Archive for November 20, 2014

Best Local Food from the Local Perspective, Part Three

Many months back two lists of “Hohhot’s Best Food” circulated widely on wechat. One list had 42 places and the other had 46. I would love to attribute them to an author, so if you know who wrote it, please leave a comment or email. I take no credit for the Chinese listing, but the translation into English (and any resulting errors) are my own. For most place names and restaurant names I used pin yin unless there is a common English name. I deleted one entry which I found to be in poor taste (the joke made, not the food). Between the two lists if there was overlap, I deleted the duplications. Due to the length, I will also separate them into smaller segments. And, if I get enough time, I’ll even try to map them for you.

This post is the third installment. Find the first one here and the second one here.

Leave a comment if you try any of these specific places.


31 北马神庙街的田林川蒜瓣鱼 ,炒菜也很好吃的。

North Ma Shen Miao Jie’s (Tián lín chuān suàn bàn yú*) has good stir fry. *sorry, not sure if this is the restaurant name or the name of the dish

32 北马神庙街的大韩门韩餐的拌饭和年糕炒拉面很好吃,韩式炒菜味道都不错,烤肉就更没的说了,生菜上放点米饭再放上烤好的五花肉,记得沾上酱哦,把它们卷起来,放进嘴里那感觉

On North Ma Shen MIao Jie there’s Da Han Men. Their ban fan (rice in a clay pot) and rice cakes stir fried with noodles are good. Their Korean style stir fry is good and the grilled meat is even better. The author recommends eating the grilled meat wrapped in lettuce with a little rice and sauce.

33 黄金支队北面天和园的回勺面很好吃

North of Huang Jin there’s a place called Tian He Yuan. They have good hui shao mian. (A kind of stir fried noodles).

34 党委后院门口小东北饸烙面!

At the gate of the courtyard behind the Dang Wei there’s a small dong bei restaurant with great he lao mian.

35  西餐自助要属香格里拉了,服务好,牛排不错,三文鱼切的是厚片,口感非常好,茶、冰激凌等都是进口的。

For Western buffets, there is the Shang-ri-la. The service is good, the steaks are not bad, the salmon is cut thick and tasty, the tea and ice cream are imported.

36   护城河巷里铁锅炖鸡,是手指鸡,吃的就是个鲜,鸡吃的差不多时煮上腐竹、鲜蘑、豆腐,再来碗米饭,把汤一浇,那叫个香啊。

Hu Cheng He Alley has clay pot chicken that is fresh and tasty with tofu, mushrooms, rice, and soup.

37   长乐宫后巷邮电小区门口西侧有家西安油泼面超好吃,就是没肉,旁边有不老神鸡先买根香肠,有肉的感觉真好

Behind Chang Le Gong there is You Dian Xiao Qu, on the west alley there is a place that makes great Xi’an you po mian (noodles), but there’s no meat. But, next door there’s a Bu Lao Shen Chicken place, Get some chicken, it’s better to go with the noodles.

38  二十九中斜对面天和公寓西巷有家水竹园,特色就是竹笋类还有烤鱼,竹笋都是新鲜运来的。

Diagonal from the 39 Middle School’s Tian He Gong Yu’s west alley there’s a Jia Shui Zhu Yuan. There specialty is a grilled fish with bamboo shoots. The bamboo shoots are shipped fresh.

39 水竹园斜对面老崔包子,我打小就吃这家的煎包子,你说好还是不好呢。

Diagonal from Shui Zhu Yuan there’s Lao Cui Bao Zi. It’s just like eating bao zi at home.

40  烟草华联家兴小区门口南侧水煮羊,羊肉是越煮越嫩,小料的味道是相当的好,别家没的比。

At the south side of the gate of Yan Cao Hua Lian’s Jiao Xing Xiao Qu there’s Shui Zhu Yang. The mutton is tender and the sauces are great…can’t compare to other places.

41  日报社后巷米粮川,这的焖面油不大味道还好。  现在开了好几家分店)

Behind the Ri Bao She there’s Mi Liang Chuan. Their men mian is good without being oily. Now they have opened many other locations.

There are still a few installments of this list to come, so check back soon!

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no electricity?

Hohhot’s Power Company has issued a notice about stopping electric service to certain locations on certain days. Here is the notice in its entirety and below is my rough translation of areas.

Nov 17, 8:00-5:30

Hui Xin Yuan, traffic lights, and something called “call valve technology” will be affected

Nov 18, 8:00-5:00 area near Hai Dong Lu

Shu Guang Middle School, Xin Cheng District Police Station and Court

Nov 19, 8:00-5:30 area near Racetrack

San He Cun Xiao Qu, Yuan Tai Han Xiao Qu, and others

Nov 19, 7:30-5:30, area near Ru Yi

East Shore Development

Nov 20, 8:00-4:00, area around Xin Hua

Red Banner Milk Factory

Nov 20, 8:00-4:00

Meng Da Bin Guan, traffic lights, Ying Bing Jiu Dian, Meng Da Bin Guan

Nov 21, 7:30-5:30, near Xing An Road

Yuan Yi Suo, Urban Construction Vocational School, Jia You Real Estate


Cheddar cheese in Hohhot (and information about buying non-UHT milk)

If you don’t know this yet, I’m American. And, generally speaking, Americans like cheese. Especially cheddar cheese, which is seemingly lacking in Hohhot. I did find some at the second store mentioned in this post if you are willing to pay for it and buy in large quantities.

If not, here’s an article NPR posted today about how to make a “cheater” cheddar in an hour! I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m ready for it to rock our cheese-consuming world.

I’m not sure which of the spices needed are available locally because we generally bring those with us. You’ll also need rennet. I have no idea if that’s available locally either, but here’s a link for how to make it yourself.  (the home made version also requires stinging nettles. I don’t even know what that is!)

The recipe calls for non-UHT milk.

Here is what I know about buying milk that is not UHT:

It is available at most of the small milk bars/shops throughout the city. One brand/chain is called niu ma ma and has a green and white sign with a cow. (There name is on the bag in the picture below). It is boiled briefly to pasteurize and is sold in bottles by the jin or kg. A bottle is about 6-8 RMB, depending on if you already have a bottle you’ve paid a deposit for, how much you’re buying, etc. We’ve taken our own containers and they seemed happy to put the milk in our containers.


Another option is to make friends with someone who is a herdsman or who has family who is. They can help you acquire farm fresh milk.

The next option is to learn when the milk guy sells in your neighborhood. It’s normally a set day (or days) early in the morning at a certain location. You’ll need to have your own container. They generally have a van, or a cart with a big stainless steel tank. I know it may seem crazy to buy milk from the back of a van or a cart. But here’s our theory: If it was “bad” or contaminated, there is a much shorter chain from cow to your consumption. In this scenario, it’s generally cow to family member who sells the milk to you. If there’s a problem you can confront the seller directly and there’s not really anyone else he/she can blame. There may be less government oversight, but realistically, does that seem to help any situation? In the grocery store scenario there are many other vendors, suppliers, etc that they can shift blame to.

However you decide to get your non-UHT milk, you’ll need a gallon for this recipe.

And apple cider vinegar is readily available at larger supermarkets.

If you try this, leave a comment and let us know how it turned out! Happy cheese eating!

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Beijing air quality: a photo a day

365 photos of Beijing air quality

The photographer in the linked article, Zou Yi, took a picture a day at the same time and location to show 365’s of BJ’s air pollution. He’s encouraging others to do the same in other cities. There’s a link in the article to follow his weibo account.

Who’s taking on Hohhot? I’m not in town now, but our previous 18th floor apartment would have had the perfect view.

Have you done this or similar projects in Hohhot? Do you want to share them with us? If so, leave us the link in the comments below.

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public use bikes

I’m sure by now you’ve seen all the orange public use bikes. Have you used them yourself? If so, you’re one of the lucky ones that got a card before they stopped issuing new cards.

I saw an article dated from Monday (Nov. 10) that the transportation department re-opened service to start issuing cards again…..and then closed again after one day.

Tomorrow I’ll try to read the full article more thoroughly and post more details about it here.