Thursday, December 3, 2009

About Brazilian Food (and not eating snake) in China

Do you know Brazilian cuisine? Amy Duncan, facebook friend and musician livng in Rio de Janiero, talked with me about cod fish balls in Brazil. I related to her my only knowledge of Brazilian food from a trip to China. I was in central China, Changsha, the town where Mao Zedong came of age. We saw no Westerners in our hotel and rarely around town, and ate no western food. The Chinese food was delicious. Heavily reliant on meat, but hugely flavorful. Our Chinese hosts took us to a different Chinese restaurant featuring some regional cuisine once a day,although this day it was Brazilian. I t was bizare to discover this hang-out of Western folks with the range of hair colors, blonde, brunette, etc. That's where all the visitors or x-pats came to eat. This restaurant style was new to us, yet our Chinese host thought they had brought us home. (yah, overcooked spaghetti and wonder bread? Give me Chinese noodles please). It was an experience. Waiters wandered around the restaurant with big skewers of grilled meat and we served ourselves at a buffet with things like spaghetti and sliced white bread next to tropical fruit salads and other unknown dishes. The restaurants are called Churrascarias. You order your meats from the table, then visit the buffet for the side dishes. Perhaps we shall have to travel to Brazil to try the authentic thing.
There was one specialty Chinese restaurnat on our hosts list that we missed. Our family ended our stay in Changsha one day early in order to experience the train to Shanghai, (and train food). We missed the most unusual specialty. The Chinese hosts took our colleague who stayed behind, to the local snake restaurant. He said that the variety of dishes tasted good if you can get over the idea that you are eating snake. Hard to do when the pots are filled with snake shaped pieces of meat. We had seen snake at the local market. The snake sellers had fun teasing us with the snakes in their hand.

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