Zhu ji restaurant, Shanghai

I’m not a big breakfast person. Waking up early for work for nearly 5 years (and going to bed late) really messed up my eating patterns, and I’ve found that my lack of hunger in the AM has followed me to China.

The other day a friend called and asked if I wanted to have a late lunch/early dinner (it was about 3pm, I’d just woken up). I thought it would be ok to go with her and have a quick breakfast snack, and off we went onto Nanjing road to what she called a ‘soup place’.

Now, I grew up eating soup. Heinz tomato soup was a cornerstone of lunchtime whenever my Dad and I were spending ‘quality time’ together (watching Home and Away and Neighbous). This, however, had done next to nothing to prepare me for the PWOPER CHINESE VERSION. (Edit: Did I say China?! I meant TAIRANESE!)


So in we went to Zhu ji – an ‘authentic Chinese restaurant’ (finally!) (Edit: See bold above)…this translates to small, cheap and with a terrifyingly unique menu.

Fake meat on Shrove Tuesday? Sacré bleu!

Ok, first dish…no suprises…it’s like beansprouty thing with peppers and an interesting (and rather tasteless) ‘meat’. After we’d finished I asked what it was, and found out it was tofu. I’m all for vegetarians getting their protein fix somewhere, but c’mon…not in my plate. Check out the brown ‘rind’ on it…I don’t know why the manufacturer even bother with trying to make it look like meat. /rant

The cornerstone of any nutritious breakfast

Now THIS is what I’m talking about! Roast beef, thin strips, in my face. Thanks. I wish I’d had some Warburton’s thick crusty white bread, some mustard and a little butter to hand…Oh gawd….I’m a horrible expat scummy English…

Oh wait...this is the pancake thing...

Although I totally forgot pancake day this year (the best of all religious ‘holidays’), I felt a littler closer to God after eating this. Pancakes and chicken and beansprouts and peppers and hmmmm lovely. It was a bit like the calm before the storm because next up…

mooooove over

Soup time! Now, I like to try different things…and this looked pretty innocuous. Hot water, check. Green stuff, check. Meat? Well…if you can call it that…

what the cluck?

Out of the soup popped a whole load of stuff which I sure as hell hadn’t seen in any butcher’s shop before (and I used to practically camp out in the butcher’s in Sturton le Steeple to buy drumsticks (the sweet kind not the chicken kind)). I made the terrible mistake of asking if these were mushrooms in the bowl…and my friend replied:

No, they’re all different parts of a cow’s internal organs.

Damn…but I’d come too far to back out, so I slurped down a bowl or two, trying desperately not to chew too long on the bobbly matter that was slipping down my throat. I needed something bland and safe to take away the fear…


…and here it is. A big block of tasteless tofu! With some onions on the top (I think they put them on everything to add the X-Factor).

Next time I go for soup, I’m asking for a full ingredients list and a quality assurance that the meat is organic and farmed away from nuclear plants (and I’ll certainly have a couple more beers before sitting down to eat).


  1. COW INSIDE (R)… does it make you run faster???

  2. I could have done with the tasteless Tofu, but i wouldn’t have eaten that soup for anything in the world!

    How courageous of you!

  3. eating offal foods are really good. They might look yuc but they are rich in vitamins such as protein…

  4. You know what deb – you’re right! It did taste ok~

  5. you know what, you comments about the doufu are just the stereotypical nonsense locals might expect to hear from an ignorant expat. what the hell are people like you doing in china?

    luckily, McD, KFC etc safe you everday from starvation.

    jesus christ.

  6. matt ellis says:

    god fei get a life. not everyone has to like the same foods as you

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *