Today is Valentine’s Day in China. Grandpa had bought Grandma some of these Chinese Fried Dough Twists early in our visit and she wanted some for a special breakfast treat. It took several searches and some extra effort from my son to make them a reality.
A text to our kids’ language helpers returned the Chinese name of what we were looking for. My grandson wrote it down and we were ready to head out on our search. With masks in place and dressed for the cold we headed out for the morning market. We had a much longer walk than normal because we had to go out the gate furthest from the market. Due to the COVID-19 virus access to our complex has been limited to a single gate. We walked in the street much of the way because the sidewalk was covered with ice.
By the time we got to the market everyone was closing their booths. The little bakery where we had purchased the dough twists earlier wasn’t there. We could have gotten a great deal on strawberries if we had been willing to take them back to the apartment before continuing our search. We decided not to purchase strawberries and headed for what we call the underground market. My grandson noticed that one of the impacts of the virus was the addition of a hand washing station in the market.
We found the underground market, a grocery store on the lower floor of a Chinese strip mall, busy and well-stocked. Strawberries were one of our objectives and we did find some. They were better quality than the ones at the morning market, but about three times as expensive. We bought them anyway. Near the strawberries was a display of mangoes. My grandson loves mangoes and he picked out a bag full of them for us to buy. We lined up to get our produce weighed and everything was moving very smoothly until a man cut in line and placed his produce on the scale. It got weighed and he left, but it was obvious that the woman he cut in front of was not happy. During our previous visit to China I found that standing patiently in line would result in your produce never being weighed. Apparently, the expectations are different here.
We went to the bakery section of the store and didn’t find any dough twists. We decided to continue going around the block to see if we could find a bakery anywhere. We didn’t find a bakery, but we did find a small market that had meat, vegetables, and grains. Grandma has been looking for some bulk rice to put into rice bags that can be used as bed warmers. We found a 5 kg (11 pound) bag of rice for 42 yuan, or approximately six dollars. We still had a long way to go, so we stopped shopping and headed back to the apartment.
On the way, we saw several delivery vans parked with their packages spread out on the sidewalk. Initially, I thought this was the result of the virus as there is a similar area at the entrance of our complex. However, this is normal. My son says these are distribution centers for package delivery. The delivery people on their motorcycles come and pick up packages to be delivered to their final destination. The process seems to work well and there is no sign of UPS or FedEx.
Most apartment complexes are limiting the people who can go in and out to residents. When we reached the gate of our complex, we had our temperature taken before we could enter. This was third time our temperature had been scanned during our short shopping expedition.
Since we had failed to find the dough twists my son looked for a recipe on the Internet. He found one and we had the ingredients, so he mixed up a batch while we were watching a movie. This morning when we arrived for breakfast the dough sticks were frying in the wok. They were sweet and crunchy on the outside with a chewy inside. We all enjoyed our special treat. We look forward to the day when the morning market is fully open, and we can purchase them there again. If you would like to make some to try you can find a recipe here:
With rice available we began filling up the bags we had bought from home. They take longer to sew up since Grandma doesn’t have access to a sewing machine. It is cold and snowy today, so I expect the rice bags will get some use tonight.