March 19, 2011

Hubei Street Market

The Hubei Street Market is a humming, crowded amazing place - famous in China and especially in Chinese literature as the home of food dreams :) I had a delightful time trying different foods, talking with vendors and being the center of attention ("The foreigner LIKES our food!")

The Market Street

Wuhan people like to walk and eat at the same time. There are few places to sit and eat, so you either stand around or walk. I watched a small child (maybe 5 or 6) spoon soup from a paper bowl while riding sidesaddle on her mom's scooter winding through traffic - never spilled a thing and didn't look worried either!
Empress of Rice filled Pastry

This amazing food magician makes these delicious pastries with a spicy rice/tofu filling.

A Closer Look

Oh My were these GOOD!! Hot and Fresh! If I didn't like the weather and air quality of Shanghai/Beilun/Ningbo i would MOVE TO WUHAN AND GROW VERY FAT!

Hubei Noodles

They also had these fabulous Hubei breakfast noodles. These noodles are sooo good my husband would rather I quit talking about them because he didn't have any. Well let us just say Peanut and chili and tofu sauce with chopped scallions on fresh noodles. Stir it up well so all the noodles are coated and EAT QUICK while they are still HOT. I loved them so much I asked for them at lunch time (not knowing they were only for breakfast). The 老板娘 lǎobǎnniáng (boss-lady or restaurant owner) felt sorry for my crestfallen look - so she made these noodles for me even though it was lunch time.

Emma and I agree that in general Wuhan people are very nice and warm hearted. Everyone wanted to help us find places, try the best foods, etc. And EVERYONE made sure we knew that Chairman Mao wrote a poem waaay back in the day about Wuhan spicy fish!

Speaking of FISH
Most of the Hubei street vendors want you to SEE them making food. Although I was too full of rice pastry to try the chocolate filled fish shaped waffle I was facinated by the contraption that cooked the waffles while you wait. The vendor was very proud of his machine and rightly so. Next time, more days in Wuhan, more food, and we will eat the waffles FIRST!
So the smell is amazing - draws you over to see what could possibly smell so mouth watering and then the performance BEGINS.

First he pours in the batter

Then he adds chocolate and other goodies

Then adds more batter

Then closes the fish mold thingie

And flips it to cook evenly

And then turns the wheel to the next mold to take OUT the finished fish waffle and start another!
I could have watched this all day but there were other food delights...

Further along we found:

There was a little machine whirring in the back - looked like a mini electric guillatine pounding on a piece of white tofu
In front are samples of the cross section of the block - with different kinds of sweets inside - jellied fruit, sesame paste
All the vendors give samples - these were also delicious!

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