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On Campus:

Dining Halls:

There are two major dining halls on the OUC campus.  Food is fairly similar at both, as is cost.  The Chinese students seem to eat most of their meals at one of the two dining halls. Some of the REU students did this as well, however the food is usually the same everyday and it tends to be a bit more expensive than some of the other options.  These dining halls are open from 7-830 AM for breakfast, 11:00-12:30 for lunch, and 5-6:30 for dinner.  Show up early and hopefully the food will still be warm.  If you show up early, you can also avoid the massive rush of Chinese students getting out of classes. Vegetarian entrees tended to be fairly inexpensive here (about 1.5-2 RMB per portion), but meat dishes tended to be about 3 RMB per portion. Depending on what you choose, you can spend anywhere from 3-12 RMB per meal at the dining halls.  Some of us also had “digestive issues” when eating at the main dining halls, and therefore avoided the cafeteria food at all costs.

“Fast Food Market”

This food area is attached to the main market/store.  Food here was extremely cheap, often delicious, and (according to the grad students) unhealthy.  This was by far where most of the food we ate came from.  You can everything from pita bread-like “pizza’s” with meat and green onions, pearl tea, dumplings, fried chicken, steamed buns, egg pancakes, fried pockets of food, to meat sandwiches (rou jia mo).  I highly advise that you eat food from this market; however you will inevitably become tired of the generic “fried” taste of everything.  We would typically spend 3-7 RMB here for a very large amount of food.  You can also buy ice cream here for 1-4 RMB per bar. 

The food window:

This place was open for most of the day, and has a variety of foods.  It is located at the base of the first market/dining hall, and you will most likely walk by this on your way to lab everyday.  Many of us typically bought our breakfast here.  Items include pieces of cake (no frosting), twisted fry bread (like a mildly sweet donut), the Chinese versions of corndogs, and ham sandwiches.  Ordering is also easy here, as you simply have to point at what you want.  Items are also cheap, typically between 1-1.5 RMB per item.

On campus Muslim Restaurant:

This restaurant caters to the campus’s Muslim population, and therefore serves no pork.  The dishes were all different than the other two dining halls, and therefore provided a bit of variety to our diet.  Dishes here tended to be about 1RMB more than the other dining halls.  It is much smaller and somewhat nicer than the other dining hall. It was rare to see Chinese students in here that were not obvious “couples.”

Off Campus:


This was definitely our favorite place to eat.  A few of us ate at this wonderful eating establishment probably about twenty times over the course of the summer.  Food is extremely cheap (even for china) and extremely delicious.  Favorite foods were “kao bing” (an interesting hybrid between a grilled English muffin and a scone for 1 RMB), wonton soup in a seafood broth (3 RMB), pork kebabs (5 jiao), beef kebabs (5 jiao), and grilled octopus kebabs (5 jiao).  The three of us that usually went as a group could eat until we couldn’t move for under 15 RMB per person.  This place is extremely dirty looking and you may be resistant to eating here, but try it anyway.  None of us ever got sick here. Quite frankly, BBQ was substantially better to our weak American digestive systems than the OUC cafeterias were.  Eat here as soon as you can as many times as possible.  It is located directly behind campus, behind the student dormitories.  If you see a red Sinopec gas station, you are heading in the correct direction.  Walk behind the gas station and continue down the road about 50 feet.  It is located right next to a rather flashy and out of place internet café.

Generic Sichuan restaurant behind campus:

This was our favorite actual restaurants around campus.  It is relatively close to campus, just behind the dorms.  With the exception of one terrible waitress, everyone was very friendly and helpful.  Dishes were also pretty inexpensive.  This was our favorite place to take our graduate students to dinner as well.  We would advise you to do this as often as you can.  It was a great way to socialize with your graduate students and we had a great time whenever we did this.  We would always pay for our graduate students and it was still less than 40 RMB per REU/grad student pair.  Typically when we would come here on our own we would spend less about 20 RMB per person for more food than we could eat and also a few beers each.  Try to have at least one Chinese speaker with you at all times when you come here though, because there is no English spoken.  The menu is all in Chinese.  We would typically order by suggesting what type of dish we want (i.e. Pork, tofu, vegetables, soup, eggplant, etc.) and then asking what the waitress recommended.  Our favorite dish was definitely the eggplant (spicy and caramelized), but everything was usually very good here.  We usually tried to get a mixture of spicy and non-spicy dishes.  If you like tofu, it is very delicious here.

Front of BBQ Restaurant
Soup at BBQ Restaurant
Pork Kebabs at BBQ Restaurant
Kao Bing at BBQ Restaurant

Downtown Qingdao:


We advise that you eat a few of these delectable creatures throughout your trip.  They were available off Wangfujing street in Beijing and also in the Taidong district of Qingdao.  They are really crunchy and delicious. Plus, how many people can say that they’ve eaten live scorpions.  I was told by my grad student that the women who sell these head into the mountains at night, flip over rocks, and catch the scorpions with chopsticks. Look for these types of setups in the street when you want to try some scorpions:

Front of Sichuan Restaurant

Brenden, Grant, and Kendall eating scorpions (left to right)

Ladies who cooked the scorpions
Bucket of scorpions