Friday, July 8, 2011

Hot Pot at Shangle Street in Shekou

It’s our fourth week in Shekou, Shenzhen and we’ve been enjoying Xtasea Bar’s excellent cooking of American food and the barbeque and noodles down the corner after work but my typical craving for for something new is up again. I took my bike and roamed the area and saw this restaurant at the end of Shangle Street (also known as Seamen’s road due to bountiful seafarers who roam the area). What actually attracted me to it was its unusual and long name - “Popular Food In Taiwan”. I went inside to take a look and saw a lot of locals and some expats as well digging unto their shiny stainless hotpots. I called Calay and asked her to meet me after half an hour outside our building.

When we got back to the “Popular Food In Taiwan”, most of the people have gone and we got settled. It’s a good thing their menu had English translations and pictures aside from big pictures on the wall which one could just point at. The place was clean as well. We were greeted by a friendly staff whom I think is also the owner.

Upon careful review of the menu, Calay ordered Brisk Beef Hotpot while I decided to go for the Salted Pork set. Service was fast and we got our orders almost at the same time within ten minutes. The waitress prepared the heating apparatus for the hot pot and it was up and boiling in front of us in no time. Both of our orders included rice and bottomless soda drinks.

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Calay’s Brisk Beef Hotpot was a great choice. Soup base tasted just right. It had beef strips which were soft and tasty. Vegetables included corn, pumpkin, tomato, cabbage and mushrooms and also tofu (well at least those are the only ones I recognize). It also had some meatballs, crabstick, quail eggs, sausage and shrimp. It came with this special sauce similar to Sate but thicker and with stronger flavor mixed with Wasabe.


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The Salted Pork set included pork on top of cucumber salad, mongo sprouts, marinated tofu with egg and rice. Although I had a great dish as well, I must admit, I enjoyed Calay’s order even more.


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We had an absolutely wonderful meal and we both agreed we are will be going there often. The Brisk Brisket Hotpot set costs only RMB30 and the Salted Pork set RMB22 with a total bill of only RMB52! … all in. Although there are still a lot of cheaper choices in China, for such a great meal it was well worth its price. “Popular Food In Taiwan” in Shekou… we’ll be back!


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Go Green! Ride the bike

When we moved to Shekou, Shenzhen in China three weeks ago, I went around the surrounding areas just checking out where is what and where we could buy things, eat and other places to go to. The first two days Calay and I were either walking or taking a taxi. Shenzhen is a much bigger place compared to Hong Kong where buildings or establishments were so near to each other that almost everything is within walking distance. In China, since they have more space, everything is much farther apart which meant that walking from one place to another would prove to be a tedious task. Riding the taxi is not much better because aside from having the usual communication problems with the driver, you could only go from point A to point B and of course, it costs money. The solution: we all bought bicycles!

255011_179528342100228_100001291897443_419472_4073044_n Our rides: Mine is the big black mountain bike on the right while Calay’s is the pink small bike with the umbrella and basket

In China, people make most use of their bicycles, motorcycles or electric scooters. While using electric powered scooters or motorcycles on the road is just a plan for most countries, China has utilized it in full swing maybe for the past decade. Not only is it cost efficient but environment friendly as well. Although our final objective was to get electric scooters and later on a car, for now, we opted to buy bicycles.
Just five minute walk from our flat were several bicycle stores in order to get a good deal, we bought 4 units at the same time. The bicycles they had were like generic copies of branded mountain bikes but the quality was good enough for its price. I got a big mountain bike which I think looks great and the ride is good as well for only RMB 350.00 (Chinese currency) which coverts to HKD 421.00 or US$54.00 or PhP 2,348.00 or EUR 37.00. I think I've enough conversions already...haha.... The mountain bike I have costs around PhP5,000 in the Philippines or more. Since it was Calay's birthday, I bought her a cute pink bike which is foldable.


247898_179528558766873_100001291897443_419473_2705868_n Calay with her fully set-up bike!

I think the last time I rode a bike was ten years ago and another ten years before that I was part of the first boom of the BMX craze. I used to ride the bike for maybe 8 hours on the road then, but now, although I think I could still ride well, I'm a bit more scared and careful of what I do.

As expected, our bikes' usefulness became of great importance. We rode around all over Shekou eating here and there. Found out where to buy good bargains. Went to practice and to our gig on bikes and I even had a morning exercise bike run for about half an hour circling Coastal Rose Garden, a nearby residence area by the seaside and docks. We went to places which might be almost impossible for us to find just by walking or by taxi. Riding the bike also helped us exercise, save money and being able to avoid to contribute to pollution.

Here in Shenzhen, bikes, scooters and motor cycles of different kinds roam the streets. One could see how they use it on their everyday lives for work, leisure and other things. I think these types of transportation plays an important role in China's continues progress and speedy economic growth.
Although I plan to get an Electric Scooter maybe next week, for now I'm enjoying my time riding the bike reliving my biking days when I was younger.