Eating the Red Berries

I read somewhere that chimpanzees won’t eat unfamiliar red berries unless they see another chimp do it first. It’s a self-preservation instinct, and it makes sense; some berries are poisonous. But others are not, and can be a plentiful food source, so it’s definitely a risk-reward situation. This also means that if a troop wants to take advantage of that particular food source, one of those chimps has got to step up and try the berries, assuming a personal risk for the good of the group.

I’ve always been risk-averse, and while it’s paid off pretty well, it also means I’ve missed out on a few things in life. And so, in the spirit of our grand adventure, I’m trying to get better at throwing caution to the wind and just jumping in; in other words, I wanna be the chimp who’s brave enough to eat the red berries. It worked out well in Barcelona, where we got to try a bunch of unfamiliar foods that all ended up being delicious. The same was true in Morocco, and for the most part has been true in China, too.

Unfortunately, this behavior is not without consequences.

In a previous post, we talked about our bus ride to Yangshuo, and the tour guide who doubled as a salesman. It seemed very strange to us that this should be a part of our tour, having someone pitch to a captive audience like that. If I could have understood him, I probably would have been a bit more annoyed, but because it was all in Chinese, it was fairly easy to tune him out. We got the gist: he had stuff to buy, and he wanted us to buy it.

Then came time for the free samples. The guy had been rambling on for a fair few minutes about this particular product. It came in a fancy white box, with some nice calligraphy on the side, and a picture of some kind of fruit on the front. He put down the box and started down the aisle with a basket, handing out little samples on the way. We had eaten an early breakfast and hadn’t yet had lunch, so we were ready for snack time. The tour guy got to us, gave us his best salesman smile, and put a small white package in my hand. Without even thinking about it, I ripped it open to see what was inside.

What came out was a weird looking snack, although everything is kinda weird over here, so that was par for the course. It looked like a bunch of roasted pumpkin seeds glued together with a hard, brownish-orange paste. I shrugged, broke it in half, gave a piece to Jen, and popped it in my mouth.

It was bizarre. The pumpkin seeds still had the hulls on them, so they were very hard and fibrous. However, that’s not too out of the ordinary for plant-based snacks here; I thought nothing of it. The paste stuff was tea flavored, which, again, is pretty normal for China. However, this was very powerful, so strong that I could feel my mouth starting to burn from the intensity. They like their spices, but for the most part the flavors here are kind of bland, especially when it comes to sweets, which this kind of was. Jen and I looked at each other, noses wrinkled. It was, all in all, pretty gross, and guaranteed that we would not be buying this particular treat. Who would?

We looked around the bus, wanting to see how it was being received by the other tourists, when we noticed that no one was eating theirs. They’d all just set theirs down or stashed them away in their bags. “Wow,” I thought, “this guy must be a crap salesman. They won’t even eat his free samples.”

Jen had also noticed that no one was eating the treat. “Why is nobody else eating their snack?” she asked. Comprehension slowly dawned as we realized that the thing we’d eaten tasted like concentrated tea resin, because that’s exactly what it was. While everyone else got a packet of fancy tea to try when they got home, we got a strange new treat that we couldn’t resist eating right away. We laughed, realizing our mistake and how ridiculous we must look to the other tourists.

The tour guide brought another free sample, this time two packets, one he described as spicy, and one not spicy. This time, instead of ripping them right open, we decided to investigate a little bit more closely. There was a picture of a nicely cooked fish on the front, and in English the words “Fish scent, lingering eternally”. We poked and squeezed the stuff inside, and decided it must be a fish-flavored soup stock concentrate, another thing to try when you get home. Into the bag they went. We turned back to look out the windows, only to be met with the sight of a bus full of Chinese tourists chowing down on preserved fishy snacks. And yes, the package was correct: fish scent, lingering eternally.

The moral of the story, if there is one, is that the chimps have got a good thing going. If you don’t know if a thing is food, maybe wait a bit and see how the other apes behave. Be patient. Let someone else eat the berries from time to time. Otherwise, you might end up with a mouthful of pumpkin husk slivers and a tea-scalded mouth.

The Journey of a Lifetime – Li River Cruise Part Two

The trip I have been dying to take for years continues.

When we last left off, Josh and I were three hours in to our Li River Cruise Tour. We were blindly following a group of Chinese people wearing matching lanyards through the Dong Village Museum until our meetup time of 12:30. We merged and unmerged with the group multiple times, but everywhere we went, we were able to find someone else with the same color lanyard as we had. This made us feel comfortable, since we couldn’t actually remember which bus the man in the blue jacket said was ours. We planned to just follow the group and see where we ended up.

Catch up with “The Journey of a Lifetime – Li River Cruise Part One ♥

12:30PM – The Big Bus

At the exit of the Dong village was a bucket to recycle the lanyards. The Chinese people we were following, and thought were part of our group, scattered to their various cars and buses, leaving us in the parking lot a little concerned and questioning our next move. Thankfully, one of the members of My Six was wearing a bright orange jacket. We spotted the jacket down the block, met up with her, and got on what we hoped was the correct bus.

We sat down, and were immediately shouted at by the bus driver. I didn’t catch everything he said, but the bit I did catch was “foreigners to the back”. I did not like being told I had to sit at the back of the bus because I was different, but the back looked just as comfortable, so we did as we were told. As more people piled onto the bus, and more of My Six got individually yelled at by other riders to move farther back, we came to understand that the Chinese group we were with had previously been riding the bus and had already picked out their seats.

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The Big Bus was much more spacious, but equally as dirty as the mini bus.

The bus ride went smoothly enough, but the man who gave us the lanyards at the Dong village spent the entire ride standing at the front of the bus selling his wares (apparently he was going to be our tour guide for the day). He spent about 20 minutes talking over the loud speaker, then passed through handing out free samples. The samples were varied and strange, and of course labeled only in Chinese, leading us to eat something we probably shouldn’t have. Thankfully, the perfume he sprayed the entire length of the bus smelled quite nice, and no one had an allergic reaction. Then he walked up and down the aisle, taking orders. To our surprise, almost everyone on that bus bought at least one of his things, some people calling him back to buy more. It was very bizarre.

Read Josh’s funny story about the “food” we ate on the bus ♥

After an hour of non-stop sales pitches, we finally stopped… in the middle of nowhere, at a group of three nearly abandoned buildings. Now what?!

1:30PM – Lunch

We stopped in what appeared to be the middle of nowhere and were told to get off the bus. The Chinese tourists pushed their way off the bus in a frenzy of excitement. My Six calmly waited their turns, got off, then stood on the derelict sidewalk with a “for God’s sake” look on our faces. The tour guide, not finding us among the mob of excited Chinese, came back to us and told us we were to have lunch now. He showed us a menu and pushed us to the back of a run-down building.

The menu had no pictures on it and was written in Chinese, so we could only recognize a few of the options, and the prices were outrageous. Fried rice that we eat nearly every day for between ¥8 and ¥12 was being offered for ¥45. Again, the Chinese in our group were on cloud nine. They ordered food and beers, toasted each other, sang and joked, took selfies and pictures of their food. We, on the other hand, walked down the block to see if there was anything cheaper to eat, joined by our new German friends. We found another place just down the way with still-inflated, but significantly better prices. We ordered a dish of green beans, pork with green onions, rice, and a beer. We expected the price to be around ¥80, so we were surprised when it came out to ¥100! Looking over the bill, there were a few charges we didn’t recognize. Josh asked our waitress to explain. “It’s two apiece for the rice, two for the dishes, and two for the napkins.” The four of us looked at her in astonishment. We managed to argue our way out of paying for the napkins, since we hadn’t used them, but we ended up paying the rest. So lunch was a bit of a bust.

An hour later, we were ushered back onto the bus.

Read more about the food we ate while in Guilin, China ♥

2:30PM – Nap Time

It was time for Chinese siesta, so the remainder of the bus ride went on without any sales pitches or interruptions. It was a beautiful drive with breathtaking views at every turn. As my window had a rather large gob of dried phlegm on it, I put on my mask and pretended like it wasn’t there and just enjoyed the scenery.

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We drove past Yangshuo, over the river, then back North through some small farming villages. I got more and more excited with every turn. We were heading to Yangdi, passing the lovely village of Xingping along the way. Me eyes were glued to the window trying to catch a glimpse of Xingping. Then, way sooner than I was expecting, we stopped again.

4:00PM – “We Boat Now”

Again, the Chinese tourists were nearly bursting with excitement. The pure joy on their face was the only thing keeping me from hailing a cab to our next hotel. It was nice to take a step back and watch my fellow passengers have their adventure of a lifetime. They were tourists, too; they knew what to expect out of the trip they had booked, and were having the time of their lives.

We got off the bus and the tour guide said, “We boat now.” I asked the driver to get my backpack out of the trunk for me, but I got shooed away and beckoned to stick with the group. Well, that is why I keep my passport and valuables in my Go Bag. Who knows if I will get to see my backpack ever again. Who needs clothes anyway?

We walked through a hole in a metal fence, surrounded by garbage and what I’m pretending wasn’t sewage. Then, along a “sidewalk” lined with shopping stalls filled with craft items. Again, they were alarmingly over priced and the touts were fairly aggressive. We bee-lined for the nearest bathroom to relieve ourselves of the unintentional free sample ingestion, lost our group, and once again just kept going straight in hopes that we would know where we were going once we saw it. We didn’t find the group, but I did spot an amazing view.

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Besides for the heavy smell of gasoline and sewage, it was one of the most beautiful scenes I had ever seen. The river was shallow enough that I could see the bottom, the boats were rusted and in great need of repair, but beautiful in their own way. The mountains… the mountains… I wish I were a better writer and could explain how almost alarmingly stunning they were. I’m not sure every thesaurus in the world could help explain the beauty before me. I kept catching myself forgetting to breathe.

The tour guide wakened me from my trance, beckoning us to come join the group a little farther ahead. He spoke to the group of Chinese who, again, ran off with school girl excitement to the boat. Then he collected My Six and told us “You, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6” looked please with himself and walked away. Thank you? We followed the others down the pier to our waiting boat and, once again, hoped everything would make sense soon.

TO BE CONTINUED…

"The Places We Live - Li River Cruise Part One" text written in white over an image of the Li River and karst mountains in Xinging, China "The Places We Live - Li River Cruise Part Two" text written in white over an image of the Li River and karst mountains in Xingping, China "The Places We Live - Li River Cruise Part Three" Text written in white and red over an image of the Li River and karst mountains in Xingping, China.

The Journey of a Lifetime – Part 2

The trip I have been dying to take for years continues.

 

When we last left off, Josh and I were blindly following a group of Chinese people wearing matching lanyards through the Dong village until our meetup time of 12:30. We merged and unmerged with the group multiple times, but everywhere we went, we were able to find someone else with the same color lanyard as we had. This made us feel comfortable, since we couldn’t actually remember which bus the man in the blue jacket said was ours. We planned to just follow the group and see where we ended up.

The Big Bus

At the end of the village tour was a bucket to recycle the lanyards. The Chinese people we were following, and thought were part of our group, scattered to their various cars and buses, leaving us in the parking lot a little concerned and questioning our next move. Thankfully, one of the members of My Six was wearing a bright orange jacket. We spotted the jacket down the block, met up with her, and got on what we hoped was the correct bus.

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The Big Bus was much more spacious, but equally as dirty as the mini bus.

We sat down, and were immediately shouted at by the bus driver. I didn’t catch everything he said, but the bit I did catch was “foreigners to the back”. I did not like being told I had to sit at the back of the bus because I was different, but the back looked just as comfortable, so we did as we were told. As more people piled onto the bus, and more of My Six got individually yelled at by other riders to move farther back, we came to understand that the Chinese group we were with had previously been riding the bus and had already picked out their seats.

The bus ride went smoothly enough, but the man who gave us the lanyards at the Dong village spent the entire ride standing at the front of the bus selling his wares (apparently he was going to be our tour guide for the day). He spent about 20 minutes talking over the loud speaker, then passed through handing out free samples. The samples were varied and strange, and of course labeled only in Chinese, leading us to eat something we probably shouldn’t have. Thankfully, the perfume he sprayed the entire length of the bus smelled quite nice, and no one had an allergic reaction. Then he walked up and down the aisle, taking orders. To our surprise, almost everyone on that bus bought at least one of his things, some people calling him back to buy more. It was very bizarre.

After an hour of non-stop sales pitches, we finally stopped… in the middle of nowhere, at a group of three nearly abandoned buildings. Now what?!

Lunch

It was now 1:30 and we were told to get off the bus. The Chinese tourists pushed their way off the bus in a frenzy of excitement. My Six calmly waited their turns, got off, then stood on the derelict sidewalk with a “for God’s sake” look on our faces. The tour guide, not finding us among the mob of excited Chinese, came back to us and told us we were to have lunch now. He showed us a menu and pushed us to the back of a run down building.

The menu had no pictures on it, so we could only read a few of the options, and the prices were outrageous. Fried rice that we eat nearly every day for between ¥8 and ¥12 was being offered for ¥45. Again, the Chinese in our group were on cloud nine. They ordered food and beers, toasted each other, sang and joked, took selfies and pictures of their food. We, on the other hand, walked down the block to see if there was anything cheaper to eat, joined by our new German friends. We found another place just down the way with still-inflated, but significantly better prices. We ordered a dish of green beans, pork with green onions, rice, and a beer. We expected the price to be around ¥80, so we were surprised when it came out to ¥100! Looking over the bill, there were a few charges we didn’t recognize. Josh asked our waitress to explain. “It’s two apiece for the rice, two for the dishes, and two for the napkins.” The four of us looked at her in astonishment. We managed to argue our way out of paying for the napkins, since we hadn’t used them, but we ended up paying the rest. So lunch was a total success.

At 2:30, we were ushered back onto the bus.

Nap Time

The Chinese siesta, so the remainder of the bus ride went on without any sales pitches or interruptions. It was a beautiful drive with breathtaking views at every turn. As my window had a rather large gob of dried phlegm on it, I put on my mask and pretended like it wasn’t there and just enjoyed the scenery.

We drove past Yangshuo, over the river, then back North through some small farming villages. I got more and more excited with every turn. We were heading to Yangdi, passing the lovely village of Xingping along the way. I was glued to the window trying to catch a glimpse of Xingping. Then, way sooner than I was expecting, we stopped again.

“We Boat Now?”

Again, the Chinese tourists were nearly bursting with excitement. The pure joy on their face was the only thing keeping me from hailing a cab back to the hotel. It was nice to take a step back and watch these people have their adventure of a lifetime. They were tourists, too; they knew what to expect out of the trip they had booked, and were having the time of their lives.

We got off the bus and the tour guide said, “We boat now.” I asked the driver to get my backpack out of the trunk for me, but I got shooed away and beckoned to stick with the group. Well, that is why I keep my passport and valuables in my Go Bag. Who knows if I will get to see my backpack ever again. Who needs clothes anyway?

We walked through a hole in a metal fence, surrounded by garbage and what I’m pretending wasn’t sewage. Then, along a “sidewalk” lined with shopping stalls filled with craft items. Again, they were alarmingly over priced and the touts were fairly aggressive. We bee-lined for the nearest bathroom to relieve ourselves of the unintentional free sample ingestion, lost our group, and once again just kept going straight in hopes that we would know where we were going once we saw it. We didn’t find the group, but I did spot an amazing view.

20180122_171859

Besides for the heavy smell of gasoline and sewage, it was one of the most beautiful scenes I had ever seen. The river was shallow enough that I could see the bottom, the boats were rusted and in great need of repair, but beautiful in their own way. The mountains… the mountains… I wish I were a better writer and could explain how almost alarmingly stunning they are. I’m not sure every thesaurus in the world could help explain the beauty before me. I kept catching myself forgetting to breathe.

The tour guide wakened me from my trance, beckoning us to come join the group a little farther ahead. He spoke to the group of Chinese who, again, ran off with school girl excitement to the boat. Then he collected My Six and told us “You, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6” looked please with himself and walked away. Thank you? We followed the others down the pier to our waiting boat.

TO BE CONTINUED…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dinner Time – Guilin

Dinner is our splurge meal at about $6 per day for two, so we make sure to get whatever our little hearts desire.

Now that you have heard about breakfast (the fun meal) and lunch (the walk meal) in Guilin, it is time for the most important and most delicious meal of the day, dinner. It is our splurge meal. We usually spend between ¥30 and ¥60 ($4.60-$9.30) on the meal, making sure to get whatever our little hearts desire.

After my morning adventuring and afternoon walks with Josh, I’m usually pretty beat by dinner. So, we have gotten in the habit of frequenting three neighboring restaurants that are all close by. They are nearly identical, except one place has a particularly sassy waitress that greets us at the door. Each of them is a little hole-in-the-wall type place with no more than eight tables, a display shelf, a small kitchen, and pictures of their signature dishes on the wall with prices. When you can’t read, the pictures make a big difference.

When we arrive, it is almost always empty except for the waitress and cook, who are either asleep or on their phone at one of the tables, and a child loudly doing homework. Once we start eating, a crowd of diners mysteriously appears and the places are nearly packed (I think I need to start asking for a discount for our unintentional marketing abilities). I have seen the places busy without us, as well, but mostly during lunch time.

Once seated, the sassy waitress tries to talk us into ordering a collection of the most expensive items on the menu and waits, baffled, as we order plates of common mush instead. Dinner consists of one or two entrees, either rice or noodles, and a bottle of beer to share.

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This table is slightly fancier than most, as it is at the hostel’s restaurant, and not one of our usual stops.

The picture above is more than enough food for both of us. It is broccoli and chicken with copious amounts of garlic. With just the two of us, it is difficult to dine with just one entree, since most of our favorites are just a single type of food.

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Dishes in China are meant to be shared (a point that is lost on most American diners when they go out for Chinese food), so each one is quite large. As you can see from this picture of sweet and sour pork, there is more than enough food to eat, but no fruits or veggies. So, until we make some friends to eat with, we have decided to stick to the more mixed dishes, occasionally splurging to get an extra vegetable entree.

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Above is our favorite meal of all. On the left is a dish of stiff mushrooms, pork, cucumbers, carrots, ginger, garlic, and green onion. Aside from the cucumbers and ginger, we find ourselves practically licking this plate clean. Another long time favorite is the Yangzhou fried rice, on the right. It is the most similar to some of the fried rice we would get at home, but something about the way it’s made here makes it taste so much more amazing.

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Sometimes, we end up eating vegetarian for dinner. The green beans, peppers, and garlic is Josh’s favorite dish. It’s a little spicy, but it’s not overwhelming, and is definitely loaded with flavor. I prefer rice over noodles (rice is a dish I could every day for the rest of my life), but Josh likes it the other way around. So, occasionally, I indulge him with noodles instead of rice… then usually end up ordering a bowl of rice on the side later.

The food here is absolutely amazing. It’s been close to a month, and we haven’t had any American food yet. That’s not just because it’s expensive and scarce, but because there are simply so many fun restaurants around and new dishes to try! Every night ends with a happy tummy, and the promise of new adventure tomorrow.

 

 

It’s My Birthday!

Today is my American timezone birthday (it was yesterday for me over here in the future). I’m 33 today and feeling great!

Today is my American timezone birthday (it was yesterday for me over here in the future). I’m 33 today and feeling great!

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We started the day with our first American food since we’ve been here and, even more important, my first cup of coffee for 2018! I didn’t think I was an addict, but I am. I NEEDED that coffee.

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For my present, I requested a book that helps teach kids how to read. It is full of 1-2 page children’s stories. I finished one story yesterday which was a pretty blatant copyright infringement of Winnie the Pooh. It was a tale of Little Bear who took advantage of Mr. Rabbit’s hospitality by eating way too many steamed buns. When Little Bear stormed off at the lack of further food, he got stuck in the door frame. Mr. Rabbit and his friend Robin tried to pull Little Bear out, but he was stuck. After a full week of Little Bear not eating or drinking any tea, Mr. Rabbit and his friends were able to work together and pull Little Bear out of the doorway. I feel like the book will greatly improve my vocabulary… and offer up a few giggles.

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After dinner, Josh and I celebrated with a “chocolate cake” and card games. The cake was, of course, lacking any taste of chocolate or sugar. It is crazy that Chinese food is so deliciously packed with flavor, but when it comes to baked goods, most are very bland. I still enjoyed it though and had a wonderful night. Happy birthday to me!!

A Trip to KFC in China

We got your requests loud and clear, you want us to try KFC’s New Seabug Chicken Sandwhich. Well, your wish is our command.

In the last post, we mentioned wanting to try KFC’s new Seabug Sandwich. You were intrigued. We heard your requests loud and clear, and are here to report on this strange, daring culinary experiment found only here at the KFC in China.

Read about our KFC adventure in Malaysia. ♥

KFC in China

KFC is the largest franchise in China, with the first shop opening up in Beijing back in 1987. The company has experienced quite a bit of success since then, mostly due to their practice of modifying their menu to fit their audience. Pizza Hut and McDonald’s are also pretty common sights in China, but, except for the outrageous prices, the food is pretty much the same as it is in the USA. Going out to one of these fast food chains feels like specialty dining. Pizza Hut feels like a romantic Italian restaurant, and KFCs are usually large and center stage.

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We have been trying to avoid the American food joints until we can’t take it anymore, but the strangeness of the Seabug Sandwich was simply too alluring. What is a seabug, you ask? We have no idea! We have been trying to figure it out for years, since the first time we ate them in Shenzhen, and every time we think we’ve got it, we are proven wrong. All we know “for sure” is that it is an aquatic isopod. It tastes like shrimp, but looks like a pink rolly-poly. If you know what it is, please leave a note in the comments.

In updating this post three months later, we have finally learned these weird little creatures are called mantis prawns.

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Image from the Chinese version of Amazon Prime Pantry

This isn’t the first time we’ve eaten an unknown food. Learn more! ♥

A Trip to KFC in China

Our meal came with a Seabug Sandwich, a Seabug Wrap, 2 pieces of chicken, 2 custard pies, and 2 sodas. We were particularly excited about the drinks, as we have been greatly missing caffeine. We ordered in English (mostly) and purchased our meal deal for ¥68 ($17)! It was quite spendy considering our average daily food budget is only about $20, but for your sake, dear readers, we were willing to go a little over and give it a try.

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Upon first unwrapping the sandwich, we were surprised to find that it’s actually a Seabug Chicken Sandwich; there’s a piece of grilled chicken under the lettuce. The texture of the chicken was a little chewy, but the sandwich had a lot of flavor. In addition to the spices on the chicken, there was a curry-like sauce that had a little heat to it. The spices were definitely Asian, and not anywhere close to the Colonel’s secret recipe. Again, it’s why they’ve been so successful. Final verdict: it was… fine. We liked the food, but probably won’t order it ever again. We’ll stick with our regular $5 box with fried breast, mashed potatoes, corn, and a cookie.

 

Check out our usual lunch options while in Guilin, China ♥

The surprise standout was the custard pie. They’re a pretty common street food, but these ones in particular stood out, mostly due to the crispy, flaky crust and Southern-style extra butter. The custard itself was also well done, fluffy, light, and sweet. These little babies alone are worth a trip to Chinese KFC.

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The Verdict

All in all, it was a successful trip. We tasted the Seabug Sandwich (Spicy Mantis Prawn and Chicken Sandwich), and while it won’t be sweeping the US by storm anytime soon, it was worth it to experience American fast food, China style.


Like it? Share it!

 

A Trip to KFC

We got your requests loud and clear, you want us to try KFC’s New Seabug Chicken Sandwhich. Well, your wish is our command.

In the last post, we mentioned wanting to try KFC’s new Seabug Sandwich. You were intrigued. We heard your requests loud and clear, and are here to report on this strange, daring culinary experiment.

But first, some background. KFC is the largest franchise in China, with the first shop opening up in Beijing back in 1987. The company has experienced quite a bit of success since then, mostly due to their practice of modifying their menu to fit their audience. Pizza Hut and McDonald’s are also pretty common sights in China, but, except for the outrageous prices, the food is pretty much the same as it is in the USA. Going out to one of these fast food chains feels like specialty dining. Pizza Hut feels like a romantic Italian restaurant, and KFCs are usually large and center stage.

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Our nearby KFC is in a prime location and is two stories tall.

We have been trying to avoid the American food joints until we can’t take it anymore, but the strangeness of the Seabug Sandwich was simply too alluring. What is a seabug, you ask? We have no idea! We have been trying to figure it out for years, since the first time we ate them in Shenzhen, and every time we think we’ve got it, we are proven wrong. All we know “for sure” is that it is an aquatic isopod. It tastes like shrimp, but looks like a pink rolly-poly. If you know what it is, please leave a note in the comments.

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It advertises lobster or crawdads on the boxes, but the posters and commercials all had pictures of seabugs, so now we are even more confused.

We ordered a meal that came with a Seabug Sandwich, a Seabug Wrap, 2 pieces of chicken, 2 custard pies, and 2 sodas. We were particularly excited about the drinks, as we have been greatly missing caffeine. We ordered in English (mostly) and purchased our meal deal for ¥68 ($17)! It was quite spendy considering our average daily food budget is only about $20, but for your sake, dear readers, we were willing to go a little over and give it a try.

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Upon first unwrapping the sandwich, we were surprised to find that it’s actually a Seabug Chicken Sandwich; there’s a piece of grilled chicken under the lettuce. The texture of the chicken was a little chewy, but the sandwich had a lot of flavor. In addition to the spices on the chicken, there was a curry-like sauce that had a little heat to it. The spices were definitely Asian, and not anywhere close to the Colonel’s secret recipe. Again, it’s why they’ve been so successful. Final verdict: it was… fine. We liked the food, but probably won’t order it ever again. We’ll stick with our regular $5 box with fried breast, mashed potatoes, corn, and a cookie.

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The surprise standout was the custard pie. They’re a pretty common street food, but these ones in particular stood out, mostly due to the crispy, flaky crust and Southern-style extra butter. The custard itself was also well done, fluffy, light, and sweet. These little babies alone are worth a trip to Chinese KFC.

All in all, it was a successful trip. We tasted the Seabug Sandwich, and while it won’t be sweeping the US by storm anytime soon, it was worth it to experience American fast food, China style.