Do I like Chinese food? It's a question I've been asked by the Chinese many times during the six years I live here, and the answer is always a resounding "yes". Chinese food is great. I like very much. Why is it, my husband often wonder, still I spend hundreds of RMB on trips to the grocery store and occasionally western feel the need for a sandwich instead of a bowl of noodles?

The answer is simple. I was spoiled by the variety of foods I grew up around and get bored easily now. On any given day back home in the US, I can choose between Italian, Mexican, Vietnamese, India, China, and pretty much any other cuisine on the planet. I can go to the grocery store and buy everything you need to make international delicacies at home, or I can go eat at a restaurant. If I decide to leave, I can go through the post cheap tacos on the corner, or hit an elegant and authentic Mexican style restaurant in the city. When it comes to food, I've always been spoiled for choice, probably more than any poor state realistically needs to be.

Most Chinese cities lack the same kind variety of high quality cuisine. That does not mean that there is a wide variety of tastes and styles within Chinese food (regional dishes serve a wide variety of tastes), but it is not the same as having multiple varied cuisines at your fingertips at all times.

While the flavors change depending on where you are in China, the basic premise of most regional cuisine is fairly consistent. One meat or stir fried vegetables balls you get dumplings or rice noodles, always, sometimes tofu, and usually a soup. Their flavor profiles are sweet, sour, salty and spicy. There are more than that, of course, and there are exotic parts to Chinese cuisine - food of Xinjiang, with its flavors of the Middle East, or food Dai, with its winks to Thailand - but the overall pattern remains fairly similar

What's more, the "homestyle dishes" that most Chinese people eat out every day, do not offer a huge amount of variety. When my cooks husband Chinese in the country have about a 90% chance of eating a combination of chicken or ribs soup, fried potatoes, fried egg and tomato, fried pork with ginger, cabbage fried, and / or salad cold cucumber. Although I know that many housewives and Chinese husbands are true gourmets, when my husband cooks at home, they eat like most ordinary people living a simple life.

My husband seems unable to understand my need for culinary variety. I do not understand why I do not want to eat pork ribs two nights on the trot, or why I prefer to whip up some pasta for lunch soup have traces of the night before. He complains most of all about the money I spend on western food. And at this point, the least I can not argue.

Whether you're buying ingredients or dining out, Western food costs about twice what a Chinese meal or similar product would. imported snacks at the supermarket come to imported price: RMB 50 for a box of cereal, 30 RMB for a chocolate bar. To the great misfortune of my husband, these are the prices'm willing to pay for a taste of home.

Part of this is simply a difference in the economy. American snacks in the United States cost more than the Chinese snacks in China. As food in the US is in general more expensive food in China, does not seem too jarring to pay more for Western products here. A eating Western food in restaurants in China, you must factor golf at the cost of importing ingredients, training staff, and, besides that, exotic factor, which predicts that prices went up just because it can be.

So worth the extra effort, the extra cost, just to eat something familiar? It all depends. During my first six months in China rarely he ate Western food. To begin with, I was a poor student and therefore could not afford, but at this time I was also still enjoying the novelty of Chinese food.

Often topo me with foreigners in China to avoid western food entirely. "Why I would like an expensive bowl of pasta when there are so many dishes delicious and cheap noodles available?" There are many foreign food purists in China, in my opinion, his search for authenticity is taken to the extreme.

For the record, I do not think that my experience in China is less true just because hit up McDonald's occasionally or because studs instead of JIAOZI did last night. For me, eating Western food in China is the same as watching movies from the West, or buying imported books in English. At some point, the immigrants crave a little house, and luckily for us, in these days biggest cities in China can serve something to help quell these cravings.

So do not feel bad if you 'd rather spend the fried rice for some fries, or if you just could not resist popping into Starbucks for a croissant and coffee on their way to work . While purely Western taste the menu will leave a big hole in your wallet and a gap in their experience, credentials China will not suffer because of the occasional foreign indulgence.

These days, when my husband brow furrows in my food choices, just ask me what I would eat if the tables were turned and they were living in the US .. No I doubt that would be the first name terms with all the staff at Golden Panda and Sichuan Palace and our fridge would be packed with cabbage, tofu, and pork ribs.

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A Lawyer of foreign hiring in China, is the CEO and Founder of Teaching China.net, a teacher employment and service provider firm that helps teachers get closer to their employers and win at securing a safe and valued teaching position in China.

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