The Gobi was so stunning it seemed like not even the most tantalizing mirage could pull me away from there. Maybe if Josh Groban or a bucket of my mom’s gazpacho appeared on the horizon, I might have reconsidered.

And now I can say the same thing for China – its people, its land, and its food. Oh my god, the food.

Who knew that in Tai’an you can find the world’s best fried chicken in the pedestrian food market? So crispy it cuts the roof of your mouth. So tender it melts. So perfectly spiced that you can eat a whole bag, throw up, and still be craving more. *ahem*

What’s so great about a food market, you ask. Let me drop some knowledge. The fish is so fresh they kill it in front of you. You can buy ten pork dumplings for the equivalent of 50 cents. One woman shared her pig snout with me. It was delightful. Literally every food stuff is acceptable fried and filled with pork. Hot street food, street food, street food.

The past four nights we’ve either been in transit or hiking holy mountains like it’s no big deal, so we spent today sleeping in our swanky hostel in Nanjing. Here we took a break from street food and hole-in-the-walls with no english.

OK, that was enough. Back to the street.