China Travel Diary- II/ V

If you haven’t read it yet, here is Part I of the series! 

Day 3

 
The rain was real today.. at least tomorrow’s forecast calls for sun! I had a full 7 hours of sleep last night, and woke up to find that Aunt Gina has already left for breakfast. When Uncle Chubs got up, we went ahead and joined her with her friends.


Breakfast this morning was at Cafe de Coral, a popular chain restaurant originating in Hong Kong. These cafe styled restaurants are known as “tea restaurants” (茶餐厅). I ordered a Hong Kong classic, pineapple bun stuffed with thick slabs of butter (菠萝油), how nutritious eh? Haha don’t worry, I didn’t use nearly as much butter as what was given. 


Along with that, the combo meal comes with scrambled egg, a bowl of beef and tomato macaroni (茄汁牛肉通粉), and milk tea.

Uncle Chubs ordered a bread roll with butter, and a ham and corn macaroni. Props to him for chowing down the majority of my macaroni that I couldn’t finish. xD 

Lunch was just some leftovers last night’s dinner.

 

Since it was raining and Uncle Chubs had to take the car out for work, I couldn’t go anywhere with my aunt.. motorcycling in the rain is basically asking for a cold. Anyways, so I stayed home and got some homework done.
 
I didn’t have trouble finding delicious food when I got hungry though. 😛 Popo saved me some “year cake” (“nian gao”, 年糕) from Chinese New Year, and I also had one of my favourite Chinese sweets, “gold cake” (黄金糕), which comprises of egg yolks, coconut syrup, potato starch, and sugar.

I heated these pre-made ones from the supermarket in the microwave because it’s rare to find them at dimsum restaurants now.. but they are usually steamed or pan-fried.

 
The “year cake”, if you recall from my CNY post earlier, is a sticky rice cake served for the spring festival. During the holiday, my friend J baked us some coconut ones, but here is the traditional version made with dates and preserved egg yolks. (: 

 

Dinner time! Besides finishing up some more leftovers, we also had stir-fry abalone with scallions (葱爆小鲍鱼), yum-meee! 

 

For midnight snack tonight, I was super indecisive. And I was pretty hungry too, so I wanted to eat the whole world. I started off wanting sweets, and very specifically black sesame soup (芝麻糊), which is quite funny because I don’t think I’ve ever had it before LOL say what now. Anyways, it was hard to find dessert shops opened at this hour, so my uncle had to drive all around town looking for one. Ahaha this is why I love my family. ❤ 

Uncle Chubs ordered a red bean tofu pudding (红豆豆腐花).

 
After dessert, I craved for something spicy. And I mean SPICYYYY. I love spicy food but I’ve never had a craving so huge. So my awesome Uncle Chubs, helplessly took me to a place that sells Malatang (麻辣烫). This is a popular street food from Beijing, where you select a number of ingredients on skewers, cooked in a spicy broth. I believe this was my first time eating this but wowie it was wonderful! I felt so bad because I sorta figured out halfway that Uncle Chubs can’t exactly tolerate heat.. judging from how much he was sweating.. He should’ve told me!! Again, the reason I love my family. (;

Malatang with napa cabbage, enoki, ink cap mushrooms, daikon, and tofu puffs.. all hidden under the cabbage though. 
You guys might be disgusted to hear this, but this is spicy beef offal (牛杂). Believe me though when I say that Chinese food can get worst. 😛 (Or shall I say, better!) 

 

Two full bellies after, we drove back home, got unready, and went to bed for the energy needed in another day’s worth of good food and fun.

 

***

Day 4

 
Yesterday’s weather forecast was a lie.. I was woken up by the sound of a massive storm at 5 in the morning.. thankfully it stopped when I got up again.
 
Aunt Gina was out and about so it was some uncle-niece bonding time again. We went to a small, nearby, family-owned store for some tasty noodles. 

 

This place only sells breakfast, and once they’re sold out, they’re sold out. We were a little late for breakfast today (around 9?), by then, all the rice noodles were gone!


I got a wonton noodle soup (云吞面), with wheat noodles, pork wontons and scallions, to which I added literally half the bottle of garlic hot sauce.. xD I would’ve added more but I felt a bit of shame ahahhaa.


My uncle got a dry beef brisket and wonton noodle bowl (云吞牛腩干面). The broth , which he had on the side, is made with beef and its completely full of flavour, mmm. 

 
He also took me to the mall/ supermarket to buy some souvenirs. Zhongshan specializes in these almond cookies (杏仁饼), so I bought a few packs to distribute among my family and friends.

 

For our lunch outing today, Aunt Gina, Uncle Chubs, and I went to a neighbouring town, Shaxi (沙溪). It’s a hidden gem tucked into a small village, and they sell lots of snack items here. Anything from congee, noodles, wonton, skewers, chicken wings, desserts..

We ordered shredded chicken mussel congee (鸡丝青口粥), which was accented with the heat from all sorts of peppers. 

Along with that, we ordered skewers of cabbage, fishballs, tofu puffs, tofu skins, and mushrooms. This is similar to the Malatang (麻辣烫) that we had for midnight snack last night, except these are served with different house sauces- curry, garlic, chilli. 

More pork wontons

 

We finished off with some tofu pudding desserts (豆腐花), this was the silkiest I’ve ever had before!

 

We arrived home to a sinful yet wonderful scent of deep fried goodness.. Turns out our maid (who I call “Big Aunt”- she’s been with us pretty much since I was born!) was making fried dumplings (煎堆). These are my ultimate favourite Chinese New Year treats and they’re made of a simple mixture of sticky rice flour, oil and sugar, coated with sesame seeds. To it, people add sweet or savoury fillings, or leave it hollow- the way I like it! Big Aunt made a whole batch of plain ones as well as ones with homemade red bean paste. I was already full from lunch but this stuff goes stale quickly.. it wasn’t possible resisting them freshly fried. xD 

 

Dinner tonight was stewed pork and kabocha pumpkin (南瓜焖猪肉), steamed Crucian carp (鲫鱼) and black pepper spare ribs (黑椒排骨).

 

Midnight snack was lighter tonight.. We had tortoise jelly (龟苓膏), which actually is a healthy, nourishing food in Chinese medicine. Supposedly, it helps with “cooling” the body when it’s too “heated” (上火), from eating too much oily, fried food.. Something about yin and yang.. Hard to explain… It sounded like a reasonable option for me, having eaten fried, oily stuff all day errrday. 😛 The real stuff is composed of grounded tortoise shells, as aversive as that sounds, and a bunch of other herbs, but most stores now make it with a cheaper powder alternative. Even though it’s more processed, a part of me is very thankful that I’m not just straight up consuming shells of innocent tortoises.. 

 

Sometimes it’s served with things like fruits, beans, honey, milk, and ours were drizzled with condensed milk.

 

<3,
Rae
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