Adele reports from the Bamboo Road cycling tour:
No one can deny that the greatest perk of traveling by bike is the joy of filling the insatiable appetite of a cyclist. When bike touring in a new country, fulfilling that appetite becomes an adventure onto itself. From decadent hotel dinners with a dozen dishes to choose from to road side noodle stands, Bamboo riders have sampled a wide range of Chinese cuisine. Although the food changes from region to region, there are a few familiar finds on the dinner table, or breakfast for that matter as savoury flavours and spices are served up all hours of the day.
To start the day off you may begin with a simple congee, a rice pudding, jazzed up with meat, fish or vegetables, or perhaps just on its own for those looking for a more gentle start for the taste buds. A beef broth soup with noodles or dumplings is another classic at any hour of the day. Dumplings made fresh at the table next to you or noodles stretched or sliced minutes before they are served is a delicious hearty meal you can be sure to find in even the tiniest of cook shops. Fried rice, pickled veg, fried eggs, steamed greens, spicy noodles, and sticky buns. Then there’s also the Chinese baked goods, or perhaps better describes as steamed or fried goods. Soft steamed buns filled with anything from steamy hot pork and broth to a sweet bean paste. The other commonly found road side snack found the world over is some form of fried dough. Fried carbs of any variety tends to work out favourably in my books
Throughout the rest of the day you can be sure to find yourself any number of meats fried up with their equal weight in chilies, simple greens with just the right amount of sautéed ginger and garlic, fatty cubes of pork caramelized to perfection, fried rice, egg tomato soup, bbq beef skewers sprinkled with salt, chilli and spices, marinated bamboo shoots, grilled lotus root…. hungry yet? I could go on but I think you get the idea. You want to head out for a meal with as many friends as possible that way you can order more dishes for sharing. Seeing large groups of family and friends sitting out well into the evening passing dishes around the table and perhaps a tall bottle or 5 of Tsingtao makes you think that we just don’t know how to eat in the west. Food should be social, as unique as the individual cooking it, and local both in style and ingredient sourcing.
To balance out our indulgences on all things carnivorous, fried, or otherwise we are in the midst of prime pomelo season here in Meizhou, road side fruit stands burst with piles of citrus, watermelons and bananas all of which are a perfect mid ride snack on these hot and humid days.