We know that most of you love hearing about the weird and wonderful things that we eat while living and traveling abroad. So to those of you that do – this post is specially for you! Even though summer vacation is officially over, we still have a few more summer school pictures to show you.
Let’s rewind back to those hot days of August. No air-conditioning, and eight to twelve of us in a little classroom but plenty of laughing, learning and fun. I thoroughly enjoyed my summer school job, and even though it has only been five days since I said goodbye, I already miss these little kiddos.
In August we had a few laughs at some of the strange things that were served for lunch, like pig’s feet and pizza, and then – wait for it – pig’s face salad. If you missed those and want to read more, click on the links to head over to those stories and pictures. Below are some of the other foods that we ate during summer school lunch times which took place after our morning classes. I was free to go home, but most days I stayed to eat with the kids. Partly because they would beg me to stay, and it was so incredibly cute! “Stay for lunch teacher…. Pleeeeeaase?”
These are meat filled dumplings (jiaozi) made with love by Helen and Maria (two of the mother’s) while we were studying in the room next door. Feeding these little kids was quite a task. Unbelievably even the smallest of them all could polish off about 15 of these dumplings without much effort. That means plenty of prep time for the moms in the kitchen.
I learned that Chinese people like to eat their dumplings with Rice Vinegar, and that they enjoy sipping the vinegar after they are done eating. I shocked them by asking for Soy sauce instead. Funny!
Hmm… This was a great dish! Potatoes, meat, and green beans.
I tried this dish just to “give it a shot”. So that if by some wild chance it did taste good, then I would know. Just as I suspected, it was horrible! It tasted like jelly (that’s “jello” for all you Americans!) made from sea water. Enough said!
This looks super disgusting, I know, but it was really yummy. I promise! Perhaps that is why I gave the jelly dish a try. You just never know. It could taste good, even if it does look slightly suspect. I was wrong with the jelly, but with this one looks are pretty deceiving. This dish consists of wood ear mushroom and Bok Choi (Chinese cabbage).
Without fail, lunch was always served with rice. Sometimes as plain white rice, and other times as congee (a thick porridge/ soup of rice which has disintegrated after prolonged cooking in water). On the odd occasion we would have “purple rice” (also known as black rice) cooked with some red beans. This rice is high in nutritional value. The grain has a similar amount of fiber to brown rice, and also has a mild, nutty taste.
Sweet Amy brought her own plate, bowl and chopsticks everyday. This little girl had a healthy appetite, and she loved to feed me, with her chopsticks, and from her own bowl. I miss her a lot! Every day she would hide one of my shoes so that I could not leave and would have to look for it. Truthful, I always knew where it was (behind the front door) but I knew that she loved it when I looked for it, so I played along. The sound of her giggling uncontrollably as she watched me searching for it was worth the time spent “looking”.
Hmmm… Egg custard tarts! The students went crazy for this one, as you can imagine! There were chopsticks flying all over the place when these were brought over to the lunch table!! This kind of pastry is popular in Portugal, England, Hong Kong and other Asian countries.
This meal was really tasty! Meat and vegetable soup (as seen in the first picture), courgette, egg and prawns (second picture), large dense buns with Chinese characters on them, and shredded cucumber and tofu. Probably not for everyone, but I really did enjoy them all.
They call it “sushi” here, but let’s face it… it’s not real sushi if it never has any raw fish. In Korea this is called Kimbap, so that is what Justin and I continue to call it, and always will. haha!
There was a ball of leftover kimbap ingredients rolled into one huge serving. Of course – the children all wanted it – but it belonged to Wallace, as his mother had prepared the meal on this day. The poor kid was so excited about this ball of leftovers that he huddled over it like Gollum did the ring, in The Lord of the Ring – “My precious!”. No exaggeration! He was so scared we would take his ball of food that even letting me hold it so that I could take a picture caused him to almost hyperventilate. Woah!
I found this in my congee (rice porridge). Lucky me! I was then told to eat it because it would increase the blood flow in my body (or something to that effect). As suspected, I didn’t like it very much, but it wasn’t awful. I ate the whole thing though – except the seed – because everyone sat looking at me, waiting for a response. Oh geez, the pressure!
Sweet Amy giving me the “crazy-eyes”
Lunch were interesting and amusing, but more than that it was a time for me to get to know these kids – and some of their mother’s – really well. I enjoyed asking them questions about the food, and their lives in China. They in turn asked me as much as they could about life as an expat, my travels, and where I am from. Staying for lunch was, more often than not, a great pleasure!