China Elevator Stories
Raw Veggies, Bread And Wurst
I find raw veggies, bread and wurst are eaten in Northeast China.
My husband is different from most Chinese I know. Well, I know, of course he is – to me, you would think, right? What I mean when I say he is different, is that his eating habits are different from most other Chinese people I know. He loves eating raw vegetables. He had never been to Europe before our wedding, but he still loved eating raw veggies (before we went to Europe, that is). Now you have to know that most Chinese don’t eat raw veggies, and even I, a person who loves salad, don’t eat raw veggies in South China. When we did finally make it to Austria for our wedding, it really didn’t matter too much what we had for lunch or dinner, as long as there was salad, everything was okay for my husband.
When I saw him eating raw veggies for the first time, I was surprised. He told me that in Northeast China people do actually eat veggies raw. When we went there in the summer of 2013, I could see for myself. For every meal we ate, there was one plate with raw veggies. They had all the veggies we have in Austria – salads (without the dressings we use, but with a salty soy-bean-dip), carrots, radishes, tomatoes and cucumbers. People love eating small cucumbers here. If you travel around Northeast China’s Jilin province, they’ll sell them as snacks and I can tell you, they do have a great taste, one that seems to be slightly more refined than that of Austrian cucumbers.
Except for raw veggies, my husband loves eating bread. And yes, he also loved eating bread even before we met. Not the fluffy ones they sell in Chinese-style bakeries here, but real European-style bread (of course, Austrian-style bread is hard to find in China, but my husband has introduced me to Olé, a supermarket in Shenzhen that sells acceptable bread and I have yet to check out a bakery here that has an Austrian baker). I hadn’t been eating bread in China at all. For an Austrian, or probably most Europeans from Central Europe, bread is definitely the number one food we’ll miss in China. But then I met my husband and he just loves eating bread, so it’s become one of our must-buy-on-a-regular-basis shopping items.
When we traveled around Northeast China, I saw people eating bread (well, the fluffy Chinese-style ones) with cucumbers and Wurst. Wurst? I knew they have ham in China, but I never really got used to the slightly sweet flavor of these meats. But in Northeast China, they do have Wurst with a flavor that tastes just like one kind you can buy in Austria. My husband once bought one at Olé that wasn’t as expensive as all the imported ones. When I wondered why, he told me that this is Chinese Wurst, Wurst from Northeast China.
It’s funny how sometimes you think that your eating habits are so different from another person, while actually they are not. My husband might not eat sweet things, he might eat a lot more sea food than we do in Austria, but he’s still able to find lots of comfort foods in Austria. And I have been able to find some comfort foods in China as well.
Do you sometimes miss your home country’s cuisine?