Yangshou and Experiences with Chinese Food

It’s been an amazing few days in Yangshou. Yangshou is pretty much all about farming or tourism but it means the food is fresh, the mountain and field scenery is beautiful and there’s plenty of activities to do.

We’ve done so many activities in such a small amount of time and each one has been better than expected and extremely good value for money!

For example 15 of us chose to visit our tour guides home village. We got on a public bus, 45 min coach,.saw the scene that is portrayed on their 20 Chinese note. Then a mini bus trip to buy fresh vegetables for dinner then the mini buses took us to her house where we ate fruit and nuts grown by her family including a massive cooked dinner at her uncles house – all for £8!

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I won’t go into detail about the other activities but every day is something new and exciting so this week feels like months have flown by.

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The food is something to write home about. They eat cats and dogs here, they pretty much eat what they can to provide for their families and tourists. I did a Chinese cooking course where we got taken to a meat market, which was pretty much a slaughter house. WARNING If you are an animal lover or have pets I highly recommend you skip this paragraph. We saw cats, dogs and bunnies in cages. Then I saw how they slit their throats, blow torched them til crispy, then hung them up then began to chop them up to sell. All the other animals could see this and dogs were crying with fear, it was horrible.

The main thing I took from this market was how naive I felt about the process. They farm certain breeds of cats and stray dogs the same way we farm sheep, cows and pigs. Its food to them to survive and this is their work. We buy meat at supermarkets and don’t really think of the process it goes through and because it doesn’t have a head its as if it was never alive. It’s just interesting to think about. As a keen meat eater I was well and truly educated.

At the market we just purchased vegetables so we went back to class to start learning how to make the following:

– Sweet and sour pork
– Catfish
– Green beans

All of the above with a large selection of vegetables. Now usually at home as most of you know I have a silly food issue where I just can’t eat many types of food – mainly veg. But I don’t know what happened here… I was able to eat everything I made (bar one – spring onions). This has also carried on to dinner time meals! !It was difficult at first but the flavours here are so amazing and completely different to the Chinese we get in the UK. Its more fresh and less salty! I think whats helping me try new food is the the fact that at meal times you get a selection of meals to share with your group so if you don’t like it someone else will eat it and it’s not wasted.

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Hopefully I can keep this positive eating up for the foreseeable future!

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