Friday, November 07, 2008

Street Food Seasons

One of the things that I know I'll miss most about living in China (no, I'm not getting nostalgic already!) is the ability to eat on the run...literally. The street food in China abounds and, depending on the season, the choices are varied and plentiful.

Knowing that fall is upon us, I was waiting for the appearance of bai shu. That's sweet potato to you and me. I had heard that this was a popular autumn snack, so when I saw the first street vendor I was ready. Set up on his bike with some sort of 50 gallon drum with a hole in it (and most likely containing coal), he roasts these beauties perfectly. Just pick one out and he'll weigh it on his make-shift scale and charge somewhere between 3 and 5 kuai. No need for butter and salt. Just peel away some skin and take a bite of autumn.

Other current selections include chestnuts roasting in a pile of heated stones, tiny Chinese hawthorns and other fruits candied and on a stick (bing tang hu lu), an autumn fruit called shizi, which we've purchased but have not yet figured out how to eat, grilled sausages of different shapes and sizes, and steamed corn which is a holdover from the summer (vendors carry the cooked ears into tourist spots in huge bags and hordes of hungry travelers take advantage of this convenient snack!).

Can't wait to see what winter has in store!

~Desi

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