A, one of my many co-workers, took me to buy a cellphone today. One crazy hour later, we finally exited China Mobile with my 400 renmimbi (approximately P2800.00) Nokia; the system to buy and set up the phone sure is insane here! Suddenly, I missed going to Globe or Smart and just getting a phone.
After the to-ing and fro-ing for the phone, we went into the heart of town to try some of the local delicacies. A said she wanted me to try a specialty of Wenzhou called "hun dun", a clear soup with pork dumplings. We went to a celebrated diner called Chang Ren Hun Dun, which looks to be a family run little place that has gained fame for being the best hun dun diner in town. The soup is good, clear, flavorful, and a bowl that cost us 5 renmimbi (rmb), approximaly P35, was brimming with the pork dumplings, fresh vegetables, and seaweed. I would say this is the best find in this town, good value for the rmb/buck. A also bought a large bun made of radish, pork, and egg, called deng xiang gao, with a nice crispy crust. It is a good accompaniment to the soup. The fried dumplings, guo tie, were ok, filled with pork and chestnuts, but I think I prefer the beijing or northern dumplings more.
On the street, people walk around munching on little pancakes (bings), I found a lady who made hopia style biscuits filled with a chewy mochi filling. It's a bit dry at first bite, but once you get into the nice chewy center, it's a great little treat as you walk around, dodging the cars, bikes, and other pedestrians. Other vendors sell uber-large bbq sticks of meat, and another popular snack seems to be this rectangular grilled meat on a stick; no, it's not Spam, but I haven't tried it yet.
A said I should try some nuts, I thought it would be some special local nuts, but they turned out to be roasted chestnuts. They sell them with this plastic disk that helps you cut it open. Good golly miss molly, use your teeth people!
We walked up the street as A wanted to show me the largest mall in Wenzhou. I was ready to be less than thrilled, but I showed a lot more enthusiasm when I saw on the corner of the mall, Haagen Dazs! Yes, my ice cream needs are safe. I treated A to a scoop of coffee ice cream, while I had a scoop of strawberry and a cappucino, a much needed caffeine boost. It was a bit more than I had budgeted to spend today, but sometimes a small splurge is absolutely necessary.