“I’m starving!” I said, as we finished a long morning organizing the new student coffee shop at Jiangxi Agricultural University.
“I know just the place,” said my friend Greg, English professor at the school in Nanchang, China.
We walked across the road to a row of dingy stalls, crowded with students on their lunch break. He suggested visiting the last stall, claiming it had the best food around. The corrugated shack was only big enough to hold an old woman cooking noodles in a large pot over a charcoal fire. She was four and half feet tall, wearing old peasant clothes and a dirty apron. Her stall had a counter to place your order and a decrepit picnic table out front for the diners. There were only two items on the menu – plain noodles, and spicy noodles.
“I’ll have the spicy noodles,” I said. “I’m living dangerously on this trip!”
The old woman grabbed a handful of noodles with her gnarled hands and threw them into the pot.
In time, the old woman yelled something in the local dialect. Order up! She scooped out the noodles and plopped them down on a thin paper plate. For my lunch special, she dumped a mystery mixture of oils and peppers onto the plate.
Being chopstick challenged, I produced my washable plastic fork. The taste was amazing. It turned out to be the best meal I had in China. It was the best value too, a tasty student lunch for 35 cents.
This post has been entered into the Grantourismo Home-Away Holiday Rentals travel blogging competition.