Thursday, March 31, 2016

2016 Asia Mega Tour - China, The Food Pictures

Jumping Megapixels! Do you have any idea of how many pictures I actually took in China? I mean, we're still in Shanghai. But as I know there is a significant percentage of my VAST audience that is into 'food porn', I have decided to do a separate post on our eating in China.

Actually, if you can believe it, food was not a priority for this part of our trip. This was for a number of reasons. Partially it was because of us all getting sick prior to going there (to remind everyone, Wife and I got food poisoning or some other bug in Vietnam, while daughter #2 and son 2.3 got a very similar bug on school trip to Xian China and then transmitted that to the rest of her family). So none of us was terribly excited by eating to begin with plus we had lost two days of our trip between the illness and the flight delay so we were jamming more day trips into our time. Then we had the whole family with us in Beijing and that limits what we could do. And lastly when we ventured out, just the adults in Beijing, things were so far away (even though they seemed close by) and we had the hardest time getting taxis to understand where were going.

Nonetheless there were still was some real good eating done.

First Night in Shangahi
As I reported in an earlier post, air flight issues killed a whole day for us getting from Hong Kong to Shanghai. As a result we were dead tired and it was almost 10 PM on a Sunday night when we staggered out to find something to eat. We ended up in a place whose concept now recognize as taking the love of 'food on a stick' to another level.

Menu completely in Chinese
We find out our 'high priced' Pooh Lee Shah Travel guide only speaks...not reads...Chinese

 So we end up with not 'hot pot' which we thought we were getting but 'food on a stick' in a bowl of broth. It turned out to be good and nothing we saw again.



Real Nanjing Style
We made an attempt to research a place to eat in Nanjing and found good reviews for this chain that claimed lots of locals ate their and served the local style. Unfortunately after we got of the train and took the Metro to Sun Yat Sen Park we were far, far from any address we'd researched. As luck would have it there was a branch of the place literally a few hundred yards from the Metro exit!

Interior scene - a pretty wild place - we were the only 'long-nosed' folk there
 Dumplings
We had a version of soup dumplings which I didn't get a picture of and these pot stickers
Nanjing style soup noodles - the broth was beefy and much stronger than other varieties of soup noodles we had had or would have. This broth was the same in the soup dumplings.


A very nice fried fish and some sauteed greens


Eating Big in Beijing
2B had reached out to Embassy folks in Beijing who gave him a number of suggestions. One of these was for top flight Beijing Duck. I won't bore you with the ordeal we had trying to find the place but we were 45 minutes late for our reservation with two taxis dropping us off in different spots, us trying to find each other and the place.

Certainly a trip like that called for Chinese White Lightning
A very sympathetic maitre d insisted we needed the traditional peanuts with our alcohol


We had a sauteed eggplant, a braised fish, and some dry stir fried string beans 




And of course the main event, the duck





Traditional Beijing Cuisine


Okay I lied. The embassy folks raved about this pizza and we were hankering for something non-Asian

Maybe Our Best Meal In Beijing
We found this place right near our hotel. It was a cross between for locals and touristy. Ate their twice. This was not 'haut cuisine'. But it was rock solid, really good Chinese food...the kind you almost never get in the US and that we had troubles even getting here with our limited ability to read.

Ma Po Tofu (awesome) and stir fried shrimp
This was a great dish. After my cooking class in Hong Kong, I had a pretty good idea of how this dish was made because the chicken had been deep fried after marinating, and the boatload of chiles probably was added at the end with some hot oil poured over it because it was surprisingly not that incendiary.
This was a version of the dried fried green beans we had earlier but this one had a ton of garlic added to it.


Best dumplings of the trip
We'd had a number of very mediocre dumplings with overly think wrappers and bland fillings.
These were the opposite with very tender thin wrappers and delicious juicy filling.

Hand Pulled Noodles
We actually these twice, once in Shanghai and once in Beijing. They are a specialty of a part of Western China that is Muslim.

Hand pulling noodle making in action
video
Three samples of the soup noodles resulting
The first classic, the second with a spicy broth, the third enriched with chiles and pickled vegetables





Classic Beijing Street Food
Daughter #1 whose family is coming over in just a couple of days to visit in Hong Kong found this dish (whose name I sadly don't remember) on a YouTube video. We were on one of our frustrating attempts to find a restaurant when we passed a stall making these. #2 and I decided to play Gastrointestinal Roulette again.

It is made by making a crepe type thing with an egg broken over the top followed by some lettuce, a protein (chicken in our case) and some crispy cracker thing. It is then all folded up.

 
 Getting ready to dig in :)

AGGGGG Photo Bombed!!!!






2016 Asia Mega Tour - The China Video Spectacular

One of THE impressions we had in China is just sheer magnitude of things. I found that still pictures really didn't capture either the physical size of things or the mass of humanity. So here is a week and a half of our China trip in video.
At the Shanghai Railroad Station
video

At the park in Suzhou
video

I apologize that I held my phone wrong for this so you will have to look at it sideways but this is one of the coolest things we saw. The Chinese love food on a stick. This is actually a chain (we saw them in Shanghai too) that does the cooking to pop music. This would so work in the US!
video

Happily enjoying the 'off season' at the Sun Yat Sen Memorial in Nanjing
video

One lasting impression was the enjoyment of music and dancing in public parks through out the cities we visited
video

video

video

Panoramas of part of the Forbidden City in Beijing
video

video

Doing the Summer Palace in Beijing on a tranquil Sunday with a few fellow visitors
video

Great Wall of China Panorama
video



Wednesday, March 30, 2016

2016 Asia Mega Tour - Nanjing Photos

On our second day based in Shanghai we went to the Nanjing, the historic southern capital and capital of many of the historic Chinese dynasties. As has been the case with almost everything we've done on this trip, we only have time to scratch the surface of what there is to be seen everywhere we visit. In this case the slave drivers...I MEAN THE WONDERFUL TOUR GUIDES...of Pooh Lee Shah Travel focused on Sun Yat Sen Park, it's Ming Tombs and the Sun Yat Sen Memorial.

At Pooh Lee Shah Travel a Full Breakfast is offered with each Rail Trip
Ah, the Metro Map of Nanjing. We will use Metro to get to Sun Yat Sen Park
Our first part of the park was blissfully absent of people and glorious with early spring colors.








Oh silly long nosed tourist, you think that this is the 'real' experience of China?


Again the English doesn't accurately represent the real Chinese which says 'A million freakin miles and steps to get where you want to go!"


Everything you wanted to know about the Ming Tombs




On to the tombs themselves













Haven't done enough walking and climbing?
Then on to the Sun Yat Sen Memorial