Food – what we eat and when we eat are fundamental to every human being and the culture in which they have grown up. Travelling can often pose a challenge in this area – some of us relish the prospect of new exotic tastes and culinary experiences, while others prefer the familiar…
Chinese people love to eat well, they are proud of their culinary traditions and variety, while eating a meal they will discuss in detail the quality of what they are eating, recall other meals eaten in other places (rather like the Italians). Every region – even every village – has their own specialities and in the last 30 years people have been increasingly able to indulge their tastes – there is variety in the shops and street markets and new restaurants open (and close) all the time.
The way of eating Chinese food is communal rather than individual – a series of prepared dishes will be placed in the middle of the table and each person has their bowl (for rice) and a pair of chopsticks and dips delicately into one of the dishes with their chopsticks to help themselves to some food. In formal settings or where there are guests, the host will select a choice morsel from one of the dishes and serve the guest of honour. The more people there are at the table – the more dishes will be served – therefore while two people can enjoy a satisfactory Chinese meal, four, six or eight is even better!
What can I eat when I visit China?
When we are planning your visit – whether for a group or for individuals – couples or families, we usually spend time discussing food preferences.
Breakfast is invariably included. In most 4 & 5 star hotels, there is a substantial self service buffet with Western and Chinese food.
During some full day excursions or when you are travelling between two places a lunch is often included in the cost, this is often more convenient and efficient – dishes are brought to the table in quick succession, you eat and you continue with your day. However you may specify before departure that you wish to make your own arrangements for lunches and will order and pay locally – this is often more suitable for families and couples.
We recognise that people are not used to eating together all the time and while we hope that part of the pleasure in your visit to China will be derived from shared thoughts and experiences over the dinner table, we generally build in some time for dinners or lunches to be taken on your own – so if you are simply dying for a hamburger – you will be able to find it in the hotel coffee shop or even at one of the international fast-food outlets… alternatively you may be able to try some Chinese vegetarian food or spicy Sichuanese food in a nearby local restaurant.
Most special dietary requirements can be dealt with – please request these early on in the booking process and we will let you know to what extent your requirements can be met.