Wa-pedia Home > Japan Forum & Europe Forum
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 48

Thread: Chinese food in China; not as good as expected

  1. #1
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location
    ¼‹ž
    Posts
    2,434

    Chinese food in China; not as good as expected

    I have been to Shanghai and Beijing this year. I tried "real" Chinese food from China for the first time, after having had it in Europe, Thailand, Japan, Australia or Hawaii. I have to say that I was rather disappointed. I tried all the main types of Chinese food : Shanghainese, Cantonese, Sichuanese, Pekinese, and Shangxinese. I had already been disappointed by Chinese food in Japan, compared to the one in Belgium and Australia (the two best I have eaten in average worldwide).

    Chinese food in Japan is very different from that in Western countries. Chinese usually means gyoza (jiaozi), ramen or tantanmen, shoronpo (dim sum), which is the good part. When it comes to rice dishes, it is usually less good and less varied than the best Chinese of Western countries. Japanese Chinese is pretty much limited to chukadon, ebi chili, subuta, mabo doufu and a few other dishes. Expensive Chinese in Japan serve bird's nest, shark's fin, abalone, and other typical Imperial Chinese delicacies, but frankly, it's not because it's costly that it is good.

    In China, I found all the dishes I had seen in Japan, as well as many of those in the West (but not all, e.g. I couldn't find orange duck, lemon chicken, black beans pork, crsipy chicken in tomato-sauce on cabbage, fried vegetable thick noodles, BBQ pork, etc.). That is probably due to the shortness of my stay. On the whole, the food was less good, and rather poor quality. I had to go to the most expensive restaurants in town (e.g. Fangshan in Beihai Park in Beijing, and the Cantonese restaurant or Shanghai's Grand Hyatt) to find something equivalent to what I'd eat in Belgium. The irony is that it was more expensive in China, where the GDP per capita is 30x lower.

    Did anybody else have similar impressions ? Thomas, Bossel, Rocklee and other that went to China ?

    Visit Japan for free with Wa-pedia
    See what's new on the forum ?
    Eupedia : Europe Guide & Genetics
    Maciamo & Eupedia on Twitter

    "What is the use of living, if it be not to strive for noble causes and to make this muddled world a better place for those who will live in it after we are gone?", Winston Churchill.

  2. #2
    Chukchi Salmon lexico's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 22, 2004
    Location
    Sunny South Korea
    Posts
    229
    Another great topic, Mac !
    I have never taken the effort to see the big picture regarding Chinese food although I've always loved "Chinese food." I could safely say that Chinese is my favourite kind of all dishes of the world. That having been said, I am also puzzled by the fact that I could rarely find in China the kind of Chinese food I enjoyed outside China, mainly the kind of vegetable & meat dishes served in Korea, Pacific US, the UK, and Europe. I think there is some link to the history of Chinese immigration and migration. I've noticed many overseas Chinese either come from the southern or coastal China stretching from Shandong, Fuzhou, Shanghai, Guangdong and also from Chinese communities clustered in SE Asia.

    I think the international envorinment and exposure to non-Chinese people posed the traditional Chinese chefs with a challenge to adapt their cooking to something more universally palatable as well as having to use material more readily available. The great taste of internaltional Chinese dishes, therefore, can be attributed at least in part to the creativity of the Chinese businesses to adapt something ethnic to people of other ethnic groups. Mainland China may not have had this kind of contact, pressure, or opportunity to play the Chinese tune to a more foreign audience. Perhaps this will change with the continuing flow of business with foreigners.

    As for the price of westernised Chinese food in Beijing, I really can't say much. Perhaps they are exorbitantly expensive due to both the scarcity of internationalised Chinese cooks and the relatively high demand. Another possibility is the tradition of Chinese hospitality that dictates that an important guest be treated with extreme lavishness. Too many rich people of the past may have disrupted the pricing system of internationalised Chinese food.

    Yes, I love Chinese food, but getting by in China can be a struggle indeed. I would say it helps to be flexible, creative, and open to experiment if anyone plans to stay for more than a few months in China. In general, I have found Shandong dishes highly elegant and tasteful.
    Z: The fish in the water are happy.
    H: How do you know ? You're not fish.
    Z: How do you know I don't ? You're not me.
    H: True I am not you, and I cannot know. Likewise, I know you're not, therefore I know you don't.
    Z: You asked me how I knew implying you knew I knew. In fact I saw some fish, strolling down by the Hao River, all jolly and gay.

    --Zhuangzi

  3. #3
    Hullu RockLee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 22, 2004
    Location
    Espoo
    Age
    36
    Posts
    217
    I'll start with the food in Beijing as that's where I visited first
    In general I think Beijing food is kind of spicy, I only ate Chinese food in Belgium before and as you already might know tastes nothing unlike real Chinese food.A Chinese friend(From Hong Kong, so it's Canton food) owning a Chinese restaurant told me that the food they make here is adjusted to Western taste, that's maybe why you found it really different Maciamo ? In general Beijing food wasn't that bad because I'm more into Asian food anyways.One thing though is that you have to get used to eating spicy to really mouthburning hot food.I expected more of Peking duck, but maybe I just went to the wrong restaurant Having porriage, dumplings and that kind of food for breakfast is something I couldn't get used too to be honest.Chinese bread on the other hand was really tasty!

    In Shanghai the food tasted sweeter, my favourite food actually.I only spend 3 days in Shanghai so I didn't eat that many different kinds of food.But my impression was rather good.I like sweet more than spicy, so that's good hehe

    In Guanghzou I had also really good food, Canton specialities, lambmeat with thai-style rice, vietnamese style rice and small cut pork with honeysauce (the tastiest meal I ate in my whole life(also one of the most expensive ones in China).One piece of advice, keep away from those familyrestaurants ! It's more quantity than quality.Went to one in Shenzhen(it was part of a tour) and it was one of the worst experiences foodwise.Everyone packed like pigs and at least 10 people at 1 table. Not very hygenic I must say.

    My gf made me Chengdu food which nearly burned away my mouth Chengdu food is one of the most spiciest kind of food in China I think.

    I also ate a lot of different kinds of 'mien' or 'men'.The best kind was Yunnan speciality. My friend from Yunnan who lives in Beijing took me to a Restaurant with Yunnan food.


    Overal :- Chinese food wasn't that bad, much better than the Chinese food in Belgium in my opinion.Maciamo, do you know any good restaurants with tasty Chinese food in Belgium? Might give it a try and see if you're right.
    - I prefer Japanese food to Chinese food.More variaty and IMO much tastier.
    ~ Parempi hullu kuin tylsä - Better crazy than boring ~
    http://www.fin-style.be/blog -> My Blog about Finland and other random thingies.

  4. #4
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location
    ¼‹ž
    Posts
    2,434
    Quote Originally Posted by RockLee
    A Chinese friend(From Hong Kong, so it's Canton food) owning a Chinese restaurant told me that the food they make here is adjusted to Western taste, that's maybe why you found it really different Maciamo ?
    I know that it's adapted to Western taste. That's also why some dishes cannot be found in China, and other taste different. But from my limited experience in China, Westernised Chinese food tastes better than the real stuff. As Lexico said, it's maybe because overseas Chinese had to try harder and innovate to satisfy Westerners not used to Chinese food. That's especially true in culinarily demanding societies like France and Belgium.

    In general Beijing food wasn't that bad because I'm more into Asian food anyways.
    I also love Asian food. I found that Thai food in Thailand was as good or better than the one in Europe, and both Korean and Japanese food are much better in Korea and Japan than in Europe. That's why I was so surprised about the quality of Chinese food in China - especially that Chinese people are so proud about it.

    I expected more of Peking duck, but maybe I just went to the wrong restaurant.
    Me too !

    Chinese bread on the other hand was really tasty!
    Same here. Even stranger that bread in Japan can be pretty good (e.g. Kobeya, Vie de France...).

    In Guanghzou I had also really good food, Canton specialities, lambmeat with thai-style rice, vietnamese style rice and small cut pork with honeysauce (the tastiest meal I ate in my whole life(also one of the most expensive ones in China).
    The 2nd best meal I had in China was Cantonese food (in Shanghai). The best was the Imperial Chinese at Fangshan, but that was 500 RMB per person ! (never had such expensive Chinese food in Europe !)

    One piece of advice, keep away from those familyrestaurants ! It's more quantity than quality.
    I suppose that we went to lots of them with the tour. But it wasn't so cheap (40 to 80 RMB per dish, which is about twice the price of Chinese food in Belgium), especially by Chinese standard.

    Maciamo, do you know any good restaurants with tasty Chinese food in Belgium? Might give it a try and see if you're right.
    I mostly know restaurants in Wallonia. There is a famous take-away in Liege (4 branches, including one near the Opera) called MacLam. It's quite different from the other Chinese, but it's very good and the portions are huge for the price. The menu is so long that it takes 10min to decide. Another good one in Liege is on Place de la Cathedral, called Le Shanghai. In Namur they are almost all good. Try the one near the Casino, in front of the 'Pont de Jambes' (Jambes Bridge). Sorry I forgot the name.

  5. #5
    Hullu RockLee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 22, 2004
    Location
    Espoo
    Age
    36
    Posts
    217
    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    I also love Asian food. I found that Thai food in Thailand was as good or better than the one in Europe, and both Korean and Japanese food are much better in Korea and Japan than in Europe. That's why I was so surprised about the quality of Chinese food in China - especially that Chinese people are so proud about it.
    True, Japanese food tastes much better in Japan than Europe.I didn't have Korean yet, because frankly I don't know what to expect.Maybe Lexico can give me some tips on what to try the first time eating Korean food?

    I suppose that we went to lots of them with the tour. But it wasn't so cheap (40 to 80 RMB per dish, which is about twice the price of Chinese food in Belgium), especially by Chinese standard.
    With 3 people we ate for about 100RMB in an expensive restaurant and quite a lot of different food.So 40-80RMB is indeed expensive !

    I mostly know restaurants in Wallonia. There is a famous take-away in Liege (4 branches, including one near the Opera) called MacLam. It's quite different from the other Chinese, but it's very good and the portions are huge for the price. The menu is so long that it takes 10min to decide. Another good one in Liege is on Place de la Cathedral, called Le Shanghai. In Namur they are almost all good. Try the one near the Casino, in front of the 'Pont de Jambes' (Jambes Bridge). Sorry I forgot the name.
    Thanks, I might give it a try when I'm in Liège the next time.

  6. #6
    Banned
    Join Date
    Oct 16, 2005
    Location
    Tokyo
    Posts
    45
    I can't agree at all with the OP. I love Chinese food, and ate it almost exclusively in Hong Kong over the last couple of years.

    However when I went to Shanghai both the price and relative quality of the food was fantastic. Could eat all my Shanghaiese favourites for 20% of the (already cheap) cost in Hong Kong... mmmm I am salivating just thinking about it.

    But back to the topic at hand, I've found Chinese food is best served in China. Maybe the OP prefers Westernised versions of the dishes, which is why he thinks Belgian Chinese food is better?

  7. #7
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location
    ¼‹ž
    Posts
    2,434
    Quote Originally Posted by Gaijin 06
    But back to the topic at hand, I've found Chinese food is best served in China. Maybe the OP prefers Westernised versions of the dishes, which is why he thinks Belgian Chinese food is better?
    Just wondering, which Chinese restaurants have you tried in Belgium to disagree with me ?

    It's also fairly difficult to compared Westernised Chinese food in different countries. For example, the ones I tried in Hawaii (China Town, Alamohana Centre, Waikiki) were all quite disgusting (the worst Chinese food I have had so far). Non-Westernised Chinese food outside China (like in Japan, Thailand, Malaysia or Singapore) was better than what I ate in China for the same price. All the Japanese in the group agreed that it was less good than in Japan - except for the one at 500 RMB (7500yen) per person. But even for this price is was not so exceptional, and my wife also agreed that we could eat much better in Tokyo (Japanese, French, Italian, Indian, Mexican...) for much cheaper. Yet, this restaurant was praised by Lonely Planet as Beijing's most elaborate Imperial cuisine. We went there mostly because the older Japanese men in the group constantly complained to the guide that Chinese food in China was not good. The same happened in Shanghai. The best restaurant I went to was M on the Bund, which is French-Italian food. Despite being one of the most reputed restaurant in town, it was just average by Belgo-French standard.

    The Chinese food I ate in Italy and Spain was almost the same in every city (in both countries), and although better than in Hawaii, it was less good than in Belgium (similar level to Japan, although very different in style). Such restaurants are usually quite big, with the same stereotypically Chinese decoration, and usually empty. The Chinese restaurants I tried in France (mostly in the South) were also not remarkable, usually mixed with Vietnamese cooking (as there are many Vietnamese in France), and very different from those in Belgium or Australia. The best Chinese restaurants in Belgium have private rooms and revolving tables like in China and Japan, something I haven't seen in Southern Europe.

  8. #8
    Regular Member bossel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 28, 2003
    Location
    germany
    Posts
    319
    Can't compare much to German/European Chinese restaurants, since I only went to about 4 of them. 1 was long ago (~20 years) & was quite disappointing, some mushroom dish almost without any taste. The other 3 are quite recent (last year), for my girlfriend took me there. I told her that I wanted to taste the real deal & not some westernised fake; dishes served there tasted very well.

    For the experience in China: it varied.
    It is very dependent on which restaurant you go to. I was once invited for breakfast into South Sea Fishing Village & man, that was good! I don't know how much it cost (didn't dare to ask), but judging from the service (what was missing was being carried around) it must be quite expensive.

    The counter experience was a little restaurant in Beijing where I had Beijing duck, which was a huge disappointment. Bad service, taste alright, but not good, bad manners by the personnel (we sat right in front of some kitchen part & one of them constantly stared at me eating).
    Next day I had Beijing duck again, but in a restaurant of some chain & this was really good. Quite a number of Westerners in that restaurant (more than Chinese, which was the 1st time for me in China, else I was always the only one), it must have a name among them in Beijing.



    Quote Originally Posted by RockLee
    Chinese bread on the other hand was really tasty!
    Really? Well, I admit, it tastes well, but it's always the same (more like dessert [pastries?] than like bread, anyway, except when it's steamed with meat inside). Real bread (what I'd call real) doesn't look tasty (didn't buy it since I didn't have anything to put upon, only found something like cut (sausage or cheese) when we arrived in Beijing) & is as expensive as in Germany.

    One piece of advice, keep away from those familyrestaurants ! It's more quantity than quality.Went to one in Shenzhen(it was part of a tour) and it was one of the worst experiences foodwise.Everyone packed like pigs and at least 10 people at 1 table. Not very hygenic I must say.
    Bad advice! Some of the tastiest stuff I ate was from small restaurants or vending booths. You just have to find the right place, which should be not too hard if you have some Chinese friends. About hygiene you're right, though, but that's a topic of its own in China. One of the most tasty stuff I had, meat skewers, was prepared by a guy who had fingers, dirty beyond recognition.
    Haven't seen anything like what you said about 10 people at one table, except for the cases when I was invited into backrooms of a restaurant for a family meeting. But the tables were big & round, no problem there.

    I prefer Japanese food to Chinese food.More variaty and IMO much tastier.
    Nah, here I definitely cannot agree. The variety of Chinese food is phenomenal (I was there for only 3 weeks & touched only the surface of this sea of food). Dim sum alone are a world of their own. Same could be said about dumplings. There are numerous varieties.

    There are 2 things that bother me about Chinese food:
    - bones: meat is almost always cut into small pieces, with the bones, & then you have to eat around or gnaw the bones (& put them on the table afterwards)
    - prawns: they are highly estimated & when invited to lunch or dinner, you inevitably get them, 3 or 4 days in a row is just too often.

  9. #9
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location
    ¼‹ž
    Posts
    2,434
    I would like to add that for me price is part of the quality, as I consider the quality/price ratio. I also count the difference of GDP/capita, so a dish selling at 60 RMB (6 euro, 900yen) in China is basically the same price than a regular Chinese restaurant in Tokyo. Considering that salaries are about 10x lower in Beijing than Tokyo, 900yen in Beijing should be compared to a 9000yen dish in Tokyo. From this point of view, the food in China was very very overpriced.

    In Australia, I remember eating Chinese food for 5 AUS$ (2.5 euro at the time), and it tastes better than the cheaper range of food I had in China. Chinese food in Belgium is also very cheap (the cheapest of any cuisine in fact), with copious and tasty take-away for about 8 euro.

    Then comes the service. Whereas service is usually good in Japan, and in good Chinese in Belgium, it was quite bad in China, except in the 2 expensive restaurants where it was very good.

    Decoration-wise, it is usually quite mediocre in Japan even in expensive Imperial Chinese ones (esp. compared to Japanese kaiseki, French, Italian or India restaurants). In Belgium, good restaurants have great decoration, others, like in Southern Europe are stereotypical but ok. In China, it was usually fairly plain, except at the 2 expensive restaurants : of course the Grand Hyatt Shanghai (great decor), but also Fangshan in Beijing, which is in a traditional pavillion on an island in Beihai Park, just opposite the Forbidden City, with walls painted beautifully like a palace, and waitresses wearing a traditional dress. So decoration-wise, it depends more on the price, except in Japan were the 2 most expensive Chinese I tried (about 10,000yen per person at lunch) had the same very dull decoration in their private rooms.

    Overall, I would say that the best Chinese restaurant in Belgium are good on all the line. They are very well decorated, have good service, excellent food and are relatively cheap by Belgian standard. In Japan, the decoration is bad, service is good, and the food is fairly good, usually cheap but some really overpriced for the quality. In Australia, decoration and service are ok, but the food is good and very cheap. Same in Southern Europe, but a bit less good, and a bit more expensive. In Thailand, the decoration and service depend a lot on the place (touristy or not), but the food is good and cheap, except in big hotels and tourist-only restaurants were it's a bit too expensive. In Hawaii, the decoration was so-so, the service ok, the food bad, and the price reasonable.

    For some reason I almost didn't eat Chinese when I was living in the UK and Germany. I went to a Chinese all-you-can-eat in London's China Town last June, but it was very bad, had bad service, bad decoration, and was not so cheap by Western standard (well, London obviously isn't cheap).

  10. #10
    Banned
    Join Date
    Oct 16, 2005
    Location
    Tokyo
    Posts
    45
    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    Just wondering, which Chinese restaurants have you tried in Belgium to disagree with me ?
    You wrote
    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    I have to say that I was rather disappointed. I tried all the main types of Chinese food : Shanghainese, Cantonese, Sichuanese, Pekinese, and Shangxinese. I had already been disappointed by Chinese food in Japan, compared to the one in Belgium and Australia (the two best I have eaten in average worldwide).
    I wrote you may prefer Belgianized Chinese to real Chinese food. Not sure why I need to go to Belgium to draw that conclusion!

    I found that the many of the "best" restaurants in Shanghai (and also in Hong Kong) didn't have great decor, didnt look especially clean or look too inviting to Westerners, but that's where you hit the sweet spot for price/quality ratio.

    Maybe if you go with a Chinese person next time you would have a better experience.

  11. #11
    Hullu RockLee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 22, 2004
    Location
    Espoo
    Age
    36
    Posts
    217
    Quote Originally Posted by bossel
    The counter experience was a little restaurant in Beijing where I had Beijing duck, which was a huge disappointment. Bad service, taste alright, but not good, bad manners by the personnel (we sat right in front of some kitchen part & one of them constantly stared at me eating).
    That was kind of like my experience, the food was not bad tasting, but I expected more of it. Also if some of the waitresses look at you as if they want to jump your plate and eat it's not that comfortable People stared at me every second of the time I spent in China, unlike Japan where people didn't even mind or hardly looked.


    Really? Well, I admit, it tastes well, but it's always the same (more like dessert [pastries?] than like bread, anyway, except when it's steamed with meat inside). Real bread (what I'd call real) doesn't look tasty (didn't buy it since I didn't have anything to put upon, only found something like cut (sausage or cheese) when we arrived in Beijing) & is as expensive as in Germany.
    I didn't buy regular bread either for the same reasons, but I had a lot of pastry goods filled with wipped cream.One time I mistook the bread for one filled with W/cream but it was filled with some reddish paté or red beans.BIG MISTAKE !


    Bad advice! Some of the tastiest stuff I ate was from small restaurants or vending booths. You just have to find the right place, which should be not too hard if you have some Chinese friends. About hygiene you're right, though, but that's a topic of its own in China. One of the most tasty stuff I had, meat skewers, was prepared by a guy who had fingers, dirty beyond recognition.
    Haven't seen anything like what you said about 10 people at one table, except for the cases when I was invited into backrooms of a restaurant for a family meeting. But the tables were big & round, no problem there.
    Yeah that kind of thing is exactly what I mean, the round tables which can be rotated.Also this wasn't a small restaurant nor a vending booth, it was a big room filled with small tables and people packed like pigs.No privacy whatsoever That's what I mean with family restaurants, cheap and quantity above quality.

    Nah, here I definitely cannot agree. The variety of Chinese food is phenomenal (I was there for only 3 weeks & touched only the surface of this sea of food). Dim sum alone are a world of their own. Same could be said about dumplings. There are numerous variaties.
    Well I think every place has it's own speciality maybe, so ofcourse you have a wide range of different food and styles.But unlike Japan I didn't see that much fish in China no Sushi,Sashimi etc.
    Don't you think Chinese are more of a men/mien people? Always noodles, rice is more of a sidedish.They don't even eat every grain of rice !!

  12. #12
    Regular Member quiet sunshine's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 22, 2005
    Location
    Wuxi
    Age
    42
    Posts
    23
    Quote Originally Posted by RockLee
    Don't you think Chinese are more of a men/mien people? Always noodles, rice is more of a sidedish.They don't even eat every grain of rice !!
    North Chinese's staple food is flour food, South Chinese's staple food is rice.

  13. #13
    Hullu RockLee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 22, 2004
    Location
    Espoo
    Age
    36
    Posts
    217
    Quote Originally Posted by quiet sunshine
    North Chinese's staple food is flour food, South Chinese's staple food is rice.
    That explains why in Guangzhou there were more ricedishes

  14. #14
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location
    ¼‹ž
    Posts
    2,434
    By the way, many of the good Chinese restaurants in Belgium are held by Taiwanese people. Maybe that is why it is different from other Chinese ? Yet, I'd say that the cooking style is closer to Cantonese. No dim sum, no jiaozi, no men, no Imperial cuisine...

    The 'Mac Lam' restaurant mentioned above is very different in style from all the other Chinese in belgium, and contrarily to the others, the owner are not settled (2nd generation) immigrants, but temporary Chinese staff, most of whom speak only Chinese. Does anybody know what Chinese dialect does the word 'Mac Lam' come from ? It sounds more Vietnamese to me, but they don't have Vietnamese food at all... Probably Cantonese then (Mak Lam, I guess).

  15. #15
    Banned
    Join Date
    Oct 16, 2005
    Location
    Tokyo
    Posts
    45
    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    By the way, many of the good Chinese restaurants in Belgium are held by Taiwanese people. Maybe that is why it is different from other Chinese ? Yet, I'd say that the cooking style is closer to Cantonese. No dim sum, no jiaozi, no men, no Imperial cuisine...
    Umm, yum cha (dim sum) is a (the!) signature Cantonese meal....

  16. #16
    Okama XD Kama's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 10, 2004
    Location
    Poland
    Age
    38
    Posts
    22
    I haven't been to China, but my sensei once told us that Chinese food is worse in China than in Japan because the foreign country's food is made suitable to the local's taste. Maybe that's why?

    But I hope sushi in Japan will be better than in Poland :P

    ` My LiveJournal
    You are welcome

  17. #17
    Decommissioned ex-admin thomas's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 14, 2002
    Posts
    212
    Quote Originally Posted by Gaijin 06
    Maybe if you go with a Chinese person next time you would have a better experience.
    I concur. The best food I have had in Shanghai was at restaurants I would have missed without my Chinese friends. Will never forget the bear stew I had in one of my favourite places serving Harbin food close to Nanjing Lu, quite an experience.



    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    I would like to add that for me price is part of the quality, as I consider the quality/price ratio. I also count the difference of GDP/capita, so a dish selling at 60 RMB (6 euro, 900yen) in China is basically the same price than a regular Chinese restaurant in Tokyo. Considering that salaries are about 10x lower in Beijing than Tokyo, 900yen in Beijing should be compared to a 9000yen dish in Tokyo. From this point of view, the food in China was very very overpriced.
    Haven't been to Beijing yet, but the average price for a meal in Shanghai is around 10 to 15 RMB. Furthermore, the price difference between restaurants of lower and higher quality is not that large in fact, unless you dine at a 5 star hotel.

    My most favourite place in Shanghai: Jade Garden close to Huai Hai Lu

    => http://www.jade388.com/

  18. #18
    Banned
    Join Date
    Oct 16, 2005
    Location
    Tokyo
    Posts
    45
    Quote Originally Posted by thomas
    I concur. The best food I have had in Shanghai was at restaurants I would have missed without my Chinese friends.

    .......

    Haven't been to Beijing yet, but the average price for a meal in Shanghai is around 10 to 15 RMB.
    Both of these are spot on matches for my experience. Most of the restaurants/eateries I liked the most didn't have English menus and I was frequently the only gweilo in there, attracting many stares.

    My girlfriend & I are both very fond of our food, and we found we could almost make the price of the air fare from Hong Kong in food savings over a short break

  19. #19
    Banned
    Join Date
    Oct 16, 2005
    Location
    Tokyo
    Posts
    45
    By the way, what does bear taste like?!

  20. #20
    Banned
    Join Date
    Oct 16, 2005
    Location
    Tokyo
    Posts
    45
    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    Does anybody know what Chinese dialect does the word 'Mac Lam' come from ?
    You didn't end up eating in a restaurant with a big yellow M on the front did you? Sounds like some kind of mutton burger happy meal.....

  21. #21
    Chukchi Salmon lexico's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 22, 2004
    Location
    Sunny South Korea
    Posts
    229
    Quote Originally Posted by Gaijin 06
    By the way, what does bear taste like?!
    Wild ?

    I hear it tastes bitter; I also heard the Gilyak (Nivx) and the Ainu traditional diet included the ritual hunting and feasting on the bear. I am tempted to say equally of the Manchu & Mongol tribes of the lower Amur, but I'm a bit fuzzy on those details. Are bear paws really a delicacy ? (no, not the pastry with sweet anko filling)

  22. #22
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location
    ¼‹ž
    Posts
    2,434
    Here is some more to help for the comparison.

    In Japan, one can buy semi-ready-made Chinese food in supermarkets, that we only need to put in a pan with an onion, cabbage or hakusai. This is the Chinese fast-food par excellence, obviously less good than in a restaurant in Japan. Well, I'd say that it still tastes better than most of the food I had in China.

    Has anybody been to the famous dim sum restaurant in Shanghai's Yuyuan, called Nanxiang Mantou Dian ? They have a branch in Tokyo's Roppongi Hills too. I have been to both, and the Roppongi branch tasted better (and had better decoration).

    I tried 3x Mabou doufu in China, and it was less good that those I usually eat in Japan. In fact, I have to say that the best Mabou doufu I have had is the one my wife cooks (NOT the ready-made one bought in boxes). She has experimented a bit, and uses a firmer kind of toufu, and makes a thicker, browner sauce. I can't compare with Europe or S-E Asia, as I have never seen Mabou doufu there.

    Another thing that is usually better in Japan than China is the rice.

    This thread could serve as a recommendation for Chinese restaurants in various countries. Here are a few notable Chinese restaurants where I have been in Japan. The Kiwa Group operates over 20 chains of Chinese restaurants (so hundreds of restaurants) in Japan. Among them, I have been to Wanjuji (万豚記) and Benitora (紅虎), both similar and specialising in Sichuan cuisine, especially tan-tan-men, gyoza and fried rice. That's one of the best chain of Chinese I know in Japan.

    One chain I wouldn't recommend is Seiryumon (青龍門), which interestingly belongs to the same Soho Group as Nanxiang in Roppongi Hills (see above). Nevertheless, I do recommend Nanxiang, except that it is a bit overpriced.

    Ginza Chuka Daiitchiro (銀座中華第一楼) is one of the Imperial Chinese I went to with my in-laws (for a birthday). It was expensive and nothing special. I guess that Imperial cuisine is always expensive because of the ingredients (shark's fin, bird's nest, abalone...), but it doesn't taste that great.

    Here is an example of a typical small Chinese restaurant held by Chinese people in Tokyo : Fuu (虎). It's good, but not exceptional (my wife's Jajamen is much tastier ), and a bit overpriced, as is usual wit Chinese restaurants in Japan. At equal price, Japanese (e.g. tendon, omerice, tonkatsu, bento...) or Italian food is much better quality in Tokyo.

    Well, many Chinese restaurants in Japan are small and don't have a website, so it's actually difficult to recommend these ones. What I can say is that I usually don't like much the messy, hole-in-the-whole type of Japanese-Chinese that always have the same limited menu : Chuka-don Ebi-chili, Subuta, Chaahan, Gyoza...
    Last edited by Maciamo; Nov 16, 2005 at 08:09.

  23. #23
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location
    ¼‹ž
    Posts
    2,434
    Quote Originally Posted by thomas
    I concur. The best food I have had in Shanghai was at restaurants I would have missed without my Chinese friends.
    We had a Chinese guide during the whole trip - that's why I don't understand. In short, DON'T trust guides of H.I.S. tours ! What's more we ended up going to more scam souvenir shops (10x over the real price) than sightseeing. Next time, it will be 'flight-only' (well, maybe hotel too, if it's a good deal).

    Quote Originally Posted by thomas
    Haven't been to Beijing yet, but the average price for a meal in Shanghai is around 10 to 15 RMB. Furthermore, the price difference between restaurants of lower and higher quality is not that large in fact, unless you dine at a 5 star hotel.
    All our meals were included in the tour, but I checked the menu on the wall, and the price in what looked like average family restaurants was between 40 and 80 RMB per dish (so probably over 100 RMB per person for a whole meal). According to the prices indicated in my Lonely Planet, that's normal for middle-range restaurants. Those at 10-15 RMB are the cheapest possible. Even in the "Cheap Eats" section, many still cost 30 to 40 per meal. Foreign food (Italian, French, India...) is typically over 100 RMB. The Fangshan restaurant I mentioned had menus between 100 and 500 RMB (without the drinks), which is normal for an upmarket restaurant in Beijing. A very tasty and copious meal (I couldn't even finish my dish, which never happens normally) at the Grand Hyatt Shanghai was 150 RMB per person. So it may be a bit cheaper in Shanghai.

  24. #24
    Regular Member bossel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 28, 2003
    Location
    germany
    Posts
    319
    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    DON'T trust guides of H.I.S. tours !
    Always better to have some Chinese friends or acquaintances who can show you round, preferably from the place you visit (else you end up moving around for hours on a number of different buses to find your destination, happened in Beijing to us).

    What's more we ended up going to more scam souvenir shops (10x over the real price) than sightseeing.
    I think, pretty much all souvenir shops are like that, esp. for foreigners. Eg. if you want to buy postcards, never go to a shop. At tourist locations there are numerous poor people selling the same postcards much cheaper than at what you get them in a shop: 18 (or even more than 20) yuan for one pack in a shop, 5 yuan for 2 packs near the Forbidden City.

    the price in what looked like average family restaurants was between 40 and 80 RMB per dish (so probably over 100 RMB per person for a whole meal).
    40-80 seems a bit high for "average family restaurants", but it probably also depends on where you are.

  25. #25
    Regular Member cyberryo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 15, 2005
    Location
    Singapore
    Posts
    15
    I would have to concur with Gaijin 06. Go with your Chinese friends or business associates. I am a Chinese from Singapore, and on my business trips to Shanghai, Beijing or even HongKong, I would also ask my Chinese friends for their recomendation. So far, I have nothing to complain, and can attest that there are good Chinese restaurants where the food is great. But there are also many other Chinese restaurants where the quality is not so good. The locals who do a lot of business entertaining would know.

    Restaurants recommended by tour guides on your package tours in China cannot be fully trusted, as most of these guides get commission for taking the tourists there.
    Ken

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Three Gorges Dam : good or not ?
    By A ke bono kane kotto in forum Other China-related discussions
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: Mar 30, 2010, 17:04
  2. How different is American-Chinese food from real Chinese food ?
    By GoldCoinLover in forum Chinese Culture & History
    Replies: 34
    Last Post: Oct 9, 2009, 15:36
  3. Study Chinese in Kunming, China
    By minds39 in forum Chinese language
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: Apr 1, 2009, 20:27
  4. Spoof News: China Plans to Phase Out Chinese Characters ?
    By lexico in forum Chinese language
    Replies: 23
    Last Post: Aug 19, 2005, 10:31

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •