Tag Archives: Sandwiches

Amee Toast 凹蜜土司 at Xinbei Wanda

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I am always on the look out for Chinese food that is unintentionally friendly towards western eaters. I like to call it “unintentional fusion.” The people creating the food are not actively going, “Hey, likes mix western food with Chinese.” No, its Chinese food that just happens to be similar to some types of North American or European cuisine. I recently ran into something intriguing on the Xinbei Wanda pedestrian street. It’s a place called Amee Toast 凹蜜土司 Āo mì tǔsī. It’s brand new, as it just opened.

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The name loosely translates as “concave honey toast.” It’s a thick slab of toasted bread that has been hollowed out and filled with meat and vegetables. I showed a picture of one to a friend who is also a professional chef, and she said, “Oh, it’s a coffin sandwich.” She’s lived in Taiwan, and a coffin sandwich is a Taiwanese specialty. Only, those involve a creamy soup on the inside. What’s over at Wanda is more of a Mainland China version of that type of sandwich.

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So, how was it? I tried two of Amee’s offerings, a bacon sandwich and a black pepper chicken one. Both were served with sliced and cooked mushrooms.  When I say bacon, Brits, Canadians, and Americans should not get their hopes up. It’s Chinese bacon. That’s well and fine. A condiment in the sandwich tasted a little like the sweet chilli dipping sauce you might find served with appetizers at a Thai restaurant. The black pepper chicken was okay. As a whole, the sandwiches here raged from 18 to 28 RMB. Now, would I go back? Yes, there are a few others I want to try, but this is your basic mall food, and it really is hard to compete with the shwarma-like roujiamo food shack nearby, which is my favorite place to eat at Wanda. This place also treats toast as a sweet desert — some with burnt cheese, and others with blueberry jam and other fruits.

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There is something else I found that seemed interesting. This, like the Mr. Potato next to it, looks like a chain. Yet, after searching, even with the Chinese name, I turned up next to nothing. All I could find was an article about an Amee Toast in Wuxi, which claims to be the first of it’s kind in China. I have seen one in Wuxi; it was in the Chong’an area downtown. So, if Changzhou has one now, this could be the beginning of a new snack food chain.

Changzhou Down To One Subway

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Changzhou used to have three Subway fast food restaurants. One was on Bar Street near Nandajie. I never saw people in there, and it has now been converted to something else. Dinosaur Park also had one, but the last time I went to it, it was closed. I often go to Dinosaur Park to take pictures of the weirdness there. So, this closure is more recent. That leaves Changzhou now with only one, which is between Xinbei Central Park and a BRT station on Tongjiang Road.

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Chinese Fast Food: Rou Jia Mo 肉夹馍

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Rou Jia Mo 肉夹馍 is perhaps one of the cheapest and most delicious types of Chinese street food. The most common English name is “Chinese hamburger.” Basically, its just meat between two pieces of bread. The most traditional of these involve stewed pork that his been finely chopped and stuffed into a small type of Chinese flat bread. Currently, there are many different varieties, but the sandwich originated in Xian. The history of the flatbread and stewing of pork involved suggest that this Xian snack actually out dates all other sandwiches in the world.

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Many of my Chinese friends become shocked when I often joke that it’s the most “American” thing in Chinese cuisine. Sandwiches are a huge part of American food, especially in places like Philadelphia, New Jersey, and New York City. Even more, in the southern part of the USA, a “pulled pork” sandwich is a common thing sold along roads. The process is different, and the difference being “pulled pork” is slowly roasted and the meat fibers are tugged apart and separated either by hand or with knives. No matter whether you are in China or the USA, you are still eating shreds of pork between two pieces of bread. By the way, the best pulled pork sandwich in Changzhou is actually at Daniel’s Irish Pub in Xinbei.

Pulled pork picture courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. This is NOT DANIEL’S pulled pork sandwich in Xinbei.

 

As for rou jia mo, it’s a very common thing in Changzhou if you know how to look for it. Part of it is just being able to spot 肉夹馍 on kiosk signs. As fast food when in a rush, it is far much cheaper than getting a sandwich at McDonalds, KFC, or Burger King.

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