Food Is Cheap In China

Today, we found the Muslim quarter in Xi’an, which is located just northwest of the Bell Tower. The Muslim quarter is several blocks long and lined with many street-food vendors and market-type shops hawking imitation terracotta warriors, tea sets, Chinese clothing, etc. We bought some Chinese sweets for 5RMB (less than $1US) and then had steamed lamb dumplings and spicy cold noodles. Lunch cost 18RMB (less than $3US for two people) and we were stuffed.

Depending on where you eat here, food is very very cheap from an American perspective. We’ve had Mexican food in Beijing and paid 193RMB. That was the most expensive meal to date, which is probably equal to a reasonably priced meal at a sit-down restaurant in the US. A large Pizza Hut pizza and two soft drinks cost 100RMB (about $15US). McDonald’s was not as cheap as I would have anticipated. For a cheeseburger meal and a McNugget meal, it cost about 47RMB (about $7US). Still not bad.

Today, we had Tall Iced Chocolate drinks at Starbucks after lunch, which cost 42RMB. This seemed shockingly expensive after only paying 18RMB for lunch. But… but… but… in the 95* heat and humidity and without a proper dessert in site for weeks, they were very good.


Lately I’ve been trying to decrease my caffeine intake. Most days I drink 20oz of coffee, and I usually drink 30 to 35oz one or two days a week. I’ve only been counting my liquid caffeine, so anything I get from chocolate, etc. is unrecorded. Also, the 20oz limit is a bit misleading because 8oz of coffee has about 135mg of caffeine while 12oz of soda only has about 40mg.

I definitely notice the difference between Starbucks coffee (about 440mg per 12oz), or an excessive amount (over 20oz) of caffeinated beverage now that I’ve cut back. Although I don’t feel like I’m sleeping significantly better, it is easier to fall asleep earlier or more quickly. I haven’t noticed many other benefits.