Across the road from my college in Baoji (Shaanxi) is the village of Dan Jia Cun. I eat most of my meals there and these photos are of one of many small restaurants.
This is a rural community so the menu is pretty basic. The standard meal of the area is Chao Mian - there seems to be infinite variations of this but the most popular comes with a fried egg on top. Costs RMB5 for a large heaped plate. No charge for a large pot of piping hot tea and a small bowl of rice.
The most expensive meal is 'Lamb/mutton' for RMB10
At least once a week I have jiaozi. These are the best I have had in China - silky pastry and filled with heaps of 'stuff.' I stagger through a plate of 40
I am the only foreigner in the area. It took a year for the staff to overcome their shyness (in the beginning it was more fear!) but now I feel like I am part of the family.
The cooks come from Xi'an. They work a 5hr shift. For this shift their day actually starts at 4pm when they come in and sit down for a quiet baiju or beer while they read the paper and chat for an hour. They work from 5pm to 10pm.
I am the one sitting on the very far right.
All of this great food is produced in this kitchen. Your bedroom is most probably bigger than this working area!
I could not believe that they are cooking on a coal range.
Food preparation areas are rather basic but a 'chopper' has a 100 uses.
The restaurant is owned by a family. The 'boss' employs, among others, his 23yr old son (Manager) and his girlfriend (she could not afford to carry on with nurse training), a 15 yr old niece (whose father died leaving the family impoverished), a young boy with a deformed leg who is learning the chef business, and assorted 'others.'
A small restaurant is one place you can get to see a family in action in China. It is a generational thing!