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Posts Tagged ‘Food’

今天又去了民宝火锅城,想起来第一次去多么麻烦。菜单上的汉字大部不认识,服务员说的话也不太明白。“点菜吗”,她问了。“我想吃一种东西,可是我不知道它叫什么”,我回答。“这个东西呢,是黄色、圆的……球……好像是用面做的”。服务员没明白,于是我又说了几遍,哈哈大笑地做手势。她终于问“求切半,对吗?”我没听清,可是已经说了半天,所以只点了点头。随后她把菜端过来,其中居然有我想要的面筋。成功了!

第二次去,点菜没有那么难。菜单上找到了面筋,就指了指给服务员看。“面基、面近、面什么?”我问她了。“面筋。”成功了!

我今天对菜单很熟悉,自信十足地说“麻酱、炸豆皮、土豆片、白菜、鸡毛菜、粉丝、腐竹、面筋。”成功了!

上面有错误的话,请帮我指出来。

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English translation below.

好久没有用中文来写。现在放假,同学们都走了,留下我一个人。我来北京五个月了,天天都上课我的汉语水平提高了不少。我因为期末考试考得不错,所以可以跳班了。如果我跳班我会觉得难一点,可是那样我的进步会更大。这是学习的事情,当然还发生了很多其它事,所以我想写下一些我的经历。

我对北京的生活早就习惯了。空气污染、危险的交通、难吃的面包,在北京遇到这些困难,不过好东西还很多。我特别喜欢的是中国菜,又便宜又好吃!瑞典饭店的菜差不多都有肉所以我很少去,可是在这儿大多数饭店有好吃的素菜。我最喜欢的一些菜是家常豆腐、香辣土豆丝、鱼香茄子、炒面、老醋花生米等等。

北京菜好吃,可是我不喜欢北京的面包。在瑞典面包外面硬、里面软。在中国呢?面包的外面和里面都软!包装上印着“有牛奶!”,可能这是主要原因之一。一般面包不应该有牛奶,我不知道为什么中国人喜欢这种面包。我很想念瑞典的。

中国的谦逊很有意思。这个“哪里”听起来很假的,但我被影响了。有人夸奖我的汉语时我一般说“还差得远呢”,可是我有时候感到不舒服,什么也说不了。有一次一个瑞典人夸奖我,我一下子回答“不是,我没有什么”。以后我就觉得很奇怪,在瑞典说谢谢就行了,说“我没有什么”太谦逊,其实有点不礼貌。

我最快乐的事是私事,不过现在我想让大家知道。我来北京以后很快就爱上了一个天使。她是我的同学,又聪明又漂亮。去香山、做面食、看黄金甲、过圣诞节都是跟她一起的。我们已经在一起四个月了,能当她的男朋友我非常自豪。现在她回越南去了,我当然很想她。我不应该写下来一封情书,我只想说:清娥,我爱你! Thiên sứ, anh yêu em!

My classmates have all gone home over the holiday, leaving me alone in Beijing. I’ve been here for five months now, attending class every day, so my Mandarin has improved quite a bit. I did well on the final exams so if I want to I can jump up a level. It will get harder if I do, but that way I would be able to improve even more. These are school matters, there have been a lot of other things happening too of course and I’d like to write down a few of my experiences.

It didn’t take long to get accustomed to life in Beijing. Air pollution, dangerous traffic and bad bread, these are a few of Beijing’s downsides, but the positives outweigh the negatives. I especially like Beijing food, it’s both inexpensive and tasty. I very seldom eat out in Sweden, since as good as all dishes have meat. Here however, most restaurants have good vegan food. My favorites include jiachang tofu, fried thin potato strips, sweet & spicy eggplant, fried noodles and peanuts in rice vinegar.

Beijing food may be good, but I do not like the bread. In Sweden bread is hard on the outside and soft on the inside. Here, however, it’s soft inside and out! The packaging says “CONTAINS MILK!” and perhaps this is one of the main causes. Bread shouldn’t generally have milk, I don’t know why the Chinese like this kind of bread. I really miss Swedish bread.

Chinese modesty is very interesting. The standard reply to praise, “where do you get that?” (literally “where?”), sounds very put on, but I’ve also been influenced by it. If someone praises my Mandarin I usually reply “it’s still far from good”, although sometimes I’m too uncomfortable to say anything at all. A while ago a Swedish person complimented me and I instantly replied “oh no, I’m nothing”. Afterwards I thought that was very strange as in Sweden saying “thank you” suffices. Saying “I’m nothing” is too modest, even a bit impolite.

The most joyous matter is a private one, but at this point I’d like the world to know. After arriving in Beijing I very soon fell in love with an angel. She is my classmate and is as intelligent as she is pretty. Going to Fragrant Hills, making pasta, watching Curse of the Golden Flower, celebrating Christmas, we did all of that together. We’ve been together for four months now and I am very proud to be her boyfriend. She’s gone home to Vietnam now, so obviously I miss her a lot. I don’t mean to write a whole love letter, I just want to say: Nga, I love you! Em đẹp lắm, anh yêu em!

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Chopstick pasta

Today I once again made pasta, with real pasta this time! A little bird whispered in my ear that you can actually eat pasta with chopsticks… I’m just writing to tell you all that it’s true, who would have thought?

Yes, that’s a knife and fork on the table. Yes Emil, the V-sign is just to spite you. No Carl, the ketchup is not just there to spite you.

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I can’t believe it’s not pasta!

Since I have mid-term exams next week I need to spend a lot of time on elaborate cooking experiments instead of studying. In Sweden I often make pasta (spaghetti or macaroni) with some tasy sauce. Yesterday I accidentally made something resembling pasta sauce when I used a kind of tofu that disintegrated into small pieces much like the soy granulate I use in Sweden (which in turn imitates ground meat). Therefore, today I set out to make pasta!

Making the pasta sauce was simple enough, I used onion, garlic, tomato, disintegrating tofu, ketchup, pepper, bouillon and parsley. However, my local store doesn’t have any kind of pasta, so I ended up buying a type of noodles. After all, the ingredients and shape are the same… Actually, the Chinese really like to claim all kinds of inventions as Chinese, and pasta is no exception. Allegedly, Marco Polo saw noodles in China and brought back the concept to Italy. As of recently, however, we can all consult Wikipedia to learn that this is not true (if we understand English anyway). Nevertheless, using noodles as pasta kind of works.

Eat me!

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Don’t worry mom

Since my previous food related post, I’ve actually succeeded at ordering vegan food every time. Today I went to eat dinner without any friends or dictionaries and still succeeded to communicate my wishes. There weren’t even any pictures in the menu! My standard phrase is now 《我什么肉也不吃,你有素菜吗?》 and it hasn’t failed yet. The problem now is rather that my diet isn’t very varied, I mostly eat tofu and rice. I just moved to an apartment of my own, so I should start making food myself to get a bit of variation (in terms of taste and nutrition). Just thought I’d share…

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Shit happens, repeatedly

The initial success with getting vegan food seems to have been beginners luck, I haven’t done so great lately. Every time that I’ve seen the actual food or a picture of it, I’ve succeeded, but every time I’ve only had a menu and a waiter to consult, I’ve failed. Twice I got stuff with egg in it because I only asked for a vegetable dish (素菜). Today, I really confirmed that what I ordered (常家豆腐) didn’t have meat or eggs. After eating a while, I thought that the taste of the white meaty-looking stuff was familiar. I think it was chicken. Either it was a miscommunication or chicken isn’t counted as meat (). I thought a bit about asking what it was and why they had said that the dish had no meat, but I chickened out (no pun intended). I can’t keep failing like this, so I should learn how to ask what the ingredients are and to give a complete list of things I don’t want (meat, bird, fish, egg, milk).

Cooking at home is much safer, but not as fun. The grocery stores actually have lots of cool stuff that we don’t have in Sweden, the most useful being tofu in different shapes, forms and tastes. At the store today I was looking at the bread (not the western kind, more like buns that you steam cook) and the people behind the counter were repeating the same thing a few times until I realized they were addressing me. I just gave them a surprised/confused look and kept on looking. A while later I came back and one guy came up to me and asked me the same question again. I figured he was asking if I was looking for something so I said that I was just taking a look. He went back behind the counter and the others asked him if I had understood. He said I had not. They all seemed somewhat amused and I pretended not to notice.

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BeijingMUD

Beijing is actually a MUD (online text adventure game)! Almost all the streets run in east-west or south-north direction and the signs in the intersections are marked with east/south/west/north. The city planners obviously thought in terms of a MUD, thousands of years before those silly computer science students. My route to school is south, east, south, east, south, south, south.

Walking takes about half an hour. The taxi drivers don’t know where anything is and air pollution is a big problem (today is the first day that the sky is blue since I arrived) so I think I might try the bus.

I got the results of the placement exam today and had a small oral/written test and it seems I’m going to be in the beginners level 2 group, which is about what I had hoped for.

I also failed miserably at ordering food today. I went to a restaurant and asked for tofu, having come to believe it’s a magic word. I selected one of the two tofu dishes by guessing. Did I want a bowl of noodles too? Well… OK. WRONG! The noodle soup also had plenty of meat, which didn’t look very nice even as meat goes. I wasn’t sure asking for another bowl of noodles without meat would be of any use (in hindsight, this may not be true), so I just ate the noodles and left the meat. Neither the noodles nor the tofu was very good, so I bought some kind of panfried bread on the way home which tasted better (even if the nutritional value is questionable).

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Lesson 1: food

The first order of business is to not die, and therefore food. After registering at BLCU today it was way past lunch and I was very hungry, so I went to a local restaurant. I asked if they had tofu (你有豆腐吗?, thank you Jun) but they didn’t. They did however realize that I wanted some vegetable dish and showed me the menu. Since explaining that I don’t eat meat or fish (which were swimming next to me) didn’t deter them, I ordered something that looked vegan enough. Tea was served with the food, but since I was thirsty and hot I asked to have some water too. Much to my surprise, the water was even warmer than the tea. I though this was simply the custom, but was later told it’s because the tap water is undrinkable, so they boil it first. After eating, I went to buy a bottle of water.

I tried my luck at the food game again some hours later and went to ask at a street stand if they had tofu. They didn’t, but once again this resulted in me being shown the vegetarian options. Paying was interesting… the price was 1 yuan, but I tried paying with a 1 jiao bill, which is 0.1 yuan. To add to the confusion, the jiao is called mao in speech, so reading on the bill is of no use. Anyway, a child explained to me and I was able to pay for the meal in full.

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