I have a confession to make: in the two short weeks since our arrival in China, I’ve eaten more pizza than in two whole months back home. (If you don’t know me well, this is saying quite a bit). And while it’s tempting to use Little Dude as justification, I’ll admit that it’s my own comfort as well as his that draws us to the various pizzerias scattered around our area, which I’ve taken to calling “Epcot Center.”

It helps that the climate here makes it especially easy to burn off extra calories, and that we’re clearly not the only ones to behave in this way. Whatever an expat may crave, be it burgers or schnitzel, sushi or pad thai, it can be found in spades around here. And this isn’t exactly a vacation, so I find myself shamelessly balancing each unpronounceable dish that we try with something more recognizable.

That’s not to say that we aren’t also taking advantage of the local cuisine. I get my noodles on regularly, and Little Dude is quickly developing a penchant for spice (which is convenient as well as gratifying, as it allows me to share food with him without sacrificing my own fiery fix.) Hot pot has proven to be the family favorite so far, and I’m actively on the hunt for soup dumplings, which, being from further north, have proven to be more difficult than expected to track down.  

With some digging, I’ve even managed to sniff out a couple of bakeries with satisfactory gluten free bread for Wifey. Although she does seem to be jealous of our burgeoning pizza and pretzel habit, at least she now has some comfort food of her own.

Finding the right meals to keep a family happy, healthy, and well fed is undoubtedly one of expat life’s greatest challenges. But it’s also sure to be the most rewarding. And with a whole year to explore our surroundings here, I’m confident that we’ll eventually be able to have our cake and eat it, too.

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