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China for 2 weeks - March and April 2012

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Ni hao!

I recently came back from a business trip to China. Here are some pictures of the food I had, some places I visited and the description of each meal to the best of my habilities. I was lucky that the folks that were traveling with me like to eat too, some were native Chinese and as you can tell from the pictures adventurous eaters as well.

I landed in Shanghai and headed to Ningbo where I spent three days, from Ningbo I went to Hangzhou for a day and from there back to Shanghai for four days. The last stop of the trip was Shengzhen which is located two hours North of Hong Kong.

First dinner was at the rooftop of the Nanyuan Hotel in Ningbo. This is the view from the rooftop.


Chicken soup to start the meal. Very light and balanced, seasoned with ginger and other spices and cooked for a long time. The intent is that you drink the broth while eating the chicken is optional.


Chicken and vegetable rolls. Not much meat at all but lots of delicious crispy skin.


Sea cucumber, rice cake and vegetables. I learned that I'm not a big fan of sea cucumber, just couldn't get passed that gummy texture.


Crab soup with tofu.


Our next stop for dinner was a new 5 star resort named Park Hyatt Ningbo Resort that opened in January 2010 in Ningbo by Dong Qian Lake. Very impressive infra-structure and lots of visitors on business and pleasure. The service and dinner setting was exceptional as well as the food.

Lake view across the hotel lobby.



I couldn't resist and had to visit the kitchen before dinner started. The chef was really proud of his work and despite our communication barriers he showed me around his work stations and some of the food he would be preparing that night. Wok action as its best!


Steamed fish, very tender and delicate, catch of the day at the lake nearing the hotel.


More fish, in a rich nutty sauce. Very good and served towards the end of the meal.


My favorite, braised pork belly, served with bok choy and steamed buns.




"Light lunch" in a downtown Hangzhou restaurant. Before the food, a quick look at the fresh ingredients :-)




Starting wit duck tongue. Very common and found almost everywhere in China from highway rest stops to fine dinning restaurants. Goes really well with beer as a snack.


Lotus root filled with rice and cooked with a sweet sauce.


Jelly fish, also a very common dish, usually served cold.


Smoked bean sprouts.


Fish soup, one of many versions. Very good.


Crispy fried pork with almond, asparagus and bean sauce.


More slow cooked pork belly goodness. Served with white rice. One thing very interesting is that it does not matter how many courses are served (20+ not uncommon) the meal does not end until you are served white or fried rice or a noodle soup followed by fresh fruits.


Still in Hangzhou had dinner at a restaurant facing the West Lake, surrounded by mountains and threes.

Crab soup to start. Served in a orange and seasoned with curry and cilantro.


This cold dish is an assortment of duck cuts. From what I can remember it included egg, duck legs, duck wings and smoked tofu.


Goose liver. Very very rich in taste.


This was an eccentric one to say the least... and tasted quite different than what I expected it to. It's the ovaries of some kind of special lake frog, stuffed inside of a warm papaya. It was lightly sweet, more like a dessert.


Deep fried shrimp cake


Back to Shanghai had lunch at a restaurant in a shopping mall attached to my hotel. I was warned it was going to be spicy food and indeed it was.

Sweet papaya cooked on its own milk. This was a great dish to have in between courses in order to help balance all the spices.


Rice noodles with spices and ground peanuts.


Pork feet with peppers. Very spicy.


Frog and bamboo soup.


Pork with sticky rice


Spicy shrimp skewers


Scallop with noodles an garlic. My favorite course during lunch.


Celery and turnip or bamboo (not sure which...)


Me with picking up peanuts with the giant chopsticks.


Sticky rice soup to end the meal.


Dinner was in downtown Shanghai, traditional Shanghai cuisine. Some of my favorite courses were the fried fish and duck soup.


Duck soup with bamboo. Very good.


And this is my favorite character from the Chinese alfabet :-)


Walking around the streets of Shanghai and came across this fried food paradise. The owner was picture shy but allowed me to take a picture of her.




Another dinner in Shanghai. This time a coworker and I, zero Chinese speaking skills. We managed to order dinner at a Korean barbecue joint and it was fairly decent.

Beef ribs, pork belly, chicken heart and smoked duck breast. The smoked duck breast goes really well on the gril eaten with some powder spices seasoning and wrapped with a lettuce leave.


The next day we were off work duties and traveled to Nanxum District in the province of Zhejiang to do some sightseeing. After one hour of fighting heavy traffic out of Shanghai and one more hour in the highway we got there. Zhejiang is a town stablished in the 13th century and preserved from modern civilization. Most of the buildings, gardens and houses remain intact since.


Plenty of street food offerings.



Chicken feet and pork knuckles.



Fried "stinky" tofu.


Noodle shop.



A butcher.


Vegetables market.



A rice wine producer and shop.





After I took this picture I could not believe what was about to happen. The fisherman came on board his little boat, grabbed each bird by the neck and threw them in the water. After that using a bamboo stick he started splashing the water near the birds. That was the signal for the birds to go deep dive fishing. A few seconds later the birds submerged one at a time with the mouth full of fish. The fisherman then grabbed each bird by the neck from the water to the boat and with a shaking movement the fish regurgitated the fish to his fish basket. I could not believe my eyes!!!


I later googled it and found many sources on the Internet talking about these Chinese fisherman. I also learned these birds are called Cormorant.

Our last meal while in Shanghai was at an ordinary Hong Kong style restaurant. Crispy pork belly with spicy mustard and sugar.


Bean sprouts with soy sauce.


Fried rice with chicken to end the meal.


After I left Shanghai the last stop was Shengzhen. While there visiting a company we do business with I came to find out that they are as well in the food business and are a manufacturer of small appliances. Amongst their product line were small countertop ovens. This picture of baked cookies tested for doneness was taken inside of one of their labs. That day were also testing appliances for popcorn, pizza and liquid nacho cheese... Glad I did not have to eat any of that :-)


Last stop of the trip was in Hong Kong to catch my flight back home. Lots of seafood and pork as well. One outstanding dish, that deserved a picture was this sesame ice cream. Very delicious and a first for me.


And this pretty much summarizes my last two weeks (from a food standpoint). Cheers!

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Wow! That brings back memories - it looks like you ate very well.

Did you notice whether the cormorants had rings around their necks to prevent them from swallowing the fish? We saw that when we were in China years ago.

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Hi NancyH,

I did not notice the presence of rings around their necks but they could very well be there. I was so astonished to see that and thinking "this must be the smartest guy in the world!" that I didn't see anything else :-)

It would be great if would have could that on video...

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