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Old 06-10-2018, 09:59 AM
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I'm going to China--but I don't like Chinese Food

Like the title says; I am one of those fussy eaters who is very picky and narrow on what they eat. Basically Beef, Pork or Chicken, but not to seasoned or mixed with 'other' stuff. Don't like hot (spicy) foods.

Now I will be in a tour group with other Americans/Canadians so I'm sure they are used to folks like me, and I can live a long time on rice and multi-vitamins, but are there any suggestions from out China-located or previous visitors there on what I might try that would be good for a fussy eater (The late George Carlin once defined 'fussy eater' as "Big Pain in the Ass", which I admit to).

As noted above, I am on a tour, so suggesting places to see is appreciated but time is limited. I will have 2 days in Hong Kong pretty much on my own and any thoughts are welcome--I don't think I'll be getting back to that part of the world anytime soon and want to see as much as I can.

If I don't starve first...
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Old 06-10-2018, 10:23 AM
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One of my sisters is an extremely picky eater. She went to Poland with my mom, and pretty much subsisted on McDonald's - burger, plain - no nothing - just burger and bun.

I have no advice to offer you - just felt compelled to share. Hope you have a great time before you starve to death!!
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Old 06-10-2018, 10:26 AM
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Old 06-10-2018, 10:30 AM
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Firstly, you'll be staying in a Western style hotel so eat a big breakfast which will be very familiar fare.

Secondly the Chinese cuisine you'll have offered is very different to what you'd expect stateside.
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Old 06-10-2018, 10:47 AM
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You can often find simple, steamed fish dishes which rely on soy, garlic and ginger and won't scare the horses too much.
Couple that with simple steamed rice, fried rice or veg (steamed or stir-fried) and you should be fine.

But, yeah, as has been said the traditional chinese cuisine can be a world away from western versions and you can into deep, entrail-laden water if you veer too much into the exotic. Or even not particularly exotic, chicken feet and duck hearts are not looked upon as particularly out of the ordinary.
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Old 06-10-2018, 10:52 AM
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I spent several weeks in China, and saw very little food that was familiar from USA-style Chinese restaurants. Which makes sense. You wouldn't expect an entire country of two billion people to subsist on one genre of restaurant food! Of course, it was still pretty exotic, and not the type of fare to enthuse a "picky eater." It also varied wildly by region, so if you are traveling around, you'll get a new set of options with each move.

But - I also saw plenty of McDonald's restaurants, and even more KFCs. Also a few Pizza Huts and other western chains. Also lots of street food that didn't look too different from the Halal Huts you see in NYC.
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Old 06-10-2018, 10:54 AM
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Secondly the Chinese cuisine you'll have offered is very different to what you'd expect stateside.

That's a bit of an understatement.
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Old 06-10-2018, 10:56 AM
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I wouldn't worry. In China, it's just called "food".
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Old 06-10-2018, 11:12 AM
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In one of Anthony Bourdain’s last tv appearances he was eating a rabbit head on a stick in Hong Kong. Local delicacy

Last edited by cgg419; 06-10-2018 at 11:13 AM.
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Old 06-10-2018, 01:01 PM
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Where in China are you going? That can make a big difference in terms of spicy vs. non-spicy food.
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Old 06-10-2018, 01:55 PM
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In one of Anthony Bourdain’s last tv appearances he was eating a rabbit head on a stick in Hong Kong. Local delicacy
Ooooh, did he do it Easter style & bite the ears off first?
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Old 06-10-2018, 01:56 PM
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lucky for you there they just call it "food".
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Old 06-10-2018, 02:22 PM
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Firstly, you'll be staying in a Western style hotel so eat a big breakfast which will be very familiar fare.

Secondly the Chinese cuisine you'll have offered is very different to what you'd expect stateside.
Much thanks, I perhaps wasn't clear, I never have eaten in a "Chinese" restaurant in the USA, so I doubt that I will be much tempted by one in China. And I concur with the Hotel breakfast, I have done that on a lot of trips.

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Originally Posted by Tim R. Mortiss View Post
I spent several weeks in China, and saw very little food that was familiar from USA-style Chinese restaurants. Which makes sense. You wouldn't expect an entire country of two billion people to subsist on one genre of restaurant food! Of course, it was still pretty exotic, and not the type of fare to enthuse a "picky eater." It also varied wildly by region, so if you are traveling around, you'll get a new set of options with each move.

But - I also saw plenty of McDonald's restaurants, and even more KFCs. Also a few Pizza Huts and other western chains. Also lots of street food that didn't look too different from the Halal Huts you see in NYC.
Ah, McDonald's and KFC; I think for all of McDonalds' reputation, KFC just might be more popular world-wide (don't have any statistics). I survived four years in the Middle East with those (and a few others), so three weeks in China won't be too bad...


As for travel, I'm doing the normal tourist shuffle, Peking/Forbidden City/Great Wall/Terra-Cotta Warriors/3-Day Seven Gorges Cruise on Yangtse River/Shanghai for a couple of days, and then fly to Hong Kong. All escorted up to Hong Kong.
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Old 06-10-2018, 02:50 PM
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The term "Chinese food" is overly simplistic. There are eight major cuisines, some of them radically different from the others The mModern "Eight Cuisines" of China are Anhui, Cantonese, Fujian, Hunan, Jiangsu, Shandong, Sichuan, and Zhejiang.

It would be like shunning pizza because you don't like "American food" after tasting grits.
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Old 06-10-2018, 03:21 PM
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Ooooh, did he do it Easter style & bite the ears off first?

Someone else must have beat him to it, they came earless.
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Old 06-10-2018, 03:49 PM
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.....As for travel, I'm doing the normal tourist shuffle, Peking/Forbidden City/Great Wall/Terra-Cotta Warriors/3-Day Seven Gorges Cruise on Yangtse River/Shanghai for a couple of days, and then fly to Hong Kong. All escorted up to Hong Kong.
I did the Yangtse River cruise, but it was on a very downscale vessel. The only food was very native stuff, or cardboard bowls of "just add hot water" ramen. I ate a lot of the ramen. You will most likely be on a more upscale vessel with more international options.

And Shanghai is a VERY international city. You'll find cuisines from all over the world.
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Old 06-10-2018, 04:38 PM
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So, you have never had any Chinese food and you don’t intend to try it in China?

Huh.
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Old 06-10-2018, 04:57 PM
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Ah, McDonald's and KFC; I think for all of McDonalds' reputation, KFC just might be more popular world-wide (don't have any statistics). I survived four years in the Middle East with those (and a few others), so three weeks in China won't be too bad...
Note that from what I've heard (never been to China), KFC over there sells food tuned to local tastes. So it might not be exactly what you're used to. And as others said, you're hardly going to be the first foreigner who doesn't want to eat Chinese food. I'm sure there will be options.
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Old 06-10-2018, 05:14 PM
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So, you have never had any Chinese food and you don’t intend to try it in China?

Huh.
The OP admits right off the bat that he's a fussy eater and quite picky with a very narrow range of what he eats. Why would anyone expect that to change just because he's travelling? Sure, it'd be nice if he was able to indulge in a new dining experience while on the road but it doesn't sound like he's wired that way. Kudos to him for making plans ahead of time for how to cope.
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Old 06-10-2018, 06:17 PM
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The OP admits right off the bat that he's a fussy eater and quite picky with a very narrow range of what he eats. Why would anyone expect that to change just because he's travelling? Sure, it'd be nice if he was able to indulge in a new dining experience while on the road but it doesn't sound like he's wired that way. Kudos to him for making plans ahead of time for how to cope.
Picky eater can mean “I only eat sweet and sour pork with plain rice, and I pick out the bell peppers.” At first that’s what I thought he meant. Not even trying Chinese food at all, then jumping into a three week trip there, is quite an example of jumping into the deep end while not wanting to get your head wet.

I had been thinking of a few Chinese foods that are less exotic than a peanut butter sandwich, but it sounds like the thread was more a commentary on an odd situation than a solicitation for advice.
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Old 06-10-2018, 08:05 PM
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Actually Ravenman, as I have aged (65 now), I have become more...well, if not accepting, at least more ready to try things. So if you have any thoughts for someone who has (1) no experience with Chinese food and (2) limited tastes in that plain beef and chicken are ok but much else is up in the air, I'm willing to listen.

And yes, I know that I miss much great stuff and flavors due to my block, and I'll gladly admit that the fault is mine, not anyone else's. I learned to eat Shawarmas in Abu Dhabi, maybe I'll pickup something new on this trip.
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Old 06-10-2018, 09:02 PM
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Start trying to think like James DiGriz. Bribe the cooks or something. He'd find a way to get just what he wants..
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Old 06-10-2018, 09:15 PM
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As for travel, I'm doing the normal tourist shuffle, Peking/Forbidden City/Great Wall/Terra-Cotta Warriors/3-Day Seven Gorges Cruise on Yangtse River/Shanghai for a couple of days, and then fly to Hong Kong. All escorted up to Hong Kong.
Beijing, Xi'an, Shanghai and Hong Kong should have a variety of western restaurant chains, and a supermarket should have some western-style items, too. The river cruise might have fewer options.

One thing to note is that breakfast foods in China might be somewhat different from what you're used to -- rice porridge (congee), steamed buns, pickled vegetables, etc. Hard-boiled eggs are relatively common, though.
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Old 06-10-2018, 09:35 PM
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Actually Ravenman, as I have aged (65 now), I have become more...well, if not accepting, at least more ready to try things. So if you have any thoughts for someone who has (1) no experience with Chinese food and (2) limited tastes in that plain beef and chicken are ok but much else is up in the air, I'm willing to listen.
I'm not Ravenman, but I lived in China for five years, and my then-65-year-old father came to visit me during his three month tour of China. He's kind of picky and normally closed-minded about food, but he ended up loving nearly everything he ate. I was a little bit envious of him, because I lived there and in three months he ate more and saw more than I did my entire time.

First, as a backup, if you're in big cities, you'll find Pizza Hit, KFC, McDonalds, Starbucks, etc. You won't die of hunger.

Second, unless you have allergies, don't ask what's in something. Really disgusting things (like dog) are delicacies, and you won't be given any without someone bragging about it. And that's regional, to boot.

As a last resort, there are noodles and dumplings (jiaozi) everywhere. These will be very, very familiar to you.

Chinese food in China compared to America is kind of like Mexican food in Mexico compared to Taco Bell (I've also lived nearly five years in Mexico). Embrace your open-mindedness, but be assured that there is always a Western-friendly backup available.
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Old 06-10-2018, 09:37 PM
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Actually Ravenman, as I have aged (65 now), I have become more...well, if not accepting, at least more ready to try things. So if you have any thoughts for someone who has (1) no experience with Chinese food and (2) limited tastes in that plain beef and chicken are ok but much else is up in the air, I'm willing to listen.

And yes, I know that I miss much great stuff and flavors due to my block, and I'll gladly admit that the fault is mine, not anyone else's. I learned to eat Shawarmas in Abu Dhabi, maybe I'll pickup something new on this trip.
If you want to expand your horizons with a low level of risk, I recommend you try a few Hot Pot meals. Sort of like fondue, where they give you a crock pot of very hot broth, and a bunch of small plates of many raw foods (meats, veggies, noodles, etc.) that you dip yourself and eat when they are cooked to your liking. The entire table shares the pot and the small plates, but you get to control what goes into your mouth, and it is very delicious. And very sociable.
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Old 06-10-2018, 11:41 PM
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Secondly the Chinese cuisine you'll have offered is very different to what you'd expect stateside.
Once, somewhere near Guangzhou, I ate the better part of a plate of deep fried bird heads before someone clued me in. At that point, I polished off the plate. Turns out bird heads are pretty damned tasty when fried.

Most of my meals from my many trips to China were fairly pedestrian, especially if I was eating at the factory with the workers. Rice, some vegetables, a little meat. Pretty nice except for the spitting out of the bones everywhere.

The meals where my hosts were trying to impress were more notable, both good and bad. I had the most amazing Peking Duck at some several hundred year old place in Beijing. I had my own personal slicer! I had super delicious Szechuan somewhere I know I can’t find on a map. And I had a wonderful, slightly confusing teppanyaki meal (complete with French-style snails) at what was supposed to be a western-style resort inbetween Shenzhen and Guangzhou. I had incomparable dim sum at a place in Kowloon that my host told me never ever to try to go by myself. Still don't know why.

But I had some frightening meals too. In most cases, I noticed my hosts eating only token amounts of the stuff I thought was super out of bounds. I think some of that stuff was just for show. But I tried everything no matter what.

The only stuff I found intolerable: Chinese wine and baijiu. And yet I still drunk a ton of both rather than be a poor guest. I leaned to keep an extra, half-full water glass at my place at the table. I got really good at dumping my Baijiu in there when no one was paying attention.

Worst two meals I had in China? One was at a Pizza Hut, and the other was when two of my female hosts thought I might me homesick and took me to a 'western' restaurant. I think it was supposed to be Italian food. It was prepared as if the chef only had pictures of food to work from with no indication what the ingredients, flavors or textures should be. Truly horrific. Almost as bad as the Mexican food I once ordered in New Zealand. I 'repaid' them for the courtesy by taking them to a food court Chinese restaurant when they came to the US the next year.

My advice to the less adventurous eater: when you come across something you like, gorge on it. Be like a bear preparing for winter. Then a couple of meals you can’t stomach will be no factor.

Last edited by Pork Rind; 06-10-2018 at 11:44 PM.
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Old 06-11-2018, 12:49 AM
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Breakfast is usually western. In your hotel there is probably an egg station where they cook the eggs in front of you

Do you like eggs? You can get hard boiled eggs anywhere. Also the "tea" eggs, which are hard boiled in a very mild tea/soy sauce type solution and I think very tasty. My back up. All restaurants have eggs. If nothing else you can get a fried egg and rice and be full.

The Yangzi river cruise will be tough. The food isn't very good even on the high end vessels, and you're in very spicy country.

American fast food....while there is local flavors, you can also get the standard stuff.

Can you tell us what you like to eat now? That may make it easier to figure out what you can get, or have adapted.
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Old 06-11-2018, 01:55 AM
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As for travel, I'm doing the normal tourist shuffle, Peking/Forbidden City/Great Wall/Terra-Cotta Warriors/3-Day Seven Gorges Cruise on Yangtse River/Shanghai for a couple of days, and then fly to Hong Kong. All escorted up to Hong Kong.
I just spent a week in Hong Kong. The hotel I was at catered to Chinese, not Western, tourists so had the kind of breakfast hogarth mentioned, which I found awesome, but they had toast and hard boiled eggs so you should do fine.
Hong Kong has tons of malls with extensive food courts of all types of cuisines. There are also very good bakeries with a wider variety of foods than you can find in the US. Also Starbucks and McDonalds, of course.
You might want to try dim sum, which lets you pick and choose. Oddly, while housing in Hong Kong is very expensive, the food is relatively inexpensive, far cheaper than San Francisco.

BTW I think you might stay away from wet markets. You might see things there which would turn you from eating for a week. I liked it but I'm the opposite of picky.
Did not see a rabbit head, damn it!
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Old 06-11-2018, 02:30 AM
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I got taken to a real Szechuan place last night by a Chinese colleague, one of those tiny hole in the wall places off the usual restaurant track, where the decor is a half a dozen card tables and some lawn chairs, and the food is what the angels get when they're good. Salt and pepper squid with chili and Szechuan peppers until your tongue goes numb and your entire head sweats is the way to go.
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Old 06-11-2018, 02:46 AM
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As a last resort, there are noodles and dumplings (jiaozi) everywhere. These will be very, very familiar to you.
When we were in Taiwan, my picky eater children basically lived off dumplings. They're very, very non-threatening and not at all spicy. Also, Dan Bing (?sp?) which is basically pancakes, though I don't know if that's a mainland thing

My impression of Chinese cuisine is that in most of the country, spicy food is not the norm (Szechuan and Mongolian notwithstanding...)
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Old 06-11-2018, 06:40 AM
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The dominant flavors are Chinese Five Spice and what the Japanese call "Deliciousness", but crab, seafood or vegetables are likely to be drowned in garlic and ginger. You can get peanut butter, but butter is not part of the palate, and any bread is too much influenced by the French.

Hot chili dishes will be available, but it's regional. My in-laws eat mostly quite plain food -- the fresh chili is added as a garnish.at the table. But for some reason the only vegetable they can eat without garlic and ginger is (raw) cucumber

The soups are mostly pretty harmless, Particularly the wonton soup and the beef noodle soup. Just Five Spice*, a meat stock soup, plain noodles -- the only sharp flavor comes from the garnish, and the boiled water is pretty safe.

Chicken Rice is pretty much just chicken and five spice and rice, but I get pretty sick of chicken after as while. Peking Duck, as noted above is Duck (and five spice), and plain pancakes, and plum sauce. Chicken is a high-risk food for food poisoning, and perhaps duck is as well, but I've never heard so.

Street food in Shanghi was quite edible, if it hasn't been almost totally banned, as it has in Singapore and Hong Kong. Because it's just put together, you can sometimes get fried food that doesn't have pepper or five spice or ginger or garlic.

*You can't even taste the spices in five spice, they're all so mild.. Like the "deliciousnes" (MSG), it just sort of adds a background flavor to everything
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Old 06-11-2018, 07:27 AM
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If all else fails, ask for ‘chicken rice’. It’s widely available, the sauces are on the side, it’s NOT spicy in any way. Even a picky eater could get by on a meal of this. It’s exactly as advertised, steamed chicken and rice cooked in chicken broth. Bonus: it’s yummy and delicious!

If it’s an organized tour for US and Canadians, I don’t think you’ll have to worry, there’s likely always going to be something you can eat.
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Old 06-11-2018, 08:01 AM
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You won't die if you eat something you don't like.
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Old 06-11-2018, 08:49 AM
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Actually Ravenman, as I have aged (65 now), I have become more...well, if not accepting, at least more ready to try things. So if you have any thoughts for someone who has (1) no experience with Chinese food and (2) limited tastes in that plain beef and chicken are ok but much else is up in the air, I'm willing to listen.

And yes, I know that I miss much great stuff and flavors due to my block, and I'll gladly admit that the fault is mine, not anyone else's. I learned to eat Shawarmas in Abu Dhabi, maybe I'll pickup something new on this trip.
I hope you didn't take any of my comments as criticism -- everyone has their comfort zones, and I thought the comfort zone that includes a long trip to China but excludes PF Changs was curious!

Others have mentioned what I had been thinking -- eggs, jiaozi dumplings, pretty plentiful fast food (though I question whether on a tour if you'll have a lot of detour time), and markets where you can get all kinds of familiar junk food, from ramen to chocolate chip cookies.

A couple things that haven't been mentioned: some noodle soups can be pretty plain in terms of ingredients, but very tasty. You've just got to try a few standard dishes, just once, and the odds are that you will love them: sweet and sour pork, kungpao chicken (can be spicy so ask first, but you can easily pick around the peppers), iron-plate beef (it's sizzling slices of beef that's often kind of sweet), and crispy skin tofu. Don't let the fact that it is tofu turn you off: it is prepared in a way that would make five year olds attack it like a pile of grilled cheese sandwiches. ETA: oh and Peking duck is the best thing that I've ever eaten, so do yourself a favor and try it.

Like others have said, there's a lot of variation in dishes from region to region, and even restaurant to restaurant. But look at your chopsticks as being your best friend here: chopsticks are basically extensions of your fingers, so if you get used to using them, it is the best utensil in the world for eating around stuff that you don't want: you just pick up the stuff that you do want.

Have a fantastic trip, be safe, and I'm very jealous.

Last edited by Ravenman; 06-11-2018 at 08:50 AM.
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Old 06-11-2018, 09:25 AM
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When I went to China a few years back, the other American was an extremely picky eater. The only place he had trouble was when we were in a small town in the mountains around Hangzhou. Everywhere else, there were plenty of "western" options. Beijing and Shanghai, in particular should be no problem.

For the cruise, and if they take you to one of those family-style banquet meals they seem to love to take visitors to, just make a discreet mention to one of your hosts before the meal. They'll find something for you, even if it's just noodle soup. You'll also want to ask ahead of time for western utensils, if needed. Although you'll make a good impression if you try to manage with chopsticks, even if ineptly.

And I agree with Pork Rind: avoid the Chinese wine and baijiu, and pretty much any strong distilled spirits. Our hosts in Hangzhou kept wanting to toast the guests every two minutes, with some godawful lotus root distilled alcohol. Our Chinease colleague got blitzed in no time flat, and had an awful hangover the next days.
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Old 06-11-2018, 10:32 AM
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And I agree with Pork Rind: avoid the Chinese wine and baijiu, and pretty much any strong distilled spirits. Our hosts in Hangzhou kept wanting to toast the guests every two minutes, with some godawful lotus root distilled alcohol. Our Chinease colleague got blitzed in no time flat, and had an awful hangover the next days.
I'm not a big drinker so I try to avoid anything strong, but I do like an occasional beer or two in the evening, any suggestions for that?
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Old 06-11-2018, 11:51 AM
Ravenman Ravenman is offline
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I'm not a big drinker so I try to avoid anything strong, but I do like an occasional beer or two in the evening, any suggestions for that?
Beer is everywhere in China. You'll have easy access to the local lager, no question. I suppose you could ask for specific brands, like if you went to a bar, but odds are you will just end up drinking what the table has ordered for dinner, lunch, and sometimes breakfast.
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Old 06-11-2018, 12:58 PM
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The OP admits right off the bat that he's a fussy eater and quite picky with a very narrow range of what he eats. Why would anyone expect that to change just because he's travelling? Sure, it'd be nice if he was able to indulge in a new dining experience while on the road but it doesn't sound like he's wired that way. Kudos to him for making plans ahead of time for how to cope.
Fussy eating is just such a foreign concept to those of us who like to explore new tastes. Personally to me it would be like I decided I didn't like one of my senses so I decided to purposely limit it, like I purposely decided I was only want to see the world in monochrome because colors where too much, or I never wanted to hear music because speech was just fine. I can understand not like a flavor but never trying certain flavors would be like only ever having straight up missionary style sex because I was afraid to go outside my comfort zone ever.

This is not a dig at the OP, I just really never understood fussy eating.I have a fussy eater in my family and I've just never understood the psychology behind it.
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Old 06-11-2018, 01:56 PM
adhemar adhemar is offline
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Fussy eating is just such a foreign concept to those of us who like to explore new tastes. Personally to me it would be like I decided I didn't like one of my senses so I decided to purposely limit it, like I purposely decided I was only want to see the world in monochrome because colors where too much, or I never wanted to hear music because speech was just fine. I can understand not like a flavor but never trying certain flavors would be like only ever having straight up missionary style sex because I was afraid to go outside my comfort zone ever.

This is not a dig at the OP, I just really never understood fussy eating.I have a fussy eater in my family and I've just never understood the psychology behind it.
the things I like I really really like, the things I don't I really really don't. For instance, I don't like beer and I don't like sausages, we discussed going to Germany but I don't know what I would eat. (sausages all taste like hot dogs to me and the one time I tried to eat one as an adult, I gagged so much I threw it away.)
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Old 06-11-2018, 02:42 PM
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Light lager beer is cheap and available everywhere. It may not be cold though. You can get Bud pretty much everywhere as well. These days, imported German beers are also pretty prevalent.

Chicken is probably your best bet. 白切鸡 (plain, chilled, sliced chicken), 鸡汤 (Chicken soup that is really a very light broth, and you eat the stewed chicken). Chinese also cook chicken a whole bunch of different ways, but these two are plain with a soy sauce style dip on the side. If you like noodles, they can also do you a bowl of noodles with the chicken broth.

Again, if you like eggs, you can get those everywhere.

Beef will be more difficult as it is usually not plain but stir fried with a lot of other stuff and seasonings.
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Old 06-11-2018, 02:44 PM
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I know there's the idea that Germans eat nothing but sausage, beer, and sauerkraut, but they eat other stuff too. Sometimes.

The hard part about advising a picky eater is that picky eaters are all different. The only constant is that there's a short list of foods you like, and you don't want anything that's not on the list.
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Old 06-11-2018, 02:56 PM
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Pork Jiaozi (dumplings) are fairly ubiquitous and "safe" and many people above have already gone there. There are also vegetable versions (pumpkin/cabbage +????) that are similarly not delicacies but rather just plain food. China also has steamed buns that are phenomenal! Big white puffs with some having a bit of a meat or sweet pocket in the middle.

Out of curiosity and need for a well-behaved stomach for a 16 hour meeting the next day, I just recently ate at a McDonald's in Beijing. I have to say that going the McDonald's route was probably more disappointing as everything tasted off and I couldn't finish anything ordered other than the Coke. THe fries, bun, burgers were all just enough "wrong" that they weren't appetizing.

I have also gone to 7-elevens frequently to get some energy/just-in-case food but other than straight up candy or japanese additions like Pocki, these aren't going to be very helpful to you either.

So I think you should get yourself to a local chinese restarurant and start finding some things you like as otherwise you are going to be in a world of non-fun!
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Old 06-11-2018, 03:05 PM
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In one of Anthony Bourdain’s last tv appearances he was eating a rabbit head on a stick in Hong Kong. Local delicacy
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  #44  
Old 06-11-2018, 03:08 PM
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Fussy eating is just such a foreign concept to those of us who like to explore new tastes. Personally to me it would be like I decided I didn't like one of my senses so I decided to purposely limit it, like I purposely decided I was only want to see the world in monochrome because colors where too much, or I never wanted to hear music because speech was just fine. I can understand not like a flavor but never trying certain flavors would be like only ever having straight up missionary style sex because I was afraid to go outside my comfort zone ever.
Ok, so suppose you have been eating a certain set of foods, and you decide you're going to be more adventurous. You try something new. You hate it. You try something else new. You hate that too. You try 100 more new things, and you hate every one of them. How long are you going to keep doing this?
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Old 06-11-2018, 03:17 PM
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the things I like I really really like, the things I don't I really really don't. For instance, I don't like beer and I don't like sausages, we discussed going to Germany but I don't know what I would eat. (sausages all taste like hot dogs to me and the one time I tried to eat one as an adult, I gagged so much I threw it away.)
You'd be fine in Germany, you could eat Italian food every day if you wanted. Just like you could go to London and eat nothing but curry. Or come to Chicago and never eat Italian beef or a hot dog.
  #46  
Old 06-11-2018, 05:42 PM
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Also lots of street food that didn't look too different from the Halal Huts you see in NYC.
I would steer WAAAAAY clear of street food in China. You have no idea what you are getting. Some vendors use sewer oil to cook their food. I wish I was making that up.
  #47  
Old 06-11-2018, 05:54 PM
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Qadgop the Mercotan Qadgop the Mercotan is offline
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I've just never understood the psychology behind it.
I don't need to understand it, I just need to accept it in others.
  #48  
Old 06-11-2018, 06:03 PM
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Packing any extra pounds? Because this would be a good chance to drop a few. Starve and go home svelte.
  #49  
Old 06-11-2018, 06:06 PM
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I don't need to understand it, I just need to accept it in others.
Agreed.

Although even for picky eaters I would encourage them to be a bit adventurous and try new things. Particularly when traveling.

That does not mean trying some crazy, bizarre local dish. There will usually be plenty of things that are identifiable and "normal" but with a local twist (e.g. chicken, vegetables, maybe pork or beef).

Don't get a whole meal. Just try a bite and try not to approach it with the assumption you will hate it. You (general "you") might hate it but then again you might be surprised. I have converted a lot of people to sushi this way. They assume they will hate it but give them an "easy" thing like a California Roll to try and almost always they are surprised they like it. Usually your guide or server will be happy to suggest some "tame" local food to try.

With the recent death of Anthony Bourdain I started re-watching some episodes of "Parts Unknown" and while he is often eating things I would not want to try he does a great job of instilling in the viewer the great route that food is to socializing and through that better understanding a new culture. I wish I had his job...even with the occasional gross food.

Last edited by Whack-a-Mole; 06-11-2018 at 06:07 PM.
  #50  
Old 06-11-2018, 09:13 PM
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Don't get a whole meal. Just try a bite and try not to approach it with the assumption you will hate it. You (general "you") might hate it but then again you might be surprised. I have converted a lot of people to sushi this way. They assume they will hate it but give them an "easy" thing like a California Roll to try and almost always they are surprised they like it. Usually your guide or server will be happy to suggest some "tame" local food to try.
I mentioned the family-style banquets that our various hosts loved taking us to. Big round table with a lazy susan taking up the middle, upon which are placed dish after dish after dish, which are passed around and everyone takes what they're interested in.

There'd be over 50 dishes by the end, when everyone was stuffed. No one said a thing when I didn't take any of the chicken feet, but there were some very tasty things I never would have tried otherwise -- and I'm not a particularly adventurous eater. I even managed to almost eat one of those soup-filled dumplings using chopsticks while in Kaifeng.

(I wouldn't have thought someone couldn't find something in all that to eat, but the Americanized-food-only guy managed. The hostess brought out a big bowl of noodles in chicken broth just for we two Americans, so I dutifully slurped down a few to be polite, despite being absolutely stuffed by that point.)
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