Posts Tagged With: food

Shanghai Silly: Potato Chips

When I was kid I remember the strange potato chip flavours coming out. Grape seems to be the one I recall and wanted to try the most. Funny I don’t remember if I ever tried them – maybe I was to chicken. ๐Ÿ™‚

When we first arrived in Shanghai that memory came back as we walked down the aisle of chips. I tried lime, a sweetish more like key lime pie and ice tea, a lemony flavour. They did have grape or blueberry and I assumed it was ‘normal’, but the next time we went to shop they no longer carried that flavour. This time I was going to be sure to try them and I missed out. Another time I bought Cheetos and was surprised by the unusual flavour. I can’t read Chinese, but on closer inspection I realised I bought steak Cheetos. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I don’t know if it was the flavour or not what I expected, but I wasn’t a fan and never bought them again. Recently I saw another kind of cheesies had something on top that looked like cheese. Mmmm cheesies with extra cheese on top. Nope it was vanilla icing like. Bizarre.

funny chip flavours

funny chip flavours

We usually stick to our old standards now. John likes the plain Lays, which are not as salty or greasy as home. Large bags are a third the size of home, but the flavour is great. I like the cheese Pringles. We bought some at home, but again the greasier and saltier flavour are not as good.

While out shopping I decided to snap a few photos of some of the new flavours that came out recently. Maybe they were just for Chinese New Year, or will be more long-term if they are a hit. My new favourite is Thai Green Curry. They are lime and a hint of coconut…. sounds strange, but it is good. Before that I discovered chocolate and sea salt. It is sweeter than usual chips, but nice too. The chocolate is light and just enough. I tried the numb and spicy hot-pot, but it was something I would not eat again. That and the sour plum melon is too Chinese for me. It has this spice that is in many dishes here and I don’t like it. The pepper and chicken were OK, but I prefer my favs thanks.

My favs in the middle and 2 new ones to try.

My favs in the middle and 2 new ones to try.

Chips are not too expensive; about the same price as home. The small bags run 3.80 RMB, which is around .75c Canadian and the larger bags are 5.20 RMB or $1.00. The tins are 8.00 RMB about $1.50.

What is your favourite chip flavour? Do you ever try any of the new flavours that come out?


Categories: China, Culture, everyday occurances, strange adventures, Tourist in My Own Town, unique experiences | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Favourite: Tourist in Your Own Town

A new month has started so does a new photo challenge for Tourist in Your Own Town. As you may know at the start of each month I will post a theme and you can show us what it is like where YOU live. Let us travel to another place via the internet and your photos and words. Much cheaper and easier than actual travel sometimes. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I had a few ideas for May, but after a little something on Monday night I changed my mind. Something got a lot of us excited here in Shanghai and it quickly became the talk at work. After all it’s about the little things in life ๐Ÿ™‚ Each Monday a small group of us has gone to a local restaurant, The Blue Frog. This place has American style food with burgers, fajitas, large yummy salads and pastas on the menu. There is also some local dishes, but people usually come for the burgers. Every Monday night they offer a 2 for 1 burger. With the cheapest burger at 75 (now 78) RMB which is close to $12;ย  it is a little pricy, but that is how it is for a taste of home. The burgers are good and totally worth it when you can get 2 for the price of one. To top it off from 4-8 PM every night it is happy hour where theย  majority of drinks are also 2 for 1. We discovered this place our first year here and quickly it became our Monday night tradition. A table for 2 has now extended to sometimes 6 or 8 of us. We have celebrated birthdays, work functions and just gone there to hang out. The staff is super friendly and our local Chinese friends Albert and Joy are super sweet. They go out of their way to always stop by and say Hi. I think we love this place because we feel so welcome. We are known to all the staff and often they know our order before we do ๐Ÿ˜‰

Blue Frog

All this is exciting and makes us really happy, but Monday things got shaken a little bit. The prices went up and new burgers were on the menu. One caught my eye, but it was 108 RMB (about $17). I thought well it is 2 for 1, lets give it a go. Well it was delicious! I ordered the Gourmet Burger, the latest addition. It came on a ciabiata bun with avocado, a spicy cheese, a thin slice of parma ham and a chilli sauce. When it arrived the presentation was beautiful, more than a burger slapped together and thrown on a plate. It was so pretty I snapped a photo. After my first bite I was in heaven. It melted in your mouth and the mix of sweet chilly sauce, the creaminess of the cheese and juiciness of the burger were all paired together into delicious bite after bite. A few of us tried this burger and everyone’s conversation suddenly turned away from work to how yummy the burger was. Now that is saying something! With teacher appraisals, reports and assessments underway it took our minds off things to savour bite after bite. A few other people from work also happened to be at the restaurant and all week when we ran into each other we were asking “Did you try the new burgers?” “Which one?”ย  “Wasn’t it SO good!”.

The Gourmet Burger with Sweet Potato Fries

The Gourmet Burger with Sweet Potato Fries


20140428_172543SO my theme for May is to show your favourite food, restaurant or place to hang out. It can be a place you are a regular, or just go to for special events. Tell us why it is great and why you like going there then show us some photos. Be sure to link to your post in the comment section below and add to a link (pingback) to this post. Lastly use the tag Tourist in Your Own Townย  in your title so others can stop by and see what is your FAVOURITE where you live. So be a Tourist In Your Own Town and give us a peek at what is great about where you live.



Missed my post for the Black’s Photography Contest I entered?ย  Hit the “older post” button below if you want to check it out.

Stay tuned ๐Ÿ™‚


Categories: Tourist in My Own Town, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Time Fries in Hong Kong

Time Flies when you are having fun, as the saying goes. Well in Hong Kong it seems Time Fries ๐Ÿ˜‰ It seems someone who thinks up the names of shops and restaurants in Hong Kong has a sense of humour.One such place is a restaurant we were invited to breakfast to called the Flying Pan. It was explained it is FLYING instead of FRYING since the Chinese have trouble pronouncing R sounds as much as we have trouble with the tones and subtleties of Chinese.


20140402_094127A few other silly names we have heard about were the Lee Key Boot Shop, Kung Fu Shoes, Hip Wo Housewares, Woo Ping Optical. The best one is from Jo on word press who shared the Fook Hing Book Shop. All these shops are real places and sell real things! The last one, the Book Shop has recently closed or moved. We found the address, but it is now a mattress shop. After having the hotel staff call the phone number and look it up in a local directory we figured it closed or moved within the last year. The phone number was still active, but needed a password to continue. If anyone has come across it again please let us know ๐Ÿ˜‰ As I said someone must have a sense of humour, is very clever, or does not think about the translation.

On our last day in Hong Kong we headed down to Wan Chai Metro stop. From the metro we turned left and walked a 20140402_095450block or two before we came to this restaurant. It was tricky to find since it is on the 3rd or 4th floor and the sign was covered by trees. The entrance is into an office or apartment building, so it was easy to miss from street level. Luckily John’s friend waited for us on street level and lead the way. Inside we found a spacious restaurant in a 50’s style soda shop. Comfy couches on one sie and booths and tables on the other. Black and white floor tiles gave me the impression it was like the dinners of long ago.


Being a week day the place was not too crowded and service was pretty good. Weekends and later in the day we heard it would be crowded. Prices were reasonable and options for large English and Western style breakfasts adorned the menu. For many of the plates you could ‘build your own’. The sides were all listed on the bottom of the page and you could pick what you wanted to best compliment your meal. 20140402_092451Choices of breads went beyond your traditional white or brown toast to croissants, English muffins or pancakes. The side dishes were also different with healthy fruits, cinnamon apples, to more traditional tomato and potatoes. It was nice to have so many options.


The food came and loaded the plate. I had a delicious omelette with the sides of fruit and cinnamon apples. John’s friend had poached eggs, side of fruit and tomato. John had a big breakfast with fruit and potato. It filled us up and was delicious. Juice is included in the meal, or for an additional 20 HK$ (I think) you could have a bottomless cup of coffee. The atmosphere and food were just like home. Being away for so long sometimes it is just nice to have something familiar. Not to mention the unappealing breakfasts that was included in our hotel package. After 2 days of that this was a nice and welcome treat.



The Flying Pan was a little hidden gem that I am sure we will seek out again if we return to Hong Kong.

What is your favourite place for breakfast?

Stay tuned…

Categories: travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , ,

Lady in the Moon

As a child we heard silly stories that the moon was made of cheese or there was a man in the moon. In China they have a legend about a lady in the moon.

The story is about the holiday that is held in September or October on a full moon. It is a time of celebration and the second most important holiday after Chinese New Year. Families get together and have a large meal together and it is a time to celebrate the harvest. Very similar ideas to our Thanksgiving holiday, one of the Chinese teachers told me. The legend is about a lady who had to live on the moon and her husband was still on earth. The story goes she flew to the moon and wasn’t able to return. The moon is bright is round on this day so her husband can see her from earth.

Mooncakes are one of the traditional foods eaten for the Moon Festival. Moon cakes are flakey pastry most commonly filled with bean paste or an egg, which symbolises the full moon. Occasionally there are other flavours. I have had lotus and pineapple, which were my favourite. I also tried the bean and a black sesame. However, my all time favourite mooncake is ice cream ๐Ÿ™‚ This year I was given some ice cream mooncakes as a gift. Each one wasย  a different flavour… chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, raspberry, caramel… and the centre one was vanilla with a cheesecake like bit and an orange coloured sherbet in the centre, which I think was passionfruit.



This relates to LavendarLadi’s suggestion on her recent post to talk about legends…

What legend or story can you share? Post your link below and over at the above link for Lavendar Ladi’s blog.

Stay tuned…

Categories: teaching overseas, Tourist in My Own Town, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Food & Sweet: Photo Challenges

Whenever possible I try to combine photo challenges to save time when busy with work, or in the summer to get outside and enjoy the blue sky and sunshine. Also the ‘are you done yet?’ from John hurries me along. ๐Ÿ˜‰ This week what was a more fitting combination than We Drink because we are Poets theme FOOD and SWEET from Where’s my Backpack? I know I should post on some crazy treats from China, but after a visit to Ottawa last week for a conference I came across a favourite Canadian treat that I should share. I posted last week on the Montreal Bagels I had while there and they also fit the theme, so if you missed it check it out here.

Beaver Tails, or Queues de Castor in French, sounds gross if you think of the furry little dam building creatures, but I assure you no beavers were harmed in their making ๐Ÿ˜‰ I never heard of these pasties until my first trip to Ottawa about 10 years ago. The friends I went with had, so they were on a mission to find the pastry stand and buy a few. I must live a sheltered life and missed out in this sweet sticky fried mess for so many years of my life. It seems the popularity is still going strong as the little stand in the Byward market had a steady stream of customers day and night. With the changing times a wider selection of toppings seems to be available from what I remembered.

The small stand in the Byward Market

The small stand in the Byward Market

So what is a Beaver Tail? Well it is dough pulled into a long oval shape to resemble… you guessed it… a beaver’s tail. It is then quickly deep fried, so they are always fresh. After picking your flavour they slop on a generous topping of cinnamon sugar, hazelnut spread, or maple butter to name a few sweet flavours. It you prefer a more savory there is garlic butter with cheese. ย Balancing the sweet sticky hot goodness, which is about as long as my forearm, I take a delicious bite. It kind of tastes like a doughnut, but not as puffy in thickness.

Beaver Tails originated in Canada and have been around since 1978. I also learned they are in 3 different countries and of course all across Canada. Who knew there is even one tucked away in Niagara Falls just off the main tourist trap street, Clifton Hill. If you want to learn more check out Wikipedia for a short description.

What kind would you like to try?

What kind would you like to try?

How did they taste… delicious. I had the maple butter (hey what could be more Canadian?) and my friend had cheese cake with Skor candy bar. Luckily we had lots of napkins because when we were done our hands and faces resembled a small 3-year-old who dove in face first to a birthday cake. We tried our best to eat them carefully, but the size and amount of toppings that melt from a combination of the heat outside and them fresh out of the deep fryer made the task of staying clean and lady like almost impossible.

What flavour would you like to try?

Stay tuned…

Categories: Tourist in My Own Town, travel, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

FRESH Montreal Bagels: Weekly Photo Challenge

This week’s theme is FRESH. I am really enjoying the FRESH air after a bad few months in Shanghai dealing with higher than normal pollution levels. Little hard to take photos of air ๐Ÿ˜‰ After heading to Ottawa for a conference I had lots of photos to look through. I was able to explore the city for a few hours and snap pics of the Parliament buildings. As I scanned the 538 pics I came across my Saturday morning photos when we walked through the Byward Market and discovered Montreal Style Bagels. These style are by far the best I have ever had. They are not as heavy and bready as most bagels and before cooking they are dipped in a honey water bath that makes them ever so sweet. If it is authentic place they aim to cook them in a wood fired oven which, gives them a better taste, or so it seems. Each of these were made by hand early that morning as I watched and waited for my bagel to be prepared. A little bit of butter is all that is needed so you can enjoy the flavours and they are not masked by anything else. For $1.75 I enjoyed a buttered bagel toasted and fresh out of the oven.

Bagels in the wood fired oven

Bagels in the wood fired oven

What smells better than FRESH baked bread?


This part of the market smelled so delicious. They were so yummy I went back and bought half a dozen to take home (only $5).

Head over to Word Press to see more examples of Fresh or post your own.

Stay tuned… working on posting on another photo challenge and more about Ottawa.

Categories: post a week, travel, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

What is it? Luo Han Guo

The Chinese are known for their traditional medicines and natural remedies. Sometimes we are lucky or brave enough to try them. In January right around parent teacher interviews I had a case of laryngitis brought on from a combination of a sinus infection, dry air from the heating, pollution and not drinking enough water. After a few days rest and antibiotics I started to get better, but my voice was not coming back. I have some lovely parents and they brought me throat lozenges from many places around the world. They lovingly gave them to me to try. They helped my throat feel better, but my voice was still scratchy. One parent suggested I try this tea and promised to send it the next day. Instead she ran off to the shops and returned with the product straight away.


Opening the fruit which was wrapped in a styrofoam mesh, like the expensive fruit at the grocery store, I was surprised to find a hollow sounding greenish brown fruit. The only way to open it was to bang it with something hard and it cracked like an eggshell. Inside a hollow centre held some seed looking things in the shape of corn kernels, but larger. The instructions said to place a small bit in boiling water and drink. It is supposed to sooth the throat. I was willing to try anything as long as it didn’t taste or smell bad. Neither… it was actually quite sweet with an indescribable flavour. Almost immediately my throat felt better and my voice started to return. It is like a miracle cure! I had tried the honey and lemon, numerous kinds of cough candy, gargles and other natural remedies, but nothing ever worked so well and so fast. For someone who has lost her voice a lot this was a true gem!


So what is this miracle? Well it is called Luo Han Guo (pronounced Lou hang gwah). It is native to China and parts of Thailand. I have learned it is a sweet fruit and it spoils quickly, so it is usually dried. It is used mainly in teas and some companies and traditional medicines use it as a sweetener. If you would like to read more than check out this article I found here. It starts out very medical/scientific, but skip past that for more details.

I left one of these at my brother’s when I was home last and he thought it was a ball and threw it in the kid’s toy box! They are light and hollow feeling, but what they hold inside is very interesting and some say funny looking. I have had some odd looks to “What is that???”, but hey sometimes nature knows best.

This week I have been suffering from another sinus cold and sore throat and I have found not only Luo Han Guo fruit, but medicine in a more concentrated form. They work wonders. I was feeling better, but it has settled back in, (the pollution is bad and seems to trigger this) so off I go to cuddle on the sofa to watch some TV and drink my funny looking tea.

So what is your home remedy or must have when you are sick? Share below in the comment section.

Stay tuned…. or check out my previous posts this weekend. I did 2 photo challenges on Peaceful (Peaceful and Peaceful #2) and another on Fleeting.

Categories: Chinese Adventures, Culture, post a week, strange adventures, teaching overseas | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Cost of Shanghai -May 28, 2013

Last year Jennifer at My Sardinian Life posted the cost of some things she purchased at the grocery store. A few others also posted on weekly purchases. Marianne has posted many times on the subject and it has been pretty interesting to compare. To see one of her shopping posts you can click here.

Yesterday I went off to the grocery store and bought a few things. I went to escape the drilling of the renovations 2 floors below me and ended up coming home with more than the original plan of the organic salad mix and flavoured coffee that I went for. As you know you should NEVER go shopping while hungry.


I decided to take my time and wander the aisles of the small shop. This shop caters to Expats and carries many Western products from Europe and The United States, all at a price. I enjoy browsing the two for 1 shelf and getting some good deals on products that we normally would avoid since the price is so inflated. I came away with 2 bags of chocolate crispy chocolate chunks for less than $3.00. I have been craving cheese Pringles that normally cost me 7-8 RMB, but here were 13! I haven’t been able to get them at my regular shop in weeks, so I splurged the extra 75 cents. Imagine my delight when I found my crunchy cheesies (OK I was hungry AND tired).ย  It is hard to find them here and the local brand of Cheetos is meat flavours… not so delightful, especially when you are expecting that salty cheese flavour! These are a bit expensive, but baked and gluten-free. It has also been a year since they have been in stock, so I grabbed them before they were gone again. Inside I was doing a little happy dance, since people may stare if I was dancing in the aisles ๐Ÿ˜‰ Who knew such little things could bring such excitement to my day? (again did I mention I am tired and in the middle of writing report cards?).

My favourite weekend flavoured coffee, a caramel cappuccino, was next on the agenda and for 23 RMB for 10 packets it is WAY cheaper than a plain cappuccino at Star Bucks, or any other Western coffee place. A quick glance around and up and down the chocolate aisle (about 3 times) I left and went to get what I came for. First I grabbed some apple chips which are dehydrated apple and great to put in my hot oatmeal. Oatmeal here comes in plain, some purple chestnut, red gogi berry and corn flavours. Yes I did say corn… so I make my own with a little sugar, cinnamon and apple chips. Making my own is much cheaper than buying the Quaker which is shipped in from the US and is sold here for a whopping 30 or 40 RMBย  a box (that is about $4.50-$6!). Next was a big container of salad mix which is mixed organic greens and some small tomatoes. The salad mix costs 10RMB ($1.50) and it is a bargain price and good quality. It will last me all week for lunch, so a super cheap meal to beat the heat. The tomatoes were 6.90 RMB, so about $1.00.

DSC03735Today I didn’t buy any meat, so my total purchases were low. Temperatures started to rise yesterday and the humidity levels are stifling already. Lots of rain is forecasted, so the humidity will only get higher. When this kind of heat comes along I can’t eat, so I avoid rich and heavy foods and go for the cool crunchy salads which are much more refreshing. Sometimes I add nuts or chicken, but I already had some at home, so no need to buy more. The total came to 160.60 RMB which is about $24-$25 Canadian.


What are the prices like in your neighbourhood?

Stay tuned…

Categories: Chinese Adventures, everyday occurances, post a week | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Weekly Photo Challenge: Lunch

I have started to take photos of food and my husband always comments that it is weird. Well lucky me I had some great shots for this week’s challenge ๐Ÿ˜‰ And hey taking pictures of something that looks strange, or a work of art is a great memory frozen in time. Besides sometimes seeing is believing!

Last year I had one of those very moments. My co-teacher and her husband took me and my husband out for the day. We went to lunch in a place that was over flowing with diners. Service was fast and the noise level high which added all to the Chinese experience. We would never brave an establishment like this on our own since we speak little Chinese and how would we order… or worse what would we get??? Pointing a pictures may end up in some strange dishes and things you would rather not know they cook and serve, let alone eat.ย  After a brief conversation about what meats we liked they took to ordering. This is what appeared on our table.

Duck Tongue Delicacy

A real foulย  delicacy ๐Ÿ˜‰

We had some duck, chicken and pork. See the funny looking ‘meat’ in the front. The ‘sticky’ looking things. Try to guess what it is before reading on. It is not something I would ever think of eating, nor cooking. Give up??? Clue… it is poultry…. and a part of the animal. What did you guess? Put your guesses below in the comment section. I can’t wait to hear your suggestions. Anyway it is duck tongue! Yes duck tongue. She swears it is delicious, but I had to take her word on it. Even John who can be more adventurous, and not the same picky eater that I am, refused to try it. As they were eating the tangled mess it would be sticking out of their mouth and reminded me more of some bizarre insect with legs everywhere. I’ll stick to the chicken thank you.

Another bizarre food which is a Canadian speciality never really struck me as weird until talking about it to a fellow (American) teacher. They described it as a heart attack waiting to happen. I think it is delicious. Canada isn’t known for its cuisine. When people ask what foods is Canadaย  known for they come up with Canadian Bacon and Maple Syrup. someone even suggested the other day we eat maple syrup on everything! Really! I’ve known them 3 years and I don’t think I’ve eaten anything with syrup on it in front of them. Anyway the other food I am trying to share is poutine (poo-teen). It is a French Canadian dish and yes loaded with calories, but the savory and salty mix is lovely. I must admit I never tried it until a few years ago and thought WOW what I have been missing! I am not one to like gravy on my fries, so I avoided it. One day something tempted me to try it and I was hooked.

Salty Savory Poutine

Salty Savory Poutine

It has to be done right too, or it is not good. They have to be fresh cut fries and best if the skin is still on the ‘taters. Then a good beef gravy, NOT canned. Some people use shredded mozzarella cheese and that is just WRONG. It needs to be the big chunky, salty cheese curds that Quebec is known for. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

What is the strangest thing you have seen for lunch?

What food is your country known for?

To see more examples or join in the challenge go to Word Press here, or just add a comment below and stay tuned ๐Ÿ™‚

Categories: Chinese Adventures, Photography, post a week, strange adventures, travel, unique experiences, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Weekly Image of Life: Colourful Niagara

OK I am Canadian eh…. and like the British, Aussies, Kiwis and others we spell colour with a U… it is not an error ๐Ÿ˜‰

This week Island Traveller has posted another great photo theme and this week it is colour. Go here to join in or see more examples and interpretations of colour. I just got a new camera last weekend and the next morning we went out to the local farmer’s market in downtown St. Catharines, Ontario and I tried it out. The farmer’s market is every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. A host of sellers from all around the region come and sell their wares from meats, cheeses, bread, ice cream, desserts, flowers, crafts and of course FRESH LOCALLY GROWN produce. Niagara Region is known as the ‘fruit belt’ or was once. It is home to many orchards and farms that grow everything from strawberries, cherries, plums, peaches, pears and apples. For each fruit season a small town will host an event from the Strawberry Festival in Beamsville in June to the Winona Peach festival in August. Slowly as industry has moved elsewhere, as local prices and wages rise, and the price of land is more valuable than the fruit that the farmers are selling, farmers have been selling off their land to developers. Housing developments now stand where orchards once did. As a kid I remember the little road side stands that were everywhere selling the local seasonal fruits and veggies. Now you are lucky if you can get local produce at the supermarket! A few fruit farms are still around and larger tourist attraction type stands sell local produce, crafts, baked goods and souvenirs.There was something about slowing down to see what was available and then pulling over if something caught your fancy. Now it is just like going to any other shop… and sometimes just as big and impersonal.

Local Colour – Blue Berries and Juciy Red Strawberries

Luckily we have an ideal climate for grapes with being so close to the lake and the escarpment (small hill where the lake once reached) so our autumn is milder than other areas and grapes have a longer growing season. Some orchards have been removed and vineyards have been placed, which is much better than yet another housing development with large two story houses on postage sized lots. Niagara wines are becoming pretty famous and known on the world stage, partly thanks to the ice wine! Ice wine is a very sweet dessert wine which is made when grapes are left on the vine long after the fall harvest. When temperatures dip to -10*c or colder for 2-4 consecutive days the grapes are ready to be picked. Volunteers and the vintners harvest the little frozen grape marbles before sunrise and they have a chance to melt. The result a very sweet wine that is somewhat rare and expensive!

For colour this week enjoy some colour of Niagara’s Fruit… sweet, juicy and delicious!

Local Colours – Fruit and Honey

We are off to Cuba for the next 2 weeks so I will not be able to post , reply or check email until after we return. We will be off the technology map with little available TV, no computers or internet… just sun, sand, surf and Cuban Culture to entertain us!

Stay tuned for more about Canada, Cuba and China in a few weeks…

Categories: Photography, post a week, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,