Friday, September 16, 2011

Starving In Shanxi

There are times when skipping breakfast, the most important meal of the day, might be appropriate. For example, if you are planning to hit a Chinese tourist site extra early, you'll expect that there will be a variety of morning snack choices available all along the way.

But if you also decide that you're going to save up your appetite for a nice, hearty lunch, say Shanxi hot pot, but wait just a bit too long (in other words, you spend a little extra time at the tourist site and are now outside the prescribed Datong lunch hours), you might find yourself in a bit of a quandary.

Take our experience, for example...

After deciding we were all fine to delay our meals in lieu of touring , we arrived back at the area of our hotel around 2:30 pm. In a city of three million people (that's twice the population of Philadelphia, by the way), you would think that there would be plenty of places to choose from for a late lunch...

First choice, hot pot. Door locked...Waitress asleep on two chairs pushed together.

Second choice, dao shao mian. Metal gate pulled down.

Every other place? Locked up tight...Sometimes with workers taking siestas on mats on the ground or in the back of sanlunches!

We learned very quickly that we could walk for blocks and blocks and not find a single open restaurant. The hours of most places were clearly stated on the door...See the accompanying photograph for a very clear statement of operating hours...

So what's a starving family to do? Take their own siestas and head out for an early dinner...

By the way, Shanxi hot pot rocks!

~Desi

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