One thing you can’t say about Chinese food is that it isn’t fresh, no frozen peas need apply. As a way of demonstrating let me relate something that happened to LeeAnne and I just the other day on the way back to our room:
It was a fine Sunday afternoon, we were walking down a busy street when a “FLAP!” a fish jumps in our way. We were walking past a restaurant that was so keen to demonstrate how fresh their food was, they let the ingredients meet you at the door. In this case a rather large fish jumped out of the kiddy pool he was being kept in to kind of say to us – “Come on in, this place is great! Really, you should try the chicken!”
Fish are not the only things waiting for you at the door of many places – ducks, chicken, snakes, rabbits, hermit crabs. If you had it as a childhood pet, you can have it for dinner here in China. Meats are not the only thing that’s super-fresh, the fruit and veg you have here will probably have been up on a tree or in the ground not that long ago. The Chinese will not tolerate food that isn’t fresh.
Which is great for us, as we have very weak Chinese language skills we can just walk up to a lot of places and point at what we want and shake our heads at what we don’t want. Green peppers – nod, onions – nod. Eel – head-shake, pigeon – head-shake. We’re making it work.