Wednesday, August 5, 2009
First Taste of Changsha
Aug. 2 - Twenty hours after leaving Chicago, I arrived in Changsha Sunday night. Although probably unknown of by most Americans, Changsha is a big city, with a population of more than 6 million.
Changsha does not appear to sleep. Even at 11 p.m. the streets around the hotel were bustling. People sat on stools drinking cold beer on the sidewalks outside restaurants and even below a street overpass. This “fourth meal” is very popular, and the locals have a strong drinking culture, said Sean, director of teaching, who picked me up from the airport.
I got my first taste of Hunanese food that night and it did not disappoint – fiery hot. Sean and I walked down the street from the hotel to grab a bite to eat. He ordered a dish of pork with green peppers and another of eggplant and green beans with red chili peppers (or as Amy calls it, aubergine and green beans). Both dishes were swimming in oil.
Next to us, a table of people dug into a plate of steamed crawfish. Throughout our meal, a man -- thick glasses covering most of his face and a fanny pack slung around his waist -- came into the restaurant with plates of stinky tofu.
“Chou dofu?” he asked in our direction. I shook my head. I was not ready to try the blackened blocks, at least not that night.
We took a brief walk around the block, Sean pointing out noodle shops, bakeries, antique stores and Changsha No. 1 Middle School, where orientation will be held for the teachers. Within walking distance from the hotel seems to be everything I can imaginably need or want, including American fast food. But my first meal in Changsha was so tasty I think it will be many months before I crave Pizza Hut.
Posted by Jolie at 6:19 PM