Y is different from most Chinese I know. Well, I know, of course he is – to me, right? What I mean is that his eating habits are different from most other Chinese people I know. He loves eating raw vegetables. He had never been to Europe before our wedding, but he still loved eating raw veggies (before we went to Europe, that is). Now you have to know that most Chinese don’t eat raw veggies, and even I, a person who is crazy for salads, don’t eat them in Southern China. When we did finally make it to Austria for our wedding, it really didn’t matter too much what we had for lunch or dinner, as long as there was salad, everything was okay for Y.
When I saw him eating raw veggies for the first time, I was surprised. He told me that in Northeast China people do actually eat veggies raw. When we went there in the summer of 2013, I could see for myself. For every meal we ate, there was one plate with raw veggies. They had them all – salads (without the dressings we use, but with a salty soy-bean-dip), carrots, radishes, tomatoes and cucumbers. People love eating small cucumbers here. If you travel around Northeast China’s Jilin province, they’ll sell them as snacks and I can tell you, they do have a great taste, one that seems to be slightly more refined than that of Austrian cucumbers.
Except for raw veggies, my husband loves eating breads. And yes, he also loved eating breads before we met. Not the fluffy ones they sell in Chinese-style bakeries here, but real bread, similar to the one we’d eat in Austria (of course, Austrian-style bread is hard to find in China, but Y has introduced me to Olé, a supermarket in Shenzhen that sells acceptable bread and I have yet to check out a bakery here that has an Austrian baker). I hadn’t been eating bread in China at all. For an Austrian, or probably most Europeans from Central Europe, bread is definitely the number one food we’ll miss in China. But then I met my husband and he just loves eating bread, so it’s become one of our must-buy-on-a-regular-basis shopping items.
When we traveled around Northeast China, I saw people eating bread (well, the fluffy Chinese-style ones) with cucumbers and Wurst. Wurst? I knew they have hams and the like in China, but I never really got used to the slightly sweet flavor of these meats. But in Northeast China they do have Wurst with a flavor that tastes just the same as one kind that you can buy in Austria. Y once bought one at Olé that wasn’t as expensive as all the imported ones. When I wondered why, he told me that this is Chinese Wurst. Wurst from Northeast China, to be exact.
It’s funny how sometimes you think that your eating habits are so different while actually they are not. Y might not eat sweet things, he might eat much more sea food than we do in Austria, but he’s still able to find lots of comfort foods in Austria. And he has made me find some comfort foods in China too.
Do you sometimes miss your home country’s cuisine? How do you deal with it? I’d love to read about your experience.