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Before I left, Trinity asked me to take pictures of real Chinese food. Let’s be honest, I would have wanted to photograph the food either way, so I was only too pleased to have a valid excuse to do so. The words: “Wait! Don’t eat that yet!! My six year old daughter wants to see pictures of the food,” were frequently uttered. I’m thankful to those who ever sat at my table for not only humoring me but for soon checking “Did you get that yet? Do you want this one?” before diving their chopsticks in.

To say we were well fed is an understatement. From the local neighborhood restaurant near the orphanage to upscale places where we felt under-dressed (and everything in between) we enjoyed an amazing variety of delicious dishes. I could post a hundred photographs of the meals we enjoyed but I promise I won’t because no one would find that interesting but me. 😉 Here are just a few of the dishes we feasted upon:

Sweet bun filled with sweet red bean paste and congee for breakfast:

Some kind of potato dish, for which, Bullet (our guide and a long-time family friend) worked his magic and produced a recipe from the restaurant. 🙂

Candied sweet potatoes:

Sizzling Shrimp:

Eggplant: We had many different dishes of eggplant throughout the trip. All of them were excellent. 

Kung Pao Chicken:

Peas with tofu:

Shrimp and Celery Salad:

I don’t remember what type of green this is, water spinach maybe…but it was good:
Beef with a variety of mushrooms:

Not to be forgotten is the tea that is equally as delicious as it is beautiful:

As if we hadn’t been spoiled enough, our final meal of the trip was an elegant Peking Duck dinner.  We found ourselves at one of Beijing’s two oldest and most famous restaurants. The English name for it is ‘1416’ named for the year it was established. The historical hutong building where it is located has recently had a multimillion dollar makeover. It was beautiful outside…

…as well as inside: I wouldn’t mind having their place settings either:

And we haven’t even gotten to the food yet. The ‘appetizers’ leading up to the duck included:

Mashed sweet potatoes with blueberries (These will be on my Thanksgiving table this year!):Tofu and the best seaweed I’ve ever eaten:And delicacies like these:

There were many others, all amazing, but the star of the show is, of course, the Peking Duck. After the head is removed it is carved into thin slices, plated, then served in a pancake with plum sauce, fresh cucumber, and spring onion slices.The crispy skin, juicy savory meat, crunchy fresh cucumber, sweet plum sauce, and slight bite of the spring onion offer a wonderful balance of flavors and textures. It was an outstanding send off dinner!

I was thankful for all the biking, walking, and hiking we did! (I DO have to fit into a fancy dress for Andy’s upcoming business conference in Scotland and I DON’T want to go shopping for a new dress!) You can probably expect some future posts on attempts to recreate some of my favorite dishes from the trip. The tone will either be elated, triumphant, success, or humorous recountings of total disaster. My  money is on the disaster but at least it will be fun. Hey, you never know. Maybe I’ll strike upon something great! If not, I can revisit this post and dream longingly of the day I’ll be able to return to China and bring Trinity along for some of that great real Chinese food.