If you have ever been to China, you'll have experienced many strange Chinese dishes. If you haven't been to China, then you are probably lucky!
OK, I'm kidding, it's not that bad.
It takes a long time getting used to though: there is bones in almost every meat dish, rice and noodles are the most common foods, and Western food is quite hard to come by. When I say 'Western' food, I mean Western food that my family would commonly eat as part of our meals at home; so, boneless chicken breast and good quality beef and mince fresh from the butchers. However, most Chinese stores sell some Western snacks, such as Pringles, Snickers bars and Ferrero Rocher.
Over here, it is easy to get meat at a market, but I still haven't been brave enough to try it out yet. The potatoes at the market are good quality though, so I buy them quite often (Can you tell I'm Irish)?
Breakfast time is generally some eggs or a packet of Belvita breakfast biscuits, depending on how much time I have in the morning. If I am up early (which I never am), then sometimes I would have time for some porridge, having brought 20 packs of Quaker Oats over with me in my suitcase.
Lunch time can be a little more complicated. In my first week here, I tried to be experimental with the Chinese dishes, and I tried chopped chicken and rice, beef sirloin and rice, and fried rice (see the common theme here)?
However, the chopped chicken was literal chicken chopped up from head to toe with plenty of bones, the beef sirloin was not the same beef sirloin that Anne McMahon would whip up as a Saturday night special, and the fried rice had tiny pieces of processed ham mixed in with it. In saying that though, the fried rice is probably the best dish I've had so far in my time here, so it has become a firm lunch favourite.
Dinner time is generally my favourite part of the day, because after a long day of work I get home and make myself some mashed potatoes with a dab of butter and a sprinkling of salt - the dream dish when you are living in China!
Thursday nights are also Intern China dinner nights and some of the interns will meet up and try a different restaurant every week to sample a different taste of Chinese cuisine. I've been out for dinner twice with the rest of the interns; the first night we tried dumplings, which were very tasty, and the second night we had a range of spicy food at a Hunan restaurant. I'm really not a lover of spice, so the spicy potatoes didn't even tickle my fancy!
The food is most definitely not for me, but I'm trying my best to embrace the culture as much as possible, making sure I use chopsticks for every single meal. It gets much easier over time, and using a fork and knife seems totally unnecessary when you get used to using chopsticks.
I now have less than 5 weeks left in China, which seems crazy considering I've only just arrived a few weeks ago. However, in the four short weeks that I've been here so far, I feel like I've packed a lot in, and each day is another great opportunity to learn something new. I'm embracing every second, both the good and the bad moments. I'm excited about the rest of my time here, and I'm looking forward to sharing more updates as the weeks go on.
Once again, thank you for taking the time to read this blog entry, and I hope I have given you a little bit of an insight in to life in China.
P.s. Mum, if you read this, can you make me mashed potatoes, chicken breast (boneless) and mushy peas for when I arrive home? You're the best, thanks! X