Any New Yorker knows what falafel on rice is. It’s that delicious-ness that comes from any one of a million seemingly-identical food trucks. It’s great as drunk food, it’s great as a quick lunch, and it’s great as a lazy dinner. I used to be a chicken on rice kind of girl, but lately I’ve been going with the falafel. Then there’s the choice: white sauce (kind of yogurt-y) and/or red sauce (spicy) – white sauce only for me. And usually there’s also a sad “salad” of iceberg lettuce to the side, which I usually just put on a sandwich for another day.
Back when I was in the UWS, falafel on rice would run $5, but the Midtown cart closest to me charges $7. Not sure if it’s an issue of location or if all the food carts raised their prices in the three years I was away, but regardless, for the amount of food, it’s a great price. And oh so convenient. Because seriously, these food trucks are everywhere. And I’ve never once gotten sick.
I rarely go out for lunch, because in a small office where clients can come in at any moment, it’s not a good idea to be away too long. And as much as I’d like to say I brown bag it, I’ve left my packed lunch on the kitchen counter way too many times while I rushed out the door in the morning, and it’s just so much less effort to order delivery.
Good thing there’s a whole host of cheap deliverable food in Shanghai!
rice set with broccoli, eggs, chicken, and pork patty
pan-fried dumplings (guotie)
beef noodle soup
Taiwanese beef noodle soup
rice with caggage and chashao (char siu) pork
chicken curry rice
Noodles, rice, oh my. Often I just order from whatever place my colleague is ordering from, so it can be hit or miss. Lately I’ve just been going with fried rice, because it’s the least risky option. Usually it’s at least decent/edible … but if anyone ever offers you curry chicken rice from a chain called Babela’s Kitchen (巴贝拉), save yourself the trouble of throwing it out and just say no. Seriously. Say no.
This is … uh … 酒酿 (jiǔniàng). People call it all sorts of things in English, but I go with ‘rice wine soup.’ Although it might sound disgusting, it’s really not. It’s basically rice wine with the rice still in there. So yes, there is some alcohol content, but it’s not like you’re going to get drunk off of it. It’s a nice sweet soup for breakfast or an afternoon snack. As a child I didn’t like it (due to the taste of alcohol), and I rarely have it these days, but I do enjoy it.
My mother just calls it ‘rice wine,’ and I remember the first time I heard her mention it I was like …you’re making wine in the kitchen? You’re going to feed me wine? When I’m eight years old!? Obviously my mother wasn’t giving me the hard stuff that gets old Chinese guys drunk, but for the sake of keeping DFPS at bay, I prefer to differentiate between ‘rice wine’ and ‘rice wine soup.’
There’s some cool stuff from the Japanese artist Sayaka Ishizuka over at Pearl Lam Galleries in Shanghai. Unfortunately the exhibition is ending soon (August 15) … so I better post pictures now!
Her works use everyday things like grains of rice and chopsticks to create this supremely tranquil, almost spiritual feeling. The installation piece that is undoubtedly the focus of the exhibition, Rice Deity, is definitely worth noting, with strands of rice hanging from the ceiling. As you walk amidst these rice strings in the darkened space … it’s pretty darned hypnotic.
Sayaka Ishizuka: Life Threads May 12 – August 15, 2014
Pearl Lam Galleries pearllam.com G/F, 181 Middle Jiangxi Road Huangpu District, Shanghai Monday to Sunday, 10:30 AM – 7 PM
I’m not much of a breakfast eater. I’m more of a eat-cookies-on-the-bus person. That being said, sometimes I like to fix myself some actual food (usually on the weekends when I actually have the time). Unfortunately, starting the day off correctly does not mean that I’m not going to completely waste the rest of the day. Ah, procrastination, how I fall prey to you once again.