small town laowai

an Americanish life in backwater China

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Eating

Yunnan Mint Butter Beef

We moved to Kunming nearly two years ago. It’s high time I started adding some Yunnan recipes to my repertoire. So, here’s dish #1. My creation is loosely based on an iron-plank beef dish my family loves here in Kunming. It’s… Continue Reading →

Forks vs. Chopsticks – The Showdown Winner!

It’s time to announce the winner of the Fork vs. Chopsticks SHOWDOWN! Honestly, I thought these two utensils would be evenly matched, and we’d be seeing a very close race. However, it quickly became clear that one of them was winning by… Continue Reading →

Forks vs. Chopsticks Showdown – Vote Now!

  To Win Chinese New Year, You Must Master Snacks 13 China Mysteries No Expat Can Explain These 9 Chinese Notebooks are All the Inspiration You Need

Thanksgiving is Bland, Pale & Overly Sweet (and we wouldn’t want it any other way)

When I, an American, see a big ol’ Thanksgiving feast spread on the table, it makes me salivate. It’s a feast I spend weeks looking forward to. I think that’s probably true for most of my countrymen. But to my… Continue Reading →

One Pumpkin, Four Ways

Our friends gifted us with this gorgeous gourd about a month ago. Wow. It was so pretty that I couldn’t bring myself to slaughter it right away. I just wanted to enjoy looking at it for a while before we… Continue Reading →

China is Secretly One-Upping Mexico’s Snacks

Conspiracy theory time! Claim: China is quietly waging a secret war on Mexico solely by trying to one-up Mexican snacks. Want proof? We’ve got it below. China’s method seems to be: 1) take the original snack and 2) encase it in something… Continue Reading →

To Win Chinese New Year, You Must Master Snacks

If you want to host a Chinese New Year’s party, you’ll find plenty of tips and how-to’s online about what dishes to serve, what decorations to use, different Spring Festival greetings to use, how to accumulate enough fireworks to start… Continue Reading →

An Expat Tale (Of Taxis, Trains, and Turkeys)

    What is it with U.S. American expats and turkey?!? In honor of Thanksgiving and our beloved bird, I’m recounting a couple crazy turkey tales over at Taking Route today. Enjoy, and Happy Thanksgiving! An Expat Tale (Of Taxis,… Continue Reading →

What in the Middle Kingdom? Tamarind, the Cat Poo Fruit

I knew tamarind existed before we moved to China. On trips to Mexico and Thailand, I had met this fruit, but only in the form of drinks, candies, and pad thai sauce. It was nice to discover that tamarind is… Continue Reading →

The Night Pizza Made Me Cry

I looked at the lid of the box for a long time, and even took a picture to send to my sister on WhatsApp. She’s an expat, too, so I knew she would understand. What I was holding was a… Continue Reading →

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