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I was mesmerized by coming to China that l forgot about the food which l was going to eat during my stay. It was only when my cousin brought chopsticks home and told me to start practicing eating with chopsticks that l realized it was going to be a tussle. The whole family laughed at this gesture but l had lots of questions in my mind, China is a developed country don’t they have proper cutlery there? Come to think of it l had never seen a Chinese movie where Chinese people ate with spoons they only used chopsticks. I prepared myself ready to embark on a journey where l was going to use chopsticks.

When we landed at Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport,l found my cousin waiting for me already. We took a didi and went to our hotel and freshened up a bit then she took me to a restaurant. As soon as we entered the restaurant, my inner voice kept telling me this is it princess, the moment you have been waiting for. She ordered beef fried rice for me and they were chopsticks on the table already. In a pursuit to show off my cousin what l had been teaching myself, l was flabbergasting, and when the waiter came with spoons. My cousin laughed at me for thinking that China didn’t have spoons. I still look back on that day and laugh at myself pretty hard. The other thing that shocked me was the rice, just assumed Chinese restaurants only prepared noodles. China was really like a cabbage where one just assumed things before peeling the outer layer but the more you removed the cabbage leaves the more you get to discover what’s underneath.

When l arrived at my new school, l had to start ordering food for myself. Some restaurants didn’t have an English menu so it was kind of hard for me at first. Walking into this other restaurant l just saw two foreigners eating beef noodles. I told the waiter l wanted the same meal, little did l know that was my first worst experience with Chinese food. I got the food and it was way too spicy. I couldn’t even eat half of it. I kept blowing my tongue hoping the heat will cool down but it was just a waste of time. The guys that were seating at the next table started laughing at me. They came up to me and told me that l should have told them not to put chilly but l didn’t know how to say that in Chinese so they told me what to say next time and downloaded a translation app for me. They saved me that day and even bought me another meal with no chilly of course.

After my worst food experience had passed, l tried my best to mingle with the rest of the foreigners so they could show me all the food outlets and of course, the restaurants where the food was nice. I started trying different kinds of food. My first time eating a duck l didn’t even realize it was a duck. I remember telling my friends while we were at the school cafeteria, this chicken is really big, what do they feed the chickens with? The whole table laughed at me for not knowing what l was eating. They later told me that it was a duck and never in my life did l see myself eating a duck. The second time l ate food without knowing what it was, was when I and my friends got invited to a dinner by this other Chinese friend of ours. It was during the Dragon Boat Festival and she just wanted to show us what happens during this festival. We all dressed up to kill and went to this other beautiful Chinese restaurant. The interior was super flashy. I am so glad we decided to dress up because imagine walking into a restaurant like the one we went to and being underdressed, l would rather be overdressed than that. Anyways she ordered food for the whole table and told us that she wanted us to try different kinds of meat. The food came and me being a food lover it didn’t take minutes for me to devour it. I tried every food that was on that table and when we finished eating we played a guessing game. Everyone had to list all the kinds of meat they thought they ate. I listed everything and left out one type of meat because l didn’t know what it was, it was so tender and juicy. My friend told me it was a frog and that’s how l got to eat a frog.

I told people back home in Zimbabwe that l ate a frog and they were all surprised by this path l had taken of exploring Chinese food. Would say that as long you have a translator, you can order anything that is not Western in China and enjoy it. Chinese food is definitely out of this world and l do wish foreign students who just moved to China should try by any means necessary to explore Chinese food.

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