small town laowai

an Americanish life in backwater China



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 →

My most favorite fruit in the whole wide world – jackfruit

In Thailand, durian is the King of Fruit, but in my world, jackfruit reigns supreme.  I had never even heard of jackfruit before moving overseas. Even after moving to Asia, it took me a while to try it. I think… Continue Reading →

My second favorite fruit in the whole wide world – mangosteen

This made my day. We stopped by our neighborhood fruit shop, and lo and behold, there was a nice big pile of mangosteens for sale! It’s the first time I’ve seen them this season, and they won’t be around for… Continue Reading →

What in the Middle Kingdom? 枇杷 Pipa (loquats)

Pipa are delicious fruit that remind me of apricots –same size, same texture, very similar flavor. You may have heard of these as loquats, which I only recently learned is what they’re most commonly called in English. They grow in bunches… Continue Reading →

How to eat sugarcane like the delicious fruit it is

We live in the largest sugarcane growing region of China, so we’re quite familiar with seeing fields of it, or trucks rumbling down the street piled high with it. We’re also quite familiar with eating it! It’s considered a fruit… Continue Reading →

Smokin’ pot outside everyone’s home (wait, that sounds wrong)

If you’ve ever learned anything about Chinese New Year, I’m guessing you were told that Chinese families gather together at Spring Festival to bao jiaozi (stuff dumplings.) While that seems to be true in much of China, it isn’t so… Continue Reading →

Waffles, darts, and Valentine’s Day

Here in China, Valentine’s Day is an imported holiday. It’s celebrated only by 1) young couples who aren’t yet married, 2) any restaurant, flower shop, or bar that can make money off of said young couples, and 3) laowai. Since… Continue Reading →

What in the Middle Kingdom? Dr. Seuss fruit #2 – fire dragon fruit

Today I’m continuing the fanciful trip through the market with another fruit that looks like it’s straight outta the Jungle of Nool. It’s 火龙果 huo3long2guo3, literally ‘fire dragon fruit,’ but usually just called “dragon fruit” in English. (Personally, I think… Continue Reading →

What in the Middle Kingdom? Dr. Seuss fruit #1 – rambutan

If Dr. Seuss had been a horticulturist instead of an author, I’m pretty sure he’d come up with a few of the fruits and vegetables that we have here in the Middle Kingdom. Let’s take a look at these strange… Continue Reading →

7 more awesome recipe hacks using jiaozi and wonton wrappers (饺子皮,混沌皮)

My original post on using jiaozi wrappers to make life easier got an enthusiastic response, including creative ideas from you, friends. There’s so many great ways to use these wonder circles of dough. It seemed like a good idea to… Continue Reading →

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