Delicious Night Out on the Cheapsies

Pork BBQ buns

Ugh, today was such a rainy, cold, miserable day. I think with all the running around town I did all day I probably walked outside in the rain for 2+ hours. Blah. Today after work I hustled downtown for an interview for a second job. Getting there was a complete mess and I was terribly late and lost but eventually the interviewer found me standing in the rain looking confused a couple of blocks away and still, for some reason, let me do the interview! I must have redeemed myself because I left with a good feeling and a job offer, but unfortunately, the hour long trek back uptown (20 minute walk-20 minute metro ride-20 minutes on the bus) made me realize how impractical the job would actually be. Bummer. It was just for 6 hours a week for a little extra money since I have a little extra time, but I’ll have to find something closer to make my time more worth it, I think.

Anyway, to avoid whining any longer, I actually want to talk about Saturday, which was a great day. After working doubles Wednesday-Friday the week before, I enjoyed a wonderful day of lounging around doing absolutely nothing. Kevin worked from 7-9PM, and afterwards we decided we wanted to head downtown for dinner and drinks. We had heard a lot about a different area of town that supposedly had several good bars. We assumed since it was Saturday it would be busy and there would be restaurants open and plenty of street food, etc. Unfortunately, we made the mistake of having Kevin come all the way home after work so we could leave together. Most restaurants stop serving food around 10, and it takes a half hour for him to get home plus 45 minutes for us to get downtown.

When we arrived to this alleged “bar street” there was a half a block of about 5 quite bars surrounded by a whole lot of nothing. Not even a McDonalds :-O. We walked around for what felt like forever, stomachs growling, worried that we would never eat again. But then, finally!!!, we stumbled upon a restaurant that was still serving food at the late hour of almost 11.

I should know the name of this restaurant since (spoiler alert) I’m about to write a rave review, but sorry, I was distracted by my growling stomach. If anyone is in Chengdu and wants to eat here go to the Big Boat. The one everyone calls the Big Boat. It doesn’t move. It’s by the river. Look at it, walk down the street to the left of it and keep yours eyes peeled to the left side of the street. It’s within a block.

Anyway, then the next best thing that could possibly happen happened: the server handed us a picture menu! Hooray! Words cannot express how much more confidence picture menus give me about what I’m actually ordering (although I’d be misleading you if I said what you get always looks exactly like the glossy pictures). And more fortunately, the menu came with these helpful little tips, the only words in English:

 Super helpful, right?? 😉 Anyway, Kevin and I picked a couple of menu items and started grubbing! I don’t know if it was because I was so hungry and so grateful to these people for making me food or what, but it tasted like the best meal I had ever eaten. We got some fried pork dish that had good flavor and a reasonable meat to fat ratio. That is saying something considering extremely often we’ll order a meat dish and it will be completely fat. To me it is inedible but I guess it’s what Chinese people like!

Then we got some steamed buns that were fresh and filled with delicious BBQ pork goodness. We have been thinking about them ever since… yumyumyum. And we got some greens as we usually do. I think it was Chinese celery covered in peanut sauce!!! YUMMM! My Mimi was wondering if I ever ate any veggies and the answer is- If they’re covered in some peanut butter tasting deliciousness I do! I wanted to lick the plate.

Scarfing it down!

Plate lickin’ good!

All this goodness set us back ¥68, which for all of you who aren’t quick with your Chinese money conversions is about $11. For 2 of us!  And we brought home leftovers for breakfast. All this goes to show that in Chengdu you are never far away from a delicious and budget friendly meal. 🙂

Afterward Kevin and I rolled our stuffed and happy bellies to Jah Bar, a Rastafarian-themed bar that we had heard good things about. I was expecting it to be pretty cliche and a little hokey, but I was pleasantly surprised. The vibe was very good. It’s a small, dimly lit place that often has live music (and open mic nights), but was pretty quiet this Saturday night. There’s comfortable seating around tables and couches, as well as a little balcony upstairs that is cozy and looks over the place. We were able to snag a couch, but I imagine if it gets busy those go pretty fast and that it gets pretty crowded in such a snug space. I was glad that we were the only foreigners there, and that the beer was cheap. Kevin and I were able to get 2 big bottles of Tsingtao for ¥20 so we each had two. A fun little hangout that only set us back about $6 total.

So the whole night cost less than $20 for both of us! I’m about ready for another Saturday.. Getting close! Happy hump-day! Xo.

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Jinli Street & Jiuyanqiao

Heeeeeeeeey neglected blog of mine! Apologies- last week I was way too preoccupied with being stressed about my demo lesson for the parents to update. To the point of panic, […]


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  1. Mom says:

    Paul says you should write a book on how to eat in Chengdu on 100 Yen per day. BTW do you ever stay home and cook?

    • Erin says: (Author)

      Ha! That’s a good idea, but too easy! You could definitely eat for 50 yuan a day I think. This was a fairly decent place, considering it has four walls and a door and a full picture menu! Maybe I’ll do a thing like that where I try to eat for around 50 yuan a day in different cities. Street food makes that super easy and offers a large variety of choices.

      For this reason we rarely cook. We’d have to stock a kitchen, and it’s cheaper to just eat out. We have a pan, a pot, a spatula, one spoon, one fork, one knife, a couple sets of chopsticks and two plates that can double as bowls. We mainly just make sandwiches, eggs or frozen dumplings if we don’t feel like going out. But there’s usually good street food right outside of our apartment, as well as a handful of mom and pop places, so it’s rarely a big ordeal to get yummy food.

  2. Jenny says:

    Street dumplings!!! We have those at pf changs, but those look better haha. It’s so amazing that you two can dine for that amount. You know I’m always interested in food posts. Keep on eatin and postin! Love you <3

    • Erin says: (Author)

      They were suuuper yummy! I love taking pictures of food- it’s so photogenic! 🙂 So I’ll keep ’em coming. Love you!!

  3. Helen says:

    Looks delicious. I’m getting hungry just looking.

  4. Mimi says:

    Well, now I’m satisfied…you DO EAT VEGETABLES! Actually I think I’d lick the plate too if the veggies had peanut sauce all over them. The pictures do make the food look good. I absolutely love the English words on the menu! They didn’t lie to you…they are English words. No one said the words would make any sense (at least you didn’t tell us they did). Thanks for a good belly laugh. Much love.

    • Erin says: (Author)

      Haha, I know! I was like oh look there are descriptions, how helpful! And then I was like.. scratch that we’re on our own. 🙂

  5. Mimi says:

    PS: Great chopstick skills! You’re coming along nicely.

  6. Lee says:

    I want to try that steamed buns. “To me it is inedible but I guess it’s what Chinese people like! ” Sometimes food made in the restaurant are little greasy. But I think chinese eat vegetables a lot comparing to americans we even shop to buy them everyday!

    • Erin says: (Author)

      That’s probably true, there always is a vegetable, although often they’re oily. I like the food a lot, but the meat is definitely different!

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