You know you’ve been in China for too long when….
Living in China comes with its share of stories, jokes, and life lessons. Along with liberally spitting out the acronym TIC (This Is China!), always said in part jest and part exasperation, the laowai (directly translated: Old Outsider. Basically, Chinese slang for any expat/foreigner) are always making comments about life in China. I mean, you know you’ve been in China for too long when….
How would one go about finishing this sentence? Well, for example, when…
…the sound of subway doors sliding open elicits a natural response to stick out your elbows.
…Tiger Beer no longer gives you nasty hangovers
…grunting is language. “mmn” becomes synonymous with “yes” and “unhh” synonymous with “sure“.
…every other sentence out of your mouth starts with the clause, bu hao yi si, 不好意思. Part “oh sorry!” and part “oops”, here in China it is used without any thought, and precedes just about any comment- a suggestion, a question, a snarky remark, and an insult. It works. bu hao yi si, can I interrupt? bu hao yi si, but I have to step on all ten of your toes to get by. bu hao yi si, but your baby is ugly. bu hao yi si, can I borrow three hundred bucks? It’s basically the email smiley face emoticon of China.
…Privacy? What’s that?
…on a trip home to America, you notice people are staring at you inside of a Macy’s because you are yelling into your cell phone. No problem honey, I’ll pick up your diarrhea medicine on the way to dinner. What?!
…you drink hot water out of a tall glass as if it were lemonade.
…frozen burritos in the aisle of the supermarket causes heart palpitations from sheer excitement.
I could go on, but I think you get it.
That last one, the one with the burrito, actually happened the other day. The DiploMan and I were marveling at the wonders of a Western supermarket that had been open for awhile, but that we had only recently gotten across town to visit. ‘Western’ supermarket, as in, stocked predominantly with imported goods- Duncan Hines cake mix, a real deli counter with cold cuts and cheeses, dishwashing liquid, tampons, etc. I believe Barrett’s first words were in the canned food aisle,
“uuuhmagawd, they have different kinds of olives“
I’m actually still not sure if this quote came as a question or an exclamation.
And later, when the Amy’s burritos appeared in misty cases of the freezer aisle, it sent shockwaves down our spines. I almost dropped the bag of King Arthur’s Flour in my hands.
Needless to say, we easily spent the 1000RMB necessary to obtain a frequent buyer card. After a long cab ride home spent chatting about Kettle Chips and Greek Yogurt, we got home and emptied our groceries onto the kitchen counter. In truth, our 1000RMB didn’t get us very far, especially in comparison to the measly 30RMB I spent at the wet market earlier in the week. So we’re combining some local goods- eggs, spinach, cilantro, onions, etc., and rationing our treasured goodies, devouring breakfasts such as the one below with poached egg, Thomas’ English Muffins, chorizo and greek yogurt.
We might just die when we see Whole Foods again.
Poached Eggs and Chorizo on English Muffins
- 2/3 cup chorizo, diced into small cubes
- 1 red onion, finely diced
- 1 small tomato, diced
- 1 green onion, finely chopped
- a few sprigs of cilantro, leaves only, finely chopped
- English Muffins
- 2-4 eggs (depending on how hungry you are, or how many people you have)
- 1 Tbsp. white distilled vinegar (for poaching eggs)
- Greek Yogurt
- Saute onions on high for 3 minutes, add chorizo and saute for another two minutes. Add the remainder of the ingredients and turn down heat. Saute on med for another 5-7 minutes or until onions are thoroughly browned and chorizo is charred and crisp. Take off the burner and set aside.
- Toast English Muffins. Optional: Drizzle with olive oil or spread with butter.
- Poach Egg (see instructions below). Set the poached egg on top of one half of the English Muffin, and add a generous few spoonfuls of the chorizo-onion-tomato mixture over it and on the second half of the English Muffin. Top off with dollops of full-fat Greek yogurt.
yield: 2-3 servings
How to Poach An Egg:
- Crack each egg into one small prep bowl, one egg per bowl. In a small or medium saucepan, heat water to a boil. Add a teaspoon of white vinegar, and turn down heat to Medium.
- Lightly swirl the water with a fork, and drop one egg into the pan. Don’t touch it. After a minute, use a spatula or slotted spoon and make sure it hasn’t stuck to the bottom of the pan. Drop in a second egg at this time, if you dare.
- Let each egg cook for approx. 4 minutes. Or more, if you want the yolk to be slightly firmer.
- Using a slotted spoon, carefully fish the egg out of the water and set on a plate lined with paper towels. Carefully flip over to pat egg dry, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Carefully transfer to a plate.
- Did I mention, to do all this carefully?