By Kylie Lynch, Semester at Sea, Spring 2017
I played it rather safe when it came to the food to eat in China, after learning about the chicken feet, insects, and cow tongue. The most adventurous our meals came to were the roasted duck. Beijing’s signature dish is the roasted duck, which at traditional restaurants is brought out, beak and all and carved in front of the table. It did not taste or appear similar to the duck often on menus in America. The famous dish was sliced into little pieces of mostly skin and very little meat. They served it with plum sauce, onions and thin pancakes similar to crepes, to be wrapped up and eaten. The plum sauce with the pancake added a sweet flavor to the roasted duck, an unlikely pair that went very well together. The expected dishes such as sweet and sour pork, soup dumplings, spring rolls, and bok choy were served at most meals and all were delicious. But a dish that I have yet to see on a menu at an American-Chinese restaurant is fried red snapper in chili sauce. The entire fish was served on the plate with the meat fried into bites poking out through the bones. It had a crunchy coating and a spicy yet sweet flavored sauce over top. The unusual appearance deterred many but it was worth a taste. I have yet to find a dish such as this anywhere but in China and it deserves recognition for its unique display and wonderful flavor. I hope to try more unusual dishes upon my next visit to the country outside of the westernized cuisine.