Friday, October 24, 2008

Chuan(r) Wars

Knowing that we have a son who eats from his own selection of four food groups (noodles, chicken, an occasional banana, and all the junk food he can convince us to let us eat), we knew that the choices that China might provide could pose a culinary quandary for our "carbohydrate kid."

Happily, that has not been the overarching issue we were expecting. In fact, Z might be eating even a bit better here than in the States, in part due to "chuan(r) wars..."

Chuan(r) is similar to a kebab. In Beijing, there are many varieties in what is placed on the skewer, as well as how it is prepared. Sometimes it is spiced directly and placed on a makeshift grill with a shifu fanning and flipping. Other times it is soaked in hot oil (ma la tang style). Yet even within the styles, there is great variation.

Take last Saturday. For lunch we stopped at a chuan(r) restaurant by the west gate of Qinghua University. In all, we polished off 37 skewers of chicken (Z's favorite), lamb (Steve's favorite), potato slices (Julie's favorite), and eggplant slices (my favorite). They were slightly spices and grilled to perfection. In particular, the chicken reminded us of the dark meat teriyaki chicken skewers you could get at a Chinese take out restaurant in the US.

For dinner, it was off to our favorite Xinjiang restaurant in Yabao Lu for...you guessed it, more chuan(r). Here, yang rou chuan(r) (that's the lamb, probably the most popular) abounds. For Z, it's the very lean, white meat chicken skewers that he's most interested in (bu yao la, please...no spice!) We've seen him devour 15 at one sitting. This is undoubtedly source of protein in China.

Piecing together fresh carrots from the alley market, mi fan (white rice that is available at almost every restaurant), buttered noodles (cooked almost daily by his mom), a healthy supply of ji rou chuan(r), and, of course, all the junk food he can convince us to let him eat, he continues to thrive (OK, Grandma?!)

~Desi

PS: Now if we could only do a better job at this milk thing!

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