英语学习杂志 2014-04-01 15:57






By Amirah Ahmad

言佳 注

Orange chicken, beef and broccoli, a cup of fried rice and you have Chinese food. At least, that’s how I categorized the nation’s entire food supply until I came here. In China, food isn’t simply a meal for a foreigner. It’s an experience. Failing to order the right food and grappling with my chopsticks are only parts of the adventure when I sit down in a restaurant.

Ordering food has been one of the most challenging aspects of this trip. Often times, not every dish has a photograph displayed, so essentially it all becomes a childish guessing game of my father and I guessing what type of vegetables or meat we’re eating. The experience can be just as grueling for the waiters as it can be for us. Waiters dread serving us since we take triple the time to order food in comparison to the locals. In one of our favorite Sichuan restaurants, it took 3 waiters and 15 minutes for us to order only our drinks. I simply wanted water, but my dad wanted to try one of the fresh juice options they had listed on the menu. There were two problems, however. There were neither pictures nor English on the menu. After several hand gestures and charades, he ended up ordering just a coca cola to simplify things.

One of our most embarrassing moments, however, was at XiabuXiabu, a very famous hotpot chain. Whenever we had passed by the restaurant it was always busy, so we thought the place was worth a visit. We walked in and a girl was hollering through her microphone, and to my horror she was speaking to us. We didn’t know how to respond so we approached her and simply told her, “English.” She nodded to tell us she understood and had us wait until a couple seats opened up. Five minutes later she gestured us to sit down, and as soon as we did the entire restaurant, or so it seemed, stared at us. Uncomfortable already, we had the most difficulty ordering our meal, since there were so many steps to the entire process. Fortunately, the waitress was very patient and successfully gave us our food. Although it was not the best food I’d eaten in Beijing, it was certainly entertaining dropping things into the boiling pot of soup and watching the liquid ripple as the food helplessly drowned to the bottom of the pot. Too many times to count, however, noodles or pieces of lettuce slipped through my chopsticks onto the table. Once, I tried picking up a dumpling to show my father and dropped the ball onto his pants and we both stared at it as it rolled onto the floor. I looked behind me and people were snickering to themselves, obviously at my chopstick skills.

Chopsticks, however, are the least of my worries regarding food. The plethora of unusual foods can be interesting but also intimidating. One night, my father and I were strolling down Wangfujing Food Street that’s packed with various food stalls. I saw every possible food... on a stick. Scorpions, sea horses, starfish, and snake were just a few of the meats available for grilling. As I walked down the street, food vendors would poke their heads out and call to me to try their food since my foreign face stuck out in the crowd. Some of them would even tickle their scorpions on display to have their creepy, crawly legs fling about in the air.

Although I’m not willing to try food that still have their limbs attached to them, I am having a wonderful time trying out other street food. My hutong branches out from Nanluoguxiang, a popular tourist destination for food and random shopping. I’ve tried the fried tofu, slathered in sauce. I’ve also had a couple of Japanese fish balls which I enjoy eating as well as being made. The lady flipping them over and shuffling the balls around with two flimsy skewers amazes me every time. For breakfast on the weekends, I often have Chinese pancakes and banana milk. Other favorites of mine are spicy corn cobs and scallops that are still in their shell dressed with garlic and noodles and grilled over a hot fire.

The bakeries here are also worthy of mentioning. With the pretentious thinking that Americans are the best bakers, I was pleasantly surprised to taste Beijing’s heavenly bread. Not only is the quality very good, the options for different pastries and bakeries are endless. One of my favorites, however, is Holiland Bakery. The kitchen is free for everyone to peer in since the glass separating it from the store is completely clear.

Other than Chinese food, I’ve been having a taste of other Asian foods as well. A couple of weeks ago, I had dinner at a restaurant that specialized in Korean barbeque. We ordered lamb and beef and I had a field day trying the different colored sauces. The fresh meat that came off the grill was exceptional, and Mary, our Chinese friend, showed us how to wrap the meat with carrots, onions, and sauce with a piece of leafy green lettuce.

When we visited Tianjin, we found a small, authentic Thai restaurant which was owned by an old Thai woman. The owner, maybe of about 75 years old, befriended us as we flipped through her menu standing outside the restaurant. With her welcoming smile, she drew us in. On the walls hung many pictures of her and other people as well as people who seemed like Thai royalty. The Tom Yum soup, spinach, and chicken curry were all superb.

Although I am from America, I can handle my fair share of spicy food. Our favorite restaurant, a nearby Sichuan restaurant, has the spiciest dishes. We’ve tried the broiled fish , tofu, fried cabbage, and fried lamb and we have yet to try more. The spice has just enough heat to bring tears to your eyes, a bright red shade to your lips, and the perfect amount of flavor to warm your soul.

Although we may have our fair share of difficulties regarding food, our experiences give the best stories to tell. No matter how bizarre the foods are or how challenging it is to understand the menu, the hospitality the waiters and waitresses grant us is exceptional. The servers are always very understanding of our situation. They always greet us and bid us farewell with a radiant smile, even when they realize they have to clean up the noodles slipped through my clumsy chopsticks.



1. orange chicken: 陈皮鸡,这是在美国北部许多中式快餐店流行的一道中国菜,用甜橙口味的酱汁淋在炸鸡块上而做成;beef and broccoli: 西兰花炒牛肉。

2. grapple with: 努力对付,尽力克服(困难)。

3. 通常,(菜谱上)不是每道菜都配有照片,所以我和父亲会猜测我们正往嘴里塞的究竟是什么类型的蔬菜和肉,这基本上成为了我们两人之间一种幼稚的猜谜游戏。

4. grueling: 折磨人的,使人精疲力竭的。

5. dread: 不愿意,厌恶;triple: 三倍的量。

6. charade: (用动作、图画或书写表示的)字谜游戏。

7. XiabuXiabu: 呷哺呷哺,一家吧台式火锅连锁餐饮店。

8. holler: 喊叫,大喊。

9. 虽然这不是我在北京吃过的最美味的食物,但把食材扔进沸腾的汤锅中,当食物无可奈何地下沉到锅底时,看着那液状的波纹,无疑是一件有趣的事儿。

10. lettuce: 莴笋,莴苣;slip: 滑脱,滑落。

11. snicker: 暗笑,窃笑。

12. plethora: 过多,太多;intimidating: 吓人的,令人恐惧的。

13. stroll: 散步,漫步;stall: 小摊,售货摊。

14. scorpion: 蝎子;sea horse: 海马;starfish: 海星;grill: 在烤架上炙烤。

15. vendor: 卖主,小贩;poke out: 伸出;strike out: 引人注意,突出。

16. tickle: 轻弹,轻摸;crawly: 〈口〉令人感到毛骨悚然的;fling: 挥动(手臂、腿等)。

17. branch out: 扩大(活动、兴趣等的)范围;Nanluoguxiang: 南锣鼓巷,北京东城区的一条著名胡同,位于北京历史文化保护区内。

18. flip over: 翻转,翻过来;shuffle: 把……移来移去,把……到处挪动;flimsy: 易损坏的,劣质的;skewer: 串肉签,烤肉叉。

19. cob: 玉米棒子芯,玉米穗轴;scallop: 扇贝,扇贝肉;dress with: 为……做配料。此处提到的两道菜分别是辣玉米棒子和蒜蓉粉丝烤扇贝。

20. bakery: 烘烤食品的总称(包括面包、糕饼和饼干等)。

21. pretentious: 自负的,自大的。

22. pastry: 各式烘烤糕点(如蛋糕、甜面包等)。

23. peer: 窥视。

24. field day: 特别愉快的时刻。

25. exceptional: 独特的,品质优良的;green lettuce: 生菜。

26. Tom Yum soup: 冬阴功汤,也称为泰式酸辣汤,是一道著名的泰国菜;spinach: 菠菜;superb: 极好的,最佳的。

27. broiled fish: 烤鱼。

28. 这辣劲恰好能让你泪水盈眶,唇边泛红,并为温暖你的心灵提供了完美的滋味。

29. bizarre: 稀奇古怪的,怪诞的;hospitality: 殷勤,好客;grant: 满足(愿望、要求等)。

30. radiant: 灿烂的,喜悦的;clumsy: 笨手笨脚的。

(来源:英语学习杂志 编辑:丹妮)




















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