So where do I grab my lunch, when I’m not home cooking the same old boring noodles’n’soy sauce? (actually I learned to be more creative, I can do more than that, but you get the point)
I eat at places like the one you’ll see below, the pictures are almost exactly what you’ll find anywhere (I do remember warning you that this is the cheaper choice, cheapest actually). You can know Muslim places from their obvious green banners outside. They’re run by the family living in the place, this is the case very often. Inside, it’s simple: tables and chairs and a separation from the kitchen behind, where your food is done, whatever kind of crude kitchen that is.
And don’t forget the kid running all over the place. In China, the one child policy means there’s only one child running around while you try to ignore the crowds and eat your food peacefully in your imagination. It’s sad not everybody gets to go to school, but who am I to say anything about it. Well, this kid is so cute, who would disagree that Chinese kids are the cutest most “Ke’ai” beings on the planet?!
Well I loved the Muslim scene, there was something charming about it, I don’t know. Or maybe it was just everywhere. Ok let’s be accurate here: The single most appealing thing about the Muslim options is that they were never isolated, you would always find them neighboring each other as part of a greater Muslim community, and so I would grab my lunch at one of the places, buy some groceries from the shop beside the kindergarten near the corner just beside it, and be able to observe life as an artist observes and studies. Wow, the dynamism, so much to see, always something going on.
Whether it’s between classes, on the go, or just gluttonizing for the sake of it, there’s so much to choose, so much to try for the first time. And specifically in Hangzhou, I learned to get acquainted with the Islamic cuisine, an easy task really. I’m not sure about how similar the cuisine is to that in Mongolia given the similar ethnic roots that the Chinese Muslims today may have had centuries ago. But whatever the variances, the Muslim scene has survived the centuries, and today, in a Han-dominated China (Han being the biggest ethnic group, dominating Chinese culture and promoted by the government), the Muslim minority, actually described as “Hui Muslims”, have proved successful at preserving their identity under Chinese rule.