Saturday, 4 June 2011

Vegetarianism in China

Being a vegetarian in China is not an easy business we have found, especially one that does not want too many additives, to feast on monosodium glutamate or food that tastes like a chemical concoction. We can’t understand how you can even make bread that tastes that horrible, and we wonder if they’d think our bread was disgusting too. It is very sugary and oily with a hint of coconut/banana/whatever. By our third day in China bread was definitely off our menu.

There are a lot of unnecessary ingredients and what you might think tastes pretty good on its own obviously doesn’t to the Chinese. Even the cashew nuts have chicken powder on them. Thankfully there are many products with English ingredients listed, without which we would be very hungry or just very clueless.

A particular problem for us has been that most accommodation doesn’t have cooking facilities so we’ve been left to cook our food on the street or just eat noodles semi-cooked in warm water, far too many dried soya beans (these tasted good to start with), pineapple sandwich cakes, ocassionally strawberry sandwich cakes, ‘hawthom’ (hawthorn) sticks (a bit like Pam the Jam’s fruit leather) and ketchup flavour crisps along with some fruit when we find it. This is not the healthiest of diets, but thankfully after the small portions in Mongolia we don't need to eat a lot.

I am actually looking forward to being in the United States. I never thought this would be a sentence I could produce, but there it is. The relatively normal food there and the familiarity of it all is bound to be comforting.

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