In my recent holiday to Malaysia, I decided to travel, in addition to visiting my family.
My trip to China starts very early in the morning. My sister and I arrive at the airport 4.30 am.
We fly from Kualal Lumpur and reach Guilin, the capital city of Hunan province in South central part of China.
Upon arrival we are welcome by the local guide Peter, who speaks excellent English with a Northern American accent. According to Peter, autumn is the best time to visit – that means us now. Peter is a good guide and explains the history, culture and the environment. He is very informative.
We then travel by bus to YANGSHUO which is another county. We proceed to lunch in the hotel. Lunch is interesting as we have a typical lunch of that area. It consists:
Glutinous rice in bamboo. The bamboo rice is like a small tube filled with glutinous rice flavoured with bits of ham and beans. It is then wrapped in bamboo leaves. The rice is flavourful due to the wrapping and the bits of meat and other flavourings. It is somewhat like our Malaysian Lemang, which is rice cooked in bamboo flavoured with coconut milk and banana leaves are used to line the bamboo.
Greens are stir fried local chives. It is bigger and the leaves are broader. It is fried with yam (taro) strips.
There is also fried cucumber with pork. This is somewhat like the fried cucumber dish that we have in our Nyonya cuisine. Our fried cucumber is sour with the addition of vinegar and some sugar. Whereas, this is like a normal stir fry.
There is roast duck, which is a bit on the lean side in the sense that there is little meat or fat. The taste is so-so. In fact the duck is a bit tough. I suppose the duck is village duck, which means it is organic. ( well, I am just trying to be positive.)
Next we have tofu cooked in a hot sauce. The sauce is made from fermented beans and chilli and has a distinct flavour and aroma. It is an acquired taste.
Next is crispy fried shrimps in garlic, spring onions and ginger.
The shrimps are deep fried and coated with a sauce made with the famous ( I later found this out further in the tour) fermented sauce. It it delicious and very crispy.
The next dish is fish wrapped in foil. The fish is fried first, and then topped with the sauce before being wrapped. The sauce is somewhat like a sweet sour sauce, but less sweet. It has the pickled vegetable taste and aroma. It is not the best tasting dish. The fish smells a bit ‘muddy as it is a river fish.
It seems Guilin is famous for its pickled chilis and an array of pickled stuff. There is pickled chillies in most things. It is an acquired taste. It has a heavy fermented smell.
After lunch we proceed to visit a minority village. Minority means the indigenous people. There are about 4 groups of indigenous people in this area. We are taken to their village, which is built to show the tourists, meaning, man-made. This place, Shiwai Taoyuan, is a beautiful scenic spot, also known as Shangri-la.
On arrival we were briefed about the minorities and their customs. We partake in a ball throwing ceremony where the bride throws several balls to the people below the house (us) and anyone who catches the ball gets good luck. I did not manage to catch any.
Then we proceed further in the court yard and there is a show on how the villagers spend their spare time after harvesting or in between traditional tasks like planting and taking care of the crops. There is singing and dancing to traditional songs. We have a go at that, too.
We then we go on a river ride. It is very serene and relaxing. We pass by the beautiful grass and plants. Guilin is a lime stone area and the lakes and rivers a beautiful.
After the river cruise we go back to the hotel and unpack, have dinner and it is our free time to walk around the city.
To be continued…. the city is quite different.
For the time being, that’s all. Please like and share this blog post by sharing the link.