It's that time of year again! If Mother Nature is on our side, we'll be throwing the same kickass block party we threw last year: burgers, carne asada, beer, music and RUSTY NAILS a drink proposed by our friends at the Whisky Society meant to rival the ubiquitous Turbo Shandy this summer!
Bring your friends, musical instruments and best manners (no, maybe not that) and come down to the Chicken Lady corner, right downstairs from Helen's in Gongrencun (Shapingba district), Monday April 8th starting at 4:00PM!
Chongqing Technology and Business University. Uphill from Wugongli station, on the still youngish blue subway line, has a pleasant campus with roads leading all the way to the woods on Nanshan and includes some of the poshest houses Chongqing has to offer. Hell, the chief of police executed in the wake of the 2009 gang crackdown used to own one of them, a gaudy affair a few doors down from the foreign teachers’ residence…
Despite the sexy mountaineering awaiting up there though, it was the food district across from the univeristy main gate (off 学府大道, Xuefu Dadao) that drew us to the area that night. Right there is one of the sweetest street food hubs in town, and right here is an introduction to the students, teachers and shaokao bosses who give it its international flavor.
The story starts with a group of French and American CTBU teachers who, having lost their favorite 24-hour restaurant, followed a savvy young teacher and his girlfriend into a worn-out bunkerish structure, hoping to find a new haunt. Now they had enough China experience under their belt to appreciate the corrugated steel “roof”, the ceaseless screaming amplified by the enclosed space and (most importantly) the fact they could sit on sturdy wooden benches rather than the usual iffy plastic stools. The gang was charmed and decided to spend the night drinking and basking in the atmosphere, once again completely forgetting to go to Jiefangbei.
This could be just another story of drunk laowai finding a new pre-funk spot, but here’s where the bunker gains a few extra cool points : Pierre-François Michel, the “Daddy of Shaokao” who frequents it “a mere five or six times a week”, tells us the young Frenchman who brought the gang to the food spot was none other than the Kalakuta Kid, the bearded DJ you might remember from these past articles :
A few words with the Kalakuta Kid
Exclusive mix from the Kalakuta Kid
Kalakuta kickin' it
The low profile joint quickly became the place to be for area teachers and their brethren, often turning into an all-night banquet of 10 to 20 people. No shit, but it gets better…
Last year, the bread-loving French crew discovered cheap, delicious baguettes back on campus, just a few hundred meters inside from the gate. They taught the shaokao guys how to slice it up to make sandwiches and just like that, discount fusion food followed.
“I got a buddy that keeps mustard in one of those guys’ fridge,” says Pierre who likes his chicken skewer sandwich with no extras. His friend Gaspard across the table is all about mixing it up. We went for chicken too, but added some lamb and an array of veggies, topping it off with a 3 kuai special sauce sold by the english-speaking seafood lady at the entrance.
Would a cheap fusion pig-out be complete without french fries ? No sir, that’s why our gallic friends taught the boss of the central shaokao how to make them. No biggie, to him it’s basically just ganbian toudousi without lajiao or huajiao, sprinkled with salt, pepper and small pieces of bacon. Dip it in the special sauce and you’re in for a treat…
Booze ? The bosses of the central shaokao, Jiangji (蒋记) and Luanpicai (乱啤财) all make their own baijiu and you can always get crates of beer from the closest stall …
The vibe is quite hassle-free, so don’t hesitate to order something from the excellent food carts outside, they’ll deliver to your table too !
How to eat like a CTBU veteran :
Roujiamo (肉夹馍) at Tea Storm : Go into the campus and up the hill, spot a bright yellow sign on your left after a minute’s walk or two. Remember, those chinese sandwiches drip, so make sure to pack tissues.
Baguettes at Bread & Cake : Five seconds further up. Baguettes 6 kuai.
Sushi at Taoke : Right next door. Make sure you tell ‘em no ketchup (bu yao fanqiejiang!) because, come on, that’s gross.
Go down and get yourself a nice beer at :
-the Lawson : out the main gate of the university and to the right. Asahi, Heineken, Carslberg and skunked Corona.
-the Kegou (可购): go out the gate and cross the road, go down a hundred meters or so after leaving the main road and look to to your left. Kaiserdom and Qingdao, but that’s pretty much it.
Walk down some more and bear right, the shaokao building is there. Don’t walk too far. The first stall on the right as you come in sells top-notch seafood and that special sauce you’re going to want at your table. Walk down the middle and the first big stall you’ll see on your left is what we refer to as the “central shaokao”, get your fries (shutiao-薯条) there.
Get a table
Scramble for food