As we make our way down China's East coast, the first stop on our itinerary is Nanjing. This city was once the capital of China but is now a laid back college town (if by "town" you mean 5,320,000 people). With numerous universities and nearly a million students, there is no end to the amount of cheap eats you can find here.
For our visit to Nanjing, we thought it only appropriate to stay at a university dorm. Mary Kate knows her way around Nanjing from her time spent studying abroad and suggested we try her Alma Mater, Nanjing Normal University. The foreign student dorm here has cheap rates and clean rooms and turned out to be a great choice. The campus's location is in the heart of town and the front gate opens to a cluster of vendors selling delicious street fare.
There are many, many dishes available in Nanjing. Some originated here, most did not. I found the best to be flour-based foods like guotie dumplings, baozi dumplings (more round and bready than traditional dumplings), and youtiao, a variation on deep fried donuts. The Chinese potstickers, called guotie, were my favorite Nanjing find. Well be sure to include the recipe we found at the Wu family's restaurant in our book. If the long line of locals out front is any recommendation, these are some of the best around.
Here's an easy recipe for the donut-like youtiao. In some regions of China it's enjoyed with a piping hot bowl of sweetened soy milk.
1 1/4 cups self-rising flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup lukewarm water
Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir in water.
Lightly knead dough. Loosely cover for about 20 minutes, or enough time for the dough to rise.
On floured surface, roll the dough into 2 inch wide and 14 inch long strips. Twist together in pairs, pinching the ends. Holding each end of twists, pull until 9 inches long.
Deep fry each twist in peanut oil until golden brown (about 25 seconds)
Let cool and eat.