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
The rumors have been abound for years. Roughly three if memory serves.
"I hear it's going to be in guanyinqiao." Said the English teacher with an inside scoop.
"I don't know where it's going to be, but they say it'll be here in 3 months..." Said the Laowai who traded facebook for cqexpat upon entering the confines of the great firewall.
I'm not sure where. I don't know when. But it's coming. I swear, it's coming. It has to! Doesn't it...?" Said the hopelessly optimistic entrepreneur, yearning for a descent burrito and a plate of Nachos.
potato skins and quesadilla
And finally, after years of speculation. After any thought of it actually making way to Chongqing had long since passed. Out of nowhere, in a location no one expected. It has arrived.
I recall my first ever time there in Beijing over five years ago. I'd been in Asia for 3 weeks, and though loving my first experience outside western society, was yearning for a taste of home. I was taken there by a friend of a friend. I had a chicken fried steak, with biscuits and gravy and a banana milkshake. It was amazing. I've had many an encounter with said establishment in the 5 years since at any number of the Chengdu locations. And last week for the first time, in Chongqing.
Yes ladies and gentleman, Peter's Tex-Mex has finally found its way to Chongqing, and being the long time fans that we are of the Chengdu and Beijing locals, we couldn’t wait to get our mouths on their chicken and succulent steak fajitas, nachos, quesadillas and thick potato skins.
The result, as expected, blew the sub-par, overpriced fare of a certain Hongyadong establishment out of the water. Generous portions, the same standards of quality practiced by the chain all over China and, surprise surprise, the bottle of Paulaner (white or Salvator) for 35 kuai, up from the original 25 Fans of Peter’s won’t be surprised to hear this, but the rest of Chongqing’s foreign community, for many years without decent mexican food, will be thrilled…
For real, the branch’s only shortcoming lies in the ill-advised location. The Fortune shopping mall is out in the boonies and closes at 10. And as is the case for even the most luxurious malls in the city, you have to walk out of the restaurant to relieve yourself… seriously you wouldn’t expect a place called “Fortune” to have such a crappy bathroom.
A fantastic experience nonetheless, Peter’s has just made the New North Zone a must-go neighbourhood…
Peter’s Tex-Mex is located on the 3rd floor of the Fortune Shopping Mall, at #16, Xingguang Dadao in Yubei’s New North Zone.
And having lived in, and like the band Vampire Weekend (from whom the above quote comes from), dreamt of Boston, never did I imagine that I would come across such a sight as I did the other day. Upon exiting the subway at Jiaochangkou station I glimpsed from afar the pink and orange color combination that is unmistakable to anyone who has lived in 'Beantown' or anywhere in America's north-east for that matter. As I got a bit closer I made out the word "Donuts" and couldn't help but salivate at the idea that Dunkin Donuts had made its way to Chongqing. I immediately picked up my pace, pondering whether to have hot or iced coffee? What what kind of donut I might get? And how ma..... and it was at that moment that I realized I'd been had. I'd been tricked, and what from afar appeared to be the home of "America's favorite donut," and coffee beloved by millions, was a mere knock-off.
Disappointed, but not defeated, I figured the best way overcome my sudden mood change would be to be proven wrong. So with a sense of hesitation and lowered expectations, I decided to give Boston Donuts & Coffee a try. And though far from the deliciousness that is Dunkin Donuts, it was actually pretty good. In fact, I'd go as far to say its home to the best doughnut in Chongqing. I had a chocolate cake doughnut sprinkled with shredded coconut and an iced coffee. The doughnut, though ever so slightly undercooked, had the combination of texture and moisture that most doughnuts in China leave you wanting for. My friend, a local had a traditional glazed doughnut, which he devoured before I had a chance to try it, so I'm assuming it too was good. The coffee however, left something to be desired. I couldn't tell if it was watered down or just flavorless, either way, it didn't do it for me. But as they say, beggars can't be choosers, and as far as Chongqing goes, this is the closest thing to a doughnut worth begging for.
Boston Donuts & Coffee is located on the basement level of the shopping mall in Ri Yue Guang Chang, Jiao Chang Kou.
Tracking down hamburgers in Chongqing has been a passion of ours since here at cqscene for a long time. Times have not changed.... [read on]
Many times in my life, I have craved nothing more than a good burger and a Belgium waffle on a stick. Okay, maybe not on a stick, but after experiencing the joy of Waffei’s 2rmb sugar/syrup-infused waffles…..I AM HOOKED!...[read on]
The rumors have been abound for years. Urban legends of trips to Shanghai and Shenzhen, dining on a pizza with flavors non conforming to the chinese pallet. A pizza that when eaten eyes closed, might evoke a sense of calm, of peace, of home.
The legend is true. Such a pizza does exist within the the walls of the middle kingdom, and now, also in Chongqing. Papa John's(棒约翰) opened their first CQ location last week at Wan Da plaza in Nan ping. And though the prices a bit high(130rmb for 14 inch), the pizza is GUUUUUUUUU. And for anyone who's rendezvoused with the big papa before will be happy to hear that, as always, your pizza comes accompanied with garlic sauce and peperoncinis. Now I don't know about y'all, but thats enough to make me want to throw my hand in the air regardless of the fact that i'm not a true player.
any one who's been a fan of cqscene for a while probably noticed last spring, that I have an affinity for the sweet, circular fried batter that we call doughnuts. So much so, that I am now dedicating my second post to the subject matter.
I have come across yet another legitimate example of what a doughnut ought to be, here in Chongqing(presumably throughout China). This time it comes from the fine folks at Qin Yuan bakery who have recently introduced a sugar sprinkled specimen that, though not excellent, could hold its own anywhere from here to Baghdad (traveling eastward).
Though not all of the Qin Yuan location carry them, most of the bigger ones do, and at a mere 1.5 RMB you cant go wrong.