Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Hangzhou and some challanging grub

Hangzhou is a city of circa 6 million and is famous throughout China as a place of outstanding natural beauty. The West Lake, which my hotel overlooked, is probably its most famous sight. When I was there the weather was hazy and humid.
The light was flat and grey and any pictures of note were beyond my ability. I had a couple of hours, walked a bit, sweat like a bovine and snapped away.
Here's the result.
Not a bad place and certainly greener than other places in China I've been, but somehow I expected it to be a bit more dramatic. I'd heard lots of advance press on the place and I suppose the weather contributed to the deflated reaction I had to this city of poets and artists.
I'm probably a bit jaded.
I attended a couple of dinners, and being a provincial capital, the food really made few allowances for a western palate.
One thing I noticed was there was no rice.
"Rice is the food of the poor" I was told and for big events isn't the "done" thing.
I like rice.
But as you all know I AM a man of the poor.
This strangely enough (given the reasoning above) is called "Beggars Chicken" and is a famous dish in the region. The story goes that it originated from the practice of poor people packing chickens in clay to cook in an open fire.
"It's cooked in dirt" I was told.
It doesn't look very nice as the flesh has a grey-ish tinge.
I can say it was tender to the point of falling off the bone with the touch of a chopstick.
The "touch of a chopstick".
I'm sooo in tune with the culture in the Middle Kingdom huh?
Gave this one a miss.and this one.
Duck tongues taste far easier than they look.
No I just couldn't.
That's it.
I'm back in HK and after a full day tomorrow, head back to the UK in the wee hours of Friday morning.
Sunday I'll head to Berlin after (I hope) a fun-filled weekend with my daughter.Have a great weekend everyone.


Kjell Tjensvoll said...

Apparently challenges also come in the form of food ...
I think I'm glad you didn't actually say what everything was :-)
Take care, Kjell

Anonymous said...

Location looks fab, food *utterly* terrifying, hope you have a great weekend with Jess.


Anonymous said...

brave man that tastes something that can taste him back! What on earth is the 'delicacy' shown in your final food photo?

Anonymous said...

Lisa - re last plate: at first I thought it was fried goldfish, but if you incline your head to the left, the grisly spectre of a chicken's head stares out at you, complete with beak and comb.

Not sure that I feel like having lunch now...


Anonymous said...

Good Lord you're right! I will never look at chicken the same way again and I certainly don't want it looking at me....

Anonymous said...

Not surprised you're jaded with that grub - where's your five a day?

Can't you start a rooftop allotment in HK?

I'm sure you've stacks of time to tend it. And it'll help put hairs on your chest.

J x