It’s cold here. Cold and wet (my Beijing readers should focus on the latter). US trade negotiators are in Beijing (meaning, further declines in the dollar – and the value of my income). And no, I wasn’t one of the winners in the Led Zeppelin reunion concert ticket lottery. So what’s a down expat to do on what can only be described as a Bad China Day?
Go. Eat. Hunan. Food.
That’s right, I took my self-pitying self and a good Hunanese friend down to Xiang-E Qing [that's what's on the business card, so please, no pinyin slapdowns for the 'E'] and we ordered up the spicy duck jerky as an appetizer. For the record, my Hunanese dinner companion has a spice consumption capacity second to none; she’s been known (by me, at least) to eat spoonfuls of hot sauce right out of the jar as if it’s, well, ice cream. So I was a bit taken aback when I saw tears in her eyes (joy? pain?) as she tested the jerky. “Well?” I asked. To which she answered, in between nibbles and tears: “It’s the spiciest thing I’ve ever eaten.” Me, I couldn’t say: one bite of the stuff and I had to spit it out. Lawsuits have been filed for lesser hazards. The dish in question, below:
Anyway, Xiang-E Qing has nineteen locations in China, most of them in Beijing. The sole Shanghai location is at the intersection of Yueyang Road and Zhaojiabang Road.