Tag Archives: Salads

Max & Salad Lives!

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A year or two back, it seemed like salad related places were sprouting up across Changzhou. It was likely a fad, and like all trends, the sudden spread of salad shops came to an end. For a while, it seemed like Max and Salad was one of the casualties. It used to be located in the basement of downtown’s Injoy Plaza. Then, one day, there was a lock on the door. It’s a typical restaurant closure — one day it was serving patrons, and the next it wasn’t.

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A few weeks ago, I discovered that it hadn’t really gone away. It was simply relocating to a smaller, cheaper space on the exterior of Laimeng. The difference between this place and, let’s say, Eco or Evergreen, is that this is a true salad bar where you can pick your ingredients.

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The set up is the same as before. You choose what you want by grabbing tokens that correspond with ingredients on display. These tokens have internal RFID chips inside. Once you have made your selections, you hand your pile of tokens to the cashier. She runs them over a scanner, and an order for your own, special, unique salad is generated. Obviously, you pay after that. The other places have set menus. They are good, but they do not allow you to indulge in whatever whims you may have in created something personalized. The other thing is this: Evergreen is a locally owned, and Max and Salad is a chain with locations in other Chinese cities.  Either way, some vegetarians and vegans might be glad to know one of their dining options didn’t exactly just go away for good.

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As stated earlier, this is on the exterior of Laimeng and on a side street that is very close to Nandajie. It’s not that far from where the old Base Bar used to be, and the Band of Brothers DVD shop is across the street.

Green Salad Apparently Dead

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Vegetarians may have one less dining option in Changzhou. Green Salad was one of three actual salad bars in the city where a patron could pick and choose their own ingredients. The other two were Salad Stuff in Xinbei and Max and Salad in the basement of Zhonglou’s Injoy shopping mall. Most of the other salad eateries in Changzhou are menu orientated or strictly for delivery.

It usually is sad to see a western-friendly eatery disappear. But some of the people who ate at Green Salad could possibly understand how it could have gone under. Every time I went there, the tables were empty. No customers equals no profit. Quite often, I ordered a salad and the prep cook added stuff I didn’t ask for. The menu had lots of really bad Chinglish that made it hard to comprehend, and some of the prices per portion size were too high for something skimpy. For example, a few RMB for two slices of tomato. However, perhaps the biggest thing could have been competition. For a time, Green Salad was the only salad bar downtown. It’s closest competitor was near the media tower in Xinbei. However, Max and Salad opened less than a city block away, and Green Salad was clearly of lesser quality. Also, Eco — a menu orientated salad place — relocated from Wujin to across the street from Injoy. If you have three salad places clustered together, the nature of business suggests one of them will likely not last.

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Sandwiches at CF Cafe

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Caesar salad wrap
Sometimes, finding good salads in Changzhou is easier said the done. It’s a no-brainer: if you live in the Middle Kingdom, you will
always be surrounded by Chinese food. So, some people are always looking for salad recommendations, and I tend to be one of those people. Thankfully, a friend pointed me towards C.F. Cafe in Xinbei, and I am very glad she did.

For me, it’s near my university and where I live. I can walk there. Also, for people maybe taking the B1 BRT bus into Xinbei for the day, it’s also conveniently located. It’s just down the street from Wanda Plaza and Istanbul Restaurant on Taihu Road 太湖路. The large media center and TV tower is also across the street.

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Ham, egg, and veggies
C.F. Cafe offers coffee and cake, too. But, honestly, I haven’t tried those, yet. I had not only a salad here, but also most of their sandwiches.  The chicken Caesar salad seemed a bit small, but the it had the right proportion of dressing. As for the sandwiches, they turned out to be the compelling selling point and what I most often return for.

The key to a good sandwich is always the bread. You can have the most expensive cuts of meat and the most exotic condiments ever, but if the bread is bad, the sandwich will be bad. It tastes like C.F. Cafe bakes its bread daily. As for the rest, it’s fairly simple. I had a chicken sandwich, a Caesar wrap, a ham and egg, and more. All of these are reasonably priced, and if you go in the middle of the day, there are available as easy takeout. They are already made and are ready and waiting. If you opt to eat in, they have something like a panini press that will warm things up and crisp the bread.

I noticed some items that might be very vegetarian friendly, but I haven’t given them a shot. Just took some pictures of the menu and sent them to a very interested friend. However, the selling point of a good restaurant is when many, many things on the menu look very good. So, while I currently like the sandwiches, I will definitely return often to try the other fare.

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CF Cafe’s storefront