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Thread: Living in CHINA page

  1. #1
    ozbuckley's Avatar
    ozbuckley is offline Senior Member
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    Living in CHINA

    Hey guys,

    I'm wondering if any of you are living, or have lived, in China and how you went about eating Primal? Im heading over there to live in a month or two.

    Vegetable Oils to cook with are apparently becoming more and more popular and sauces like soy sauce are filled with wheat additives and sugar.

    Thankfully the chinese still love eating nose-to-tail (though hopefully not dog) which is good but then again who knows about the quality of where this meat comes from.

    I love cooking so I would actually love to learn how to cook goo Chinese while Im there with all the chinese ingredients and produce available at local markets. Im planning to live in a city area to start off with and maybe move to to a more regional area later on.

    Any thoughts and ideas would be much appreciated. Thanks

    OZ

  2. #2
    palebluedots's Avatar
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    Where in China are you going to be living? I've visited both Shanghai and Beijing, and they're quite different culturally. Shanghai was much more geared to Westerners. Carrafours is a big chain there that we shopped at in Shanghai, tons of choices and lots of options.

  3. #3
    thaijinx's Avatar
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    Haven't lived in China specifically, but have lived in Asia most of my life, in various countries, so may be of some help.

    If you're in a big city I would assume that you would have access to an international type 'gourmet' supermarket, where you'll be able to get cheese and yogurt and the like... but be prepared to pay big bucks! If you don't have access to one, there will still be plenty of primal foods in the supermarkets and (wet)markets. As you said, it's very easy to get meat and poultry offal and other 'bits' (sometimes difficult to know just what the hell the 'bits' are! LOL.) But you'll have no idea about how it was raised, and is probably factory farmed and pumped full of growth hormones and antibiotics...

    One of the biggest things I find is the difficulty in finding pastured, wild-caught, and organic anything. And, you're gonna find it difficult to find some things that you're used to, of course, and you won't know what they are until after you get there! If there's anything you really can't live without (for me it used to be Marmite) take it with you. Balsamic vinegar, coconut oil, other sauces spring to mind... and don't worry about taking food items into China, it's not like Australia. I've packed up months-supply boxes full of food and cheese before.

    I would also advise taking a supply of spices and dried herbs with you (even if it's just some good quality salt and cracked pepper). I've built up quite a collection on various trips home, and I find it great to be able to cook Indian curries, or have Italian flavors, when I tire of local options.

    Some positives are:

    Making bone broth is easy! Loads of choice from chicken feet to fish heads...
    Dried blood... (taste and looks a bit like mushrooms...)
    A variety of cheap fish, vegetables and fruit that are considered 'exotic' at home and much more expensive, will suddenly become cheap staples.

    Vegetable oils are an issue, and almost inescapable. Unfortunately. Render you own lard from pork fat and use it when you cook at home.

    One of the personal fears I have about anything Chinese, is that they are much more likely to be adulterated with crap chemicals. Some of the recent scares include: tainted milk, formaldehyde burns from Chinese made sofas and clothes, fake colouring used in shellfish, oh, and there was the toxic medicine capsules a few weeks ago...! So many things contain some deadly chemicals, and so little seems to be done about it! Because of that, and several other reasons, I've never fancied living in China. I don't agree with their 'politics', the situation with Tibet and FulanGung, and their massive monitoring of the internet all give me the shivers. Given all that, I think it would be quite a difficult place for me to live in, nevermind the language and cultural differences!

    If you're new to Chinese culture swat up on the concept of face, you will encounter it on a daily basis.

    Good luck with the move.
    SW: 68 kg. * CW: 61.5 kg. * GW: 60 kg or less...
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  4. #4
    chickenbackside's Avatar
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    I go to China very often on business and I live in Singapore.

    Eating out in China, it's almost impossible to eat truly paleo *unless* you are in a major city like shanghai or Beijing and eat at really high end places that serve western cuisine. You do pay through your nose. Chinese food is just laced with seed oils and MSG even if you avoid the grains.

    If you cook yourself, then yes, you can eat pretty paleo if you're not fussy about the quality of your meat and veggies.

  5. #5
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    I agree with most of what's been posted above. I just came back from a couple weeks' vacation in China, and most of the stuff there is definitely not organic, cooked in vegetable oils, and MSG is a big part of the food there. However offal should be no problem. I even ate turtle there... which sounds really weird but it wasn't too crazy. Luckily enough, I didn't see any dog!

    Not sure how you are in terms of rice on the Blueprint, but rice is obviously a big part of the Chinese cooking culture. I have no problem with rice, so I actually discovered these nifty little 'rice cake' things, that are made from black rice flour with no filling or anything. There's also the regular white rice flour equivalents. I ate them whenever there was the possibility of encountering a situation that was very un-primal.

  6. #6
    thaijinx's Avatar
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    SW: 68 kg. * CW: 61.5 kg. * GW: 60 kg or less...
    “Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it.” ~ Buddha

  7. #7
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    The polution is absolutely breathtaking...literally!

    Food handling safety is an issue. I travel there for work and pretty much only eat in major hotels anymore. I've seen too many slaughtered animals hanging off the back of a motorcycle or flopping around the bed of a pickup to feel good about food over there.

  8. #8
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    Shop at an old fashioned market where all the ingredients are in their original state and learn how to render your own lard.
    Female, 5'3", 49, Starting weight: 163lbs. Current weight: 135 (more or less).
    Starting squat: 45lbs. Highest squat: 167.5 x 2. Current Deadlift: 190 x 3

  9. #9
    palebluedots's Avatar
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    I still would be curious to know where you'll be living? The cuisines are very different... it would be like saying you're moving to the US without saying whether you're moving to San Francisco, or Arkansas.

    My perception is that food in Shanghai tends to be very much on the sweet side... lots of sweet sauces and things like that. But there are great supermarket options especially geared to foreigners. There are some fantastic restaurant choices in Shanghai as well, but yep, you'll pay through the nose for them. Interestingly, my experience is not at all that they rely on rice... I went out to several dinners with Chinese businessmen, and I noticed that there was never rice on the table. When I asked about it, they informed me that rice is reserved for those who can't afford the better food.

    Food in Beijing tends to be more on the spicy side and relies a lot more on noodles (rice noodles). There are some good supermarket options there too, but I found that city to be less geared toward westerners than Shanghai. Of course, you won't be able to control what kind of oils they cook with and whether or not they use MSG. So the best bet is to cook for yourself!

    If you're going to be in an outlying province where there are no big markets, I guess your best bet would be to make good friends with a restaurant owner and teach them how you like your food cooked. They might make fun of you, but if you develop a good enough relationship, they're usually very kind and welcoming.

  10. #10
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    I agree with going to Tesco, Carrefour, or other big foreign chain and hitting up the international foods instead of the local ingredients. Very lean cuts of meat. And seafood.

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