Just outside of our campus is Pingshan Village, one of the typical “urban villages” of Shenzhen, China. Pingshan caters to the tastes and lifestyle of young people, families, migrants, and locals—not the business or international community you might find in central Shenzhen. It’s a prime place for tasting plenty of authentic Chinese food. Although things quiet down at night around the classrooms and dormitories, this is the time when street food vendors fire up the wok or grill and feed the dinner or late night crowd.
This food adventure lies just outside of our campus gates! I am here to introduce to you five kinds of street food that are the “must eats” in Pingshan Village.
This treat was originally created in Heilongjiang province in the north of China around 1997 by a stand owner located outside of a middle school who bought lengmian as a snack. Instead of eating them on their own, he fried them under the suggestion of several students who were visiting his stand. Surprisingly, the lengmian weren’t hard and crispy as they were expecting, but soft and chewy and the crowd ended up enjoying the new snack. With the addition of hot sauce, the owner managed to create a popular specialty which soon became famous around China. Nowadays, kao lengmian can be grilled on an iron plate with various stuffing such as sausage, bacon, egg, and chicken.
If you are looking at maximizing your financial resources, 10 yuan can buy you a bowl of kao lengmian which only adds to the long list of advantages of this meal. Even more, it is right outside the HIT gate.
This snack can be found in a very small shack connected to the fruit shop across the gate of HIT and is opened until late night. They have four types of noodles, including rice noodle, hefen (also rice noodles, but wider and chewier), noodle and instant noodle. Fried rice is another option if you are not a noodle lover. All of the fried noodles and rice starts at 10 yuan per plate with egg in it. You can also add pork, beef, meatball, sausage, ham and other ingredients based on your preference. My recommendation would be to get the hefen with beef and rice noodles with sausage. Both of these two combos are my personal favorites and I don’t have the heart to decide which one I love more.
Be aware that around 6 p.m. there will be a lot of students hunting for food. If you don’t want to wait in the line for 30 minutes plus, you might consider visiting before the rush hour or at midnight. It can be a perfect snack to have with a beer or as a late pick me up while studying for exams.
So what’s chuanchuan? As you can see from the picture, this snack contains a variety of meats and vegetables including squid, escargot, mushroom, eggplant, and many others. After being fried in an oil pot, the chuanchuan will be put on an iron clamp to pick it out, and then sprinkle on top of it spice powder, cumin powder, and other seasonings. Just come and give it a try!
Remember the tangyuan (glutinous rice dumpling) from the Lantern Festival? Now they come with sweet rice wine! This sweet snack is called 甜酒汤圆(Tianjiu Tangyuan). Where can we get it? The tangyuan place is near the Tianfu convenience store, head straight into Pingshan Village from the HIT gate, then turn left once you reach the main street in the village.
This Chinese-style bread originally from Hubei province is crispy on the outside and dry inside, unless you decide to add some sauce. First, stuffing will be added into the leavened dough then the dough will be rolled into an oval shape and white sesame will be added on the surface. Secondly, it will be put on the interior of a large oven for a couple of minutes. And last but not the least, the special sauce will be added with a brush on the top of the bread.
For stuffing, you have multiple options such as sweet flavor, pork, beef or salted dried vegetable. The price ranges from 5RMB to 10RMB. For sauce, you can ask for hot sauce or non-spicy ones. Usually, guokui requires the cooperation of two people, and the two chefs in this stand are a kind couple with lots of understanding. Their warm personalities just add to the existing character of the stand and increase the number of loyal customers who visit their stand frequently. Do you think it’s hard to find a non-sweet bread in China? Maybe it’s time to give the guokui a try! It is just east of the HIT gate.