I'm diving off the deep end and heading to China in Oct. for 5 weeks... on a backpacker's budget.
I'm basically doing a figure 8 between Hong Kong and Beijing, stopping at various places along the twisty route (Xian, Shaghai, etc.).
Obvioulsy interested in cuisine. Not impressed with the international section of chowhound. But then again, after eating my way across Thailand & Laos last year, I'm cognizant of the fact that probably the best way to experience food in Asia is concentrating on regional tastes, not by particular restaurants... especially since the best food is often found at a corner stall, cooked by granny.
Then again, if anyone has any "don't miss" dining experiences, let me know. Otherwise, any bits of advice would be appreaciated. I did, for example, stop in Hong Kong on the way back last year and had a great dim sum-like dinner where I was even more impressed with their huge variety of teas (I still have the tea tasting menu). I also loved taking a cooking class in Chiang Mai (Thailand), where we went to the "farmer's market" to select our crop and then cooked 7-8 dishes back at the school. Yes it was somewhat touristy, but I can still smell the freshest of lemongrass hitting the pan...
So if you know of a market to hit, a dish to savor, or any other culinary experience to explore.. I'd love to hear from you.