China Travel Diary- Pt. I/V

I definitely did not want to travel across the Pacific Ocean without sharing with you all my journey, so here is a little travel diary of the adventures throughout my spring break trip to China. I didn’t have access to Blogger as it’s blocked in mainland China, so by the time you’re reading these, I’m already back! Although during my trip, I made sure to capture all the food and fun I encountered and wrote each day while the memories are fresh.
 
I go back to China to visit my family as often as I can, and when I was younger, I would pretty much spend my whole summer there. My mom’s side of the family- my grandparents (PopoGonggong), aunt (Aunt Gina), uncle (Uncle Chubs), little cousin (Harry)- all live in Zhongshan (中山), and that’s where and who I spent my childhood with. Unfortunately, with the increasing responsibilities of school in each approaching year, I cannot spare as much time off from studying. This year, I went back for a quick 10 day trip. It wasn’t a very long stay, but that only made me treasure every precious moment I had with my family even more. I hope you all had a wonderful, relaxing break if you had one, and now let’s roll back the tape to the beginning of mine.. (: 
 

———- 

 

Day 1 (March 9th)

 
I forgot to mention that I travelled alone this year, and its actually my third time doing so. With that, the biggest struggle I have is usually with boredom. My flight from Vancouver was at 2am, which first went to the Hong Kong airport, where I transferred to Guangzhou.

 

 

I was seriously so impressed with Cathay Pacific‘s food. The last two times I went back, I travelled with China Southern, for direct flights to Guangzhou. However, my parents couldn’t find the right time for Southern this year, so we selected Cathay Pacific instead. 
 

 

There’s a cute little menu they hand out after takeoff, and the first meal comes within an hour or so. I didn’t know when the meals were and I was so sleepy, you can’t miss out on plane food though. Yes, sometimes it sucks.. but I just can’t justify spending additional money when the plane tickets are already so expensive LOL you gotta take the whole package! 
 
I wanted the butternut pasta because beef in oyster sauce sounded typical, and there was already salmon in the appetizer and I didn’t want the main to be the same.. Unfortunately, they ran out, so I picked the salmon because well I do like salmon anyways. 
 

 

For appetizer, there was a smoked salmon quinoa salad, with a big round cherry tomato and bits of bell peppers, dressed in some sort of vinaigrette. The main has baked salmon with an olive tapenade, steamed veggies {green peas, lima beans, carrots} and a spinach mashed potato. Obviously, these are prepped airplane meals, so they’re not wowing, but I like their effort in making their meals somewhat interesting, and not just the typical meat + rice/potato combo. 

 

I watched Paddington, The Imitation Game, and Mockingjay. The movies that were available were actually all relatively new!

 
Going back to enjoying the whole package thing, I learned to not shy away from asking the flight attendants for assistance in anything. I’m talking about those extra blankets if you’re cold, and in my case, lots and lots of water because it’s extremely stuffy in the plane and its important to stay hydrated. My skin always breaks out after long distance flights.. ><
 

 

Cathay Pacific also had this little area where you could pick up drinks and snacks like candy, chips.. I wanted to finish the stuff I brought first so I only grabbed an apple. And helped myself with even more H2O LOL.  





Prior to landing, breakfast was served. I picked the wild mushroom omelette meal, which has mushroom sauce,roasted potatoes, pork sausages, and tomato with basil and Parmesan. The set comes with fresh fruits, strawberry yogurt, and a bread roll with strawberry jam and butter too. 

 
Hello Hong Kong!
 
I had merely half an hour to transition to my next flight, which happened to be miles away from where I landed. Guess I got a good workout speedwalking across the airport hahah. 



 

Once we boarded the plane, they gave us some black tea cookies too. My throat was dry but I was hungry so I had a bit of those. 
 
Flying from Hong Kong to Guangzhou takes less than an hour. Before I started eating my second cookie in the pack, the announcement for landing was already on LOL. 


Look at that pollution. xD
 
Zhongshan is not too far from Guangzhou, and Uncle Chubs and Aunt Gina used to meet up with me at the airport and we would transit back via either the train or bus.  A couple of years ago, they build a new highway which made it a convenient 1.5 hour drive. Like last year, Uncle Chubs and Aunt Gina came to pick me up by car. 

 

 
Good things never come easy. Before all the fun starts, there are some dreadful stuff you have to go through. Same goes for vacationing in China. First is the luggage waiting. Second is trying to connect to the local network. Third is the adjustment to highly polluted air. I think that’s about it. 
 
Finally arrived in Zhongshan at 1pm! The town within Zhongshan that I live in is Shiqi. (石岐). We were all starving by then and Aunt Gina suggested this restaurant specializing in Northeastern Chinese food. It’s not a cuisine I’m familiar with and I was down to try out something different! 
 
Fried sweet and sour fish (松子鱼).
 
Stir-fry lamb wraps (羊肉薄饼).
 
Sesame purple yam cakes (芝麻紫薯). 


Out of everything, I liked the spicy vermicelli with minced pork and veggies (“ants crawling up the tree”, 蚂蚁上树) the best. It also happens to be spiciest dish. Mmm I do love me some heat. c: 


The candied sweet potatoes (拔丝地瓜) were uber cool. There’s a sticky pile of potatoes, and you’re supposed to pull a piece out and quickly dunk it into cold water. The sugar then hardens to form a crunchy, caramelized effect. Although it was a fun to play around with, it was just wayyy too sweet. 


Complimentary sweet soup (糖水)



Hearty meal, lots of leftovers. 😛

 

In the afternoon after unpacking at home, my aunt and uncle brought me around to go shopping. I didn’t buy much, just a whole bunch of Pocky that my friends had requested LOL. I’m incredibly thankful for them for setting time aside from their usual schedule to keep me company for the entire day.
 
We had a typical but heartwarming dinner of bok choy, soy sauce chicken (豉油鸡), pan-fried eels and my favourite steamed Bombay duck (九吐鱼). It baffles me how the “duck” part of the name came about, but this particular breed cannot be found in Canada. 




I tried my best to fight jetlag and stay awake. My goal was 9pm and as I am writing this my eyelids are drooping down uncontrollably.. ._. 
 

***

 

Day 2 (March 10th)

 
The day started off with waiting for my family to wake up LOL. Well, Harry left for school super early in the morning, but everyone else was still resting. I was only awake because I had trouble sleeping in a foreign bed haha. 

 

 
After Aunt Gina woke up, she took me out for breakfast. We went to this nearby joint for congee and steamed rice rolls, mmm! I got a bowl of dried oyster black moss (“fat choy”) congee (发菜蚝豉粥) and some steamed rice rolls with egg (鲜蛋拉布粉). The rice rolls were served in soy sauce and I made sure to load up on the hot sauce too hehe. 

 


Aunt Gina had some errands to run, but Uncle Chubs woke up then and took me out again! We went to a stationery store first because I wanted to buy erasers LOL then headed to the movie theatre. 
 
Before movies, we stopped by for some bubble waffles! (鸡蛋仔)

 
We watched Jupiter Ascending in IMAX. Not really my genre for movies but Uncle Chubs wanted to watch it, and I was sold by the cast. I mean Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis.. enough said. 


 I thought the theatre was pretty, LOL..
 

 

We decided to eat a nutritious meal of KFC! Haha the thing is, I hardly ever eat fast food back at home but KFC is always on my list when I’m in China. Why? They have so much on the menu in Chinese KFCs.. like congee, bubble tea, a bunch of wraps.. On the other hand, KFC in Canada pretty much only has chicken. Same goes for a lot of other fast food chains that expand in Asia! 

 

My go-to at KFC is always the mashed potato (土豆泥) and icecream topped iced coffee (雪顶咖啡). We also got fries, spicy fried chicken (香辣鸡翅), and my uncle ordered a Beijing styled chicken wrap (北京鸡肉卷). I reached my maximum capacity for processed & fried food here ahaha. 
 
Uncle Chubs had to go to work so I just went home to get some homework done.. Here was the yummy dinner that followed. 
  Romaine lettuce

 

Steamed shiitake pork cake (冬菇猪肉饼)
 
Steamed grass carp (鲩鱼)



Mixed mushroom pork soup (鲜菇瘦肉汤). 
 
When Uncle Chubs got off work, he took me out again for yes, more food! First off though, we dropped by our franchised lottery station for closing.

 

Yes, we (Gonggong is in charge!) run a lottery station, isn’t that cool LOL.
 

 

Then, we went for barbecue, as our midnight snack (宵夜). It would’ve been more fun if more people came, but everyone rejected us for sleep. Pftt, sleep, who needs that when you have food? 😛

 

We were at this self-serving place which has a little grill for you to play around with. The skewers are pre-seasoned by the kitchen, so all there is left to do is to cook, add any additional seasonings (cumin, pepper, BBQ sauce), and devour. 

 

Lamb kebabs, Taiwanese sausages.
 
Some side dishes we got were spicy garlic oysters, grilled eggplant and crispy fried tofu.
 
What a fun way to end the night! And Uncle Chubs said he would take me out for more midnight snacks before I left. c: 
 

———-

 
<3,
Rae
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