Is Food Better Quality In Ireland Or In Mexico?

Ireland is known for it’s high quality of food, and of course when you have lived there all your life you don’t really realise or appreciate the quality. I suppose I only realised this when I lived in China and Mexico!

With regards to the food between Mexico and Ireland, I’ve began to realise which foods are better quality in Ireland than here.

Dairy– Ireland Wins

Dairy is of a much higher quality in Ireland than Mexico. The butter in Mexico really doesn’t have any flavour, it’s very hard, and I feel it’s more like margarine than butter. In Ireland it has a really rich flavour and is very creamy. Now I’m very fussy with butter, I will only eat it once it’s completely melted on something, if there is a small blob that hasn’t melted then I won’t eat that bit. I don’t know why, I just don’t like the texture or the coldness of it when it’s not melted. Once it’s completely melted though I will eat it no problem!

Once my nephew got his spoon, stuck it into the butter, took out a huge glob of it…… and put it into his mouth.

I was absolutely disgusted and I felt sick just looking at all that butter in his mouth. We asked him “Is that nice?” and he replied through a mouth full of butter “Yeah”.

DairyGold_Butter

Dairygold Butter is the staple found in every Irish household

Not only is the butter better, but also milk in general is better. It’s more creamy than in Mexico. In Mexico it’s watery and doesn’t have much flavour.

For cheese, I think Mexico and Ireland are the same. Mexico makes some nice cheese; it’s different to Ireland but it’s still nice.

Meat– Ireland Wins

I have to go with Ireland for this one too. In Ireland there are butcher shops everywhere and they are usually family run. They sell all types of meat and again are of a very high quality. In Mexico I don’t think I’ve seen a butchers shop like the ones in Ireland!

In Ireland, if you wanted to make hamburgers, you would go and buy the patties that the butcher made themselves in store. They are fresh and you know the meat will be of good quality. However in Mexico I’ve seen most meat patties are frozen and prepackaged from a  company.

I feel ham is also better in Ireland. There’s just more flavour to them.

Lastly one thing I miss in Ireland are the sausages! I love the sausages in Ireland, and I’m really not fussed on the ones found here in Mexico. I can’t even consider them ‘sausages’ really! Now I might be totally wrong and there are flavourful sausages from Mexico, but from what I’ve seen these are very popular here.

mini hotdog isolated

Sausage commonly found in Mexico (source google)

how-to-cook-a-sausage

Irish sausage (source google)

Bread– Ireland (yet again)

Again, the bread is just superior than in Mexico. Irish people LOVE their bread, so it’s no wonder we make so many different types of it. When there was really bad weather in Ireland last year during the winter, there was a shortage of bread!

feckin

Source google

Now I’m not saying that there are no nice breads in Mexico, there are.  . I like the baguettes and things like that, but for everyday bread to make sandwiches with and to toast, it’s just too sweet. I’m pretty sure it’s exactly like American bread. Chinese bread was the same and I never ate it. My husband is adamant that “No, it’s not sweet at all”. But it really is. The only time I eat it is when it’s toasted. Plus it doesn’t go off for like 1 month! Like how is that even possible?! In Ireland bread starts to go mouldy after a few days! I really miss bread from Ireland.

Potatoes– You guessed it!

The potatoes are fine in Mexico, but there are really only 3 types; big ones, small ones and sweet potatoes. The potatoes you find in Mexico are what we call in Ireland ‘waxy potatoes’. They are perfect for boiling and making chips, but you can’t make them into mashed potatoes. These are called ‘Floury potatoes’ in Ireland, because when you cut into them they are dry and sort of floury like. These are perfect for making mashed potato. We have a saying in Ireland that floury potatoes are like “balls of flour”.

Incidentally sweet potatoes aren’t very popular in Ireland at all. I think maybe because they were never eaten in Ireland in the past, and also because we already have a huge variety of potatoes, we never really got used to eating it. I know it’s slowly getting more popular though, but my Mam never used them.

 

Fruit– MEXICO!

Mexico has 1 point! Fruit is much much much nicer than Ireland, it’s cheap and fresh, whereas in Ireland it’s too expensive!

I’m in love with the mangos here and there are different types which I never knew. They also have different varieties of bananas. The fruit tastes very flavourful and they definitely have more types than Ireland.

Vegetables– Ireland and Mexico

I like the veg both in Ireland and Mexico, however Ireland does have more variety. They have brussel sprouts, turnips and other types. Also the cabbage is much better in Ireland. But I’ll give Mexico another point!

cabbage

I used to hate cabbage as a child, but now I love it (source google)

I’ve realised this was a very one sided blog! I’m not bashing the food in Mexico at all, but when you’ve grown up in a country famous for it’s quality of home grown food, you really can taste the difference from other countries.

China I feel has the worst quality of food, I heard that in some restaurants, people would order rabbit and the restaurant would give them rat instead. Just take away the rabbit head and people wouldn’t know the difference!

I could do a whole blog about the food in China and how it’s not regulated, but I’ll save that for maybe another time!

(PS) my husband thought it was too one-sided, so to make him happy, here are few more foods that Mexico is better at.

Beans– Mexicans love their beans and there are loads of different types. I’m personally fed up of beans now though. In Ireland we just have the sweet beans in tomato sauce, so Mexico definitely beats Ireland with that.

beans

One type of Mexican beans (source google)

Corn– again Mexico loves corn, in Ireland we rarely eat it. In Mexico they use corn for tortillas. Again I’m pretty fed up of eating tortillas nearly everyday. I also prefer the flour ones; I feel the corn ones are too filling, they are harder to chew, and  when I eat with them, all I taste is the tortilla and none of the filling.

corn

corn tortillas (source google)

 

Aisling

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Back Home: My Thoughts

I’ve been home for nearly 1 month now, and it’s the first time in a long time that I didn’t have to think about going back to China. Being home this time round has made me realise some things…

The first is that I don’t actually miss China as much as I thought. Of course I miss my independent lifestyle, my apartment and the transport, but I thought I would miss it much more! Since arriving home, I’m enjoying the colder weather and that I don’t sweat at all now, I’m enjoying my Mum’s food. I like being with my Mum and Dad at home, and I feel I’ve a better relationship with them now than when I left for China 5 years ago. I suppose I’ve matured more.

The second is that I would like to live closer to the family. I’ve been missing my nephews grow up and I know that the next time I see them they’ll be completely different. They won’t be the nephews that I have in my mind 1 year ago. They’ll be brand new boys to me. Also Mum and Dad aren’t getting any younger so that’s another reason.

I know one thing though…. I wouldn’t be able to settle down in my hometown. It’s too quiet, too small, and absolutely nothing happens here. So that’s one thing that I know.

We are moving to Mexico soon so I can learn Spanish, and I kind of have mixed feelings about. I really want to go and learn Spanish, but then at the same time I feel like we are back to square one, and that we’ll always be feeling in limbo. I have no idea where we are going to settle down, and it stresses me out. We can’t buy this or buy that because we’ll have to bring it with us when we move.

We would love a dog but we just can’t at the moment as we have no idea where we are going to be living.

So it’s nice to be home, but at the same time, I’m in limbo!

Aisling

What To Prepare For Japan

Because we can’t speak Japanese and it was our first time in the country, we prepared some things to make our travels that little bit easier!

JR Travel Pass

japan-rail-pass-worth-it

Source: google

This has been so useful for travelling. We bought them online and then after we arrived in Haneda airport we went to an area where they will give us our pass. This allows us to travel on certain trains as we have already prepaid for it. We never used busses while in Japan, only relying on walking, taking the metro or trains. This pass doesn’t cover metros, so you’ll have to learn how to buy tickets for those. We were unsure whether it would be worth it, but we actually used the JR trains quite a lot, sometimes 4 times a day. And it’s very handy just showing the pass to the employees and they just wave us through instead of having to buy a ticket every single time. It’s expensive but really worth it!

A Wifi Device

We heard that it’s very hard to find free wifi in Japan, so we decided to buy a wifi device and that is our wifi for wherever we go! When we were lost, we simply turned it on and then we could figure out where we were . It’s very handy when you need to use google maps or search for restaurants nearby or whatever. We collected ours at the airport and then when we were finished we put it in a post box in the airport when we arrived back. The website we used for this is: Sakura Wifi Device

Plenty of bottles of water

As we arrived during a heatwave, I’m pretty sure we spent most of our money on buying bottles of water! But I would recommend maybe buying a flask or something so you can refill it. We had ours but we didn’t use it as much because they did become heavy with all the water! But yes, if you arrive during the summer you should expect to drink tonnes of water… and spend lots of money on it too!

Food

Since booking our flights, I had  been worrying about the food in Japan, that they only eat fish and sushi……

But when we arrived, we actually found out that they eat lots more than just those! For one thing, they really enjoy curry, and they have quite a few places that do curries. Also, Japan is famous for ramen, and it actually is delicious! I can honestly say that I never had one bad tasting thing in Japan. Everything was so nice! And I don’t like sushi! So if you are worried about the food, don’t be….. it really is more varied than you think!

Restaurants

As we knew Japan is very expensive, we found 3 restaurants that were cheaper than others, and all 3 of them were really good!

  1. Yoshinoya
  2. Sukiya
  3. Coco’s Curry House

We visited Yoshinoya more than the others as it was just more common to see. We went to Coco’s Curry House only once but we were hoping to find another one to go to! So if you want to go for cheap food, head to one of these…. cheap but delicious!

I’m pretty sure that all of them have an English menu so it wasn’t difficult to order food.

Japan is such an easy country to travel to, but it’s just good to prepare for everywhere you go, such as for trains and what not. They leave on the dot and they certainly won’t wait for you! And if you’re stuck, a Japanese person will try their best to help you!

Aisling

What Was The Most Difficult Part Of Our Trip To Japan?

Although we loved our trip to Japan, there were two things that proved very difficult for us while there!

  1. Our bags!

Our bags caused us a lot of difficulties for us while in Japan. Not only in Japan but also while we were in Shanghai, they were difficult to lug around with us. We both had 50/60 litre backpacks, I had another smaller backpack, while my fiancé had a smaller backpack and a laptop case…. so he was carrying 3 big bags with him!

Never mind that, the worst thing about it was that most of the things that were in my bag I couldn’t even wear! I had two jumpers (because I naively thought it would be cold in the mountains in Japan) and just thick t-shirts and things that I couldn’t wear, mainly because it was just too hot. So out of all the things in my backpack I had about 6/7 t-shirts that I wore. The rest were sitting at the bottom of my bag.

When we were sending our big box home, we couldn’t fit everything into it, so we just had to bring whatever things we had left with us in our backpacks. So that was quite annoying! I had to throw away a few t-shirts and that while in Shanghai just so I could try and make it lighter. It was very heavy for me.

And then, while in Tokyo…. my backpack decided it had enough and broke: 1 slit at the bottom of it appeared, and then another 2 at the top. So that was it for my backpack! I’ve had it for 7 years so it’s quite old, but that meant our last day in Tokyo was spent looking for another one for me. Unfortunately in Japan they rarely use backpacks, instead using suitcases. I picked up a decent one in the city which fits all my things plus more! No more back pain!

So yeah, it was a struggle with our bags, but thankfully I think my body got used to the weight and it slowly got easier as the trip went on. Now in Hong Kong, I just have my suitcase and my small backpack, so it’s a bit easier now!

2. The heat!

When we arrived in Japan we noticed the weather was unbearably hot! I knew it was going to be hot, but not that hot!! Little did we know, we arrived in Japan in the middle of a heatwave!! We were talking to a few people that live there and they said it’s too hot this July, and that it isn’t until August that it gets this hot. They said that the summers seem to be started earlier and earlier. (There’s global warming in action).

Everyone was sweating; men, women, kids…… everyone. It wasn’t humid, it was just so dry and there was no rain for 14 days while we were there. Plus the sun was just so hot! Everyone struggled with the heat. So the heat, plus our huge bags made for us being VERY sweaty…..everyday.

It was tough!

Apart from that, everything else was a breeze! Really! Japan is such a friendly place for foreigners and it’s very easy to travel around. Yes it is expensive but if you find some cheap restaurants to eat at it’s fine.

Aisling

Our 2 Week Itinerary: Japan

Having absolutely loved our time in Japan, we really really wish we stayed for more than 2 weeks! Here was our itinerary for our time there.

3 Nights: Tokyo

4 Nights: Kyoto

2 Nights: Osaka

1 Night: Koyasan

3 Nights: Tokyo

For our last night in Tokyo, our flight wasn’t until 1am the following morning, meaning we had a full day to spend in Tokyo and we didn’t need to pay for another night.

With Tokyo, there’s so much to see and do, and with many places outside Tokyo to visit, you would need about a week or more just for this area. There are loads of towns outside the city that we didn’t have time to visit.

Moving to all these places was really easy, we just used either the bullet trains or normal trains. We didn’t need to use public busses once while there! From Tokyo to Kyoto took around 3 hours by bullet train. Kyoto to Osaka literally took 15 minutes by bullet train! It was very handy to get to these two cities! Koyasan is a small buddhist town on the top of some mountains, it’s gorgeous and we loved it. We stayed in a buddhist temple for one night. From Osaka we had to take a metro to the train station, then a train to the bottom of the mountain (the views were beautiful!). Then we had to take a funicular (really cool) to the top of the mountain, and then a bus to where we were staying. That was the hardest trip as we had a lot of travelling with our heavy bags!

During our stay we also went on some small day trips. While in Kyoto, we spent a day at Nara, a town with DEERS!! You can actually touch them and feed them! They are beautiful animals, but once they see that you have food they swarm all over you and nip at your clothes to get your attention. They have also learned to bow, so when you bow, then they will bow, then you give them the food. It’s so cute to see!

During our stay in Tokyo, we visited a seaside town called Kamakura. It’s a pretty town with temples and things, and we spent half a day there. it was a bit busy as it’s also a popular spot for Japanese people to visit!

We also visited Nikko, an area famous for lots of shrines! It’s a very pretty place surrounded by really tall trees, so we got plenty of nice photos of the shrines! The town itself is tiny but it’s also very quiet!

We absolutely loved our time in Japan: the people are just so polite, the transport is great, I loved all the food there,  everything is organised, and it was just a really cool country to travel to. We are already contemplating visiting again as we’d love to visit the north of the country. We were blown away by it. We reckon it’s our favourite country we have visited.

And we miss it already!

Aisling

I’m Really Liking Tokyo

We’ve been in Tokyo 2 full days now, and we are really really enjoying it! The city is great! We’ve been to a few big cities, and of course Tokyo is huge, but I feel it doesn’t feel as crowded as other places we’ve been to. We got a real culture shock when we just arrived, but now we are getting to used it.

The weather is HOT, the food is delicious, and the people are so polite. The city is spotless, the drivers are courteous, and literally everything is organised and on time. This is the complete opposite of Chengdu, where nothing is organised.

It really is a unique city, and we’ve been enjoying walking around and not being bumped into, walking in spit and not being constantly stared at.

We’ve been walking tonnes so my legs need a break, and the sun was very strong today so I got burnt (what a surprise there). I think my body is also slowly getting used to constantly being on the go which is good!

We are heading to Kyoto and Osaka so we’ll look forward to seeing what it’s like in those cities!

Aisling

Oh So Very Soon

The time for leaving is rapidly approaching and I’m enjoying my last days in Chengdu. Thankfully we have been preparing to leave for a while, so we’ve pretty much everything sorted. We are doing exams next week, so then we will need to submit the grades to the school, print out some things for our principal to sign and change more money from Chinese yuan to Euro and Japanese Yen, and that’s really pretty much it!

Yesterday we went to our favourite Western restaurant to have our usual burgers. This place is called ‘Red Beard Burgers’ and the burgers are delicious! We usually go there for a special occasion, such as for a birthday.

Unfortunately however we found out that he’s actually closing in a months time; the people in the apartments upstairs have been complaining that their apartments smell like hamburgers all the time, and then of course they got the authorities involved and now he has to close up. It’s such a shame because he always got business and his burgers are really really good. He can’t object or anything because of course he’s a foreigner and we’ve no rights here at all. So there’s nothing he can do.

It’s always us against Chinese people here, and you don’t need to think hard about who will always win.

So when we found out he was closing, we said “Yes, now it’s definitely time to leave China” We were going to miss the restaurant a lot when we left, but now we just feel it’s another hint for us to go. The owner said to us that he’s going to go back to his country and start a new adventure, so I suppose thats the same for us! A new adventure!

We’re going to try and go one last time for a burger, we won’t be getting one ever again! ‘Sniff’

We know we are leaving China for good, but I don’t think it’ll hit us until we get back to Ireland and we won’t have a return ticket. Instead we’ll be going the complete opposite way from China….Mexico!

There are a few things I want to buy when we start our new chapter:

  1. A dog. We both really want a dog, but we just couldn’t get one here. We knew we were always going to leave, so we didn’t want more hassle having a dog with us. Plus it wouldn’t be very fair on it either. We might get one in Mexico, maybe, but again we don’t know how long we’ll be there for. So that’s the problem (still).
  2. Weighing Scales. We plan on buying some weighing scales so we can keep an eye on our weight. we don’t have one here, so it was very difficult to see how fat we were getting!
  3. Coffee maker/ press. I enjoy drinking coffee and I know they have good coffee in Mexico, so I want to buy a good coffee maker or a coffee press thing.
  4. PS4. Both me and my fiancé want to buy this for ourselves. That could be our big treat for ourselves!
  5. Instant Pot. I hate cooking and I think this would help me a lot when I start to learn. It’s a basic skill to have but yet I’ve survived 28 years without it. But now I feel I need to start learning, and I really want to enjoy cooking and be able to cook great food…. so I’m going to try once I leave China.

God knows if I’ll get any of these things…… we might be broke by the time we get to Mexico and not be able to afford anything!

Another thing is that we’ve always been in limbo in China, so we’ve never bought anything for future use. Things we bought were always for the ‘here and now’. That’s the problem of living in limbo.

We’ll try not to live in limbo in Mexico though!

Aisling