main restaurant, which had both Asian and western options. I started with the egg white soup with shrimp and scallops. For the main, I had a Thai beef salad. Whenever I'm super jet lagged, I tend to have a much smaller appetite and soup and salad was the perfect light option.
Every morning, I had the exact same breakfast: congee with pickled vegetables, fresh fruit, two hard boiled eggs whites and a coffee with soy milk. This is actually what I try to eat every morning when I'm on the road, both personally, at a race or for meetings.
I was actually pretty pleased to stay with my normal foods. The hotel had a massive breakfast buffet and 95% of it was foods that I was super confused by and couldn't understand how you could eat for breakfast. Lots of fried, rich and heavy foods. And things I couldn't identify. That's why once I found the congee, fruit and hard boiled eggs, I stuck with it every morning.
On Monday night, I ate with my athletes at their hotel (about five minutes away from my hotel). We were all just too tired to put in any effort to find somewhere else to eat. Their hotel restaurant had a massive menu. We kept picking things but the waiter would tell us it wasn't available. This went on for awhile until we all basically ended up with vague resemblances of what we wanted. I got a beef and vegetable dish and ordered what I thought were grilled green beans on the side. Instead, they were hot peppers. I don't shy away from spicy foods, despite my Crohn's, and these peppers turned into an eating competition. I definitely lost but still managed to get down quite a few. I think my mouth is still burning.
On the final night, I ate at my hotel's Asian restaurant. It was pretty large and wide open. I was lame and arrived at about 6:15pm; I was the only person there. They had me sit front and center in the middle of the restaurant. Let's just say I was left feeling a little exposed and awkward.
I fell in love with this crab/lobster picker that came with my place setting. So adorable!
For dinner, I ordered a mushroom soup in a super basic broth. It was light and fresh. Then for my main, I had the seasonal hairy crab with asparagus and more mushrooms. I grew up in the mid-Atlanta US region, so crabs hold a close place to my heart. It was a fun experience but this little guy didn't have much meat. Definitely more work than filling! But the big plate of asparagus and mushrooms made up for that and I headed to bed satisfied.
After traveling to both China and Japan in the past two weeks, I would say that I preferred all the fresh fish in Japan over what I ate in Beijing. But I was impressed with the food I had in Beijing. I had heard such mixed reviews about dining in China. I'm sure it is very different in the rural areas, but Beijing was a win. I enjoyed trying all the new foods and I was glad that I could stick with my eat habits, both mainly gluten and dairy free along with loads of fresh fruit and veggies.