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I have just returned home after four days (three nights) in Guilin. This was a business trip, so no exotic tales this time. Just food. Anyway, despite its reputation, Guilin is actually a rather dull city for the most part - anything interesting lies outside the city in the surrounding countryside.


I was staying in the far east of the city away from the rip-off tourist hotels and restaurants and spent my time with local people eating in normal restaurants.


I arrived in Wednesday just in time for lunch.




We started with the obligatory oil tea.


oil tea.jpg

Oil Tea



Omelette with Chinese Chives



Stir-fried Mixed Vegetables



Sour Beef with Pickled Chillies






Morning Glory / Water Spinach**


* I asked what the cakes were but they got rather coy when it came to details. It seems these are unique to this restaurant.


** The Chinese name is 空心菜 kōng xīn cài, which literally means 'empty heart vegetable', describing the hollow stems.




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I had dinner in a restaurant next door to the lunch venue earlier.


We started with a meatball and poached egg soup. This is the first time I've ever encountered poached eggs in a Chinese restaurant or home. Friends have always been surprised and intrigued by the concept. Just a couple of weeks ago I was asked to teach a young friend how to do them.



Poached Egg



Grilled seafood - Shrimp and Green-lipped Mussels with Garlic



Roast Chicken - the House Specialty



Spicy Tofu but not Mapo flavours.



Steamed Fish with Noodles



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Thursday, I had a non-descript breakfast in the hotel. Boiled eggs and steamed bread.


Lunch was in a jiaozi café near the offices of my clients.





L - Scrambled Egg and Chinese Chive Jiaozi; R - Pork and Shiitake Jiaozi



Pork and Cabbage Jiaozi



L - Mixed Wood Ear Fungus; Top R - Chinese Sea Grass; Lower R - Century Eggs in Spicy Sauce.



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This I had in a tiny two table 快餐 kuài cān place half way between my client's offices and my hotel. Real office workers' food. 快餐 kuài cān means 'fast food'.



Lion's Head Meatballs, Morning Glory, Chicken soup (in pot top-L),  Pickles and Chilli

Cheap, Delicious and Sustaining.



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I took myself to a local breakfast noodle place. Well, actually it sells noodles all day.




I skipped past the ubiquitous Guilin Rice Noodles, the city's speciality and chose 猪粉 zhū fěn, or 'pig noodles'.




This would not be most people's first, or even last, choice, but it suited me just fine. Rice noodles in broth with bits of pig: regular meat, liver and various unidentified frying objects. Delicious.


While I was eating, I was visited by this young lady, who was more interested in my camera than me!



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6 minutes ago, Okanagancook said:

 Love the dumplings...never heard of them filled with egg.


It's not common, but I've seen before. Definitely a "thing". They can be filled with anything. I've even seen ice-cream jiaozi!

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For lunch an associate and I headed to the local university and a nearby street full of small restaurants mainly aimed at the student market.




We were on a quest to a tiny restaurant called 老陕西 (lǎo Shǎn xī). Old Shaanxi, Shaanxi being the province which is home to the Terracotta Warriors near Xi'an.


Alongside students, we ate Liangpi (凉皮 (liáng pí)) or 'cold skin. This is a type of noodle made from beans rather than rice or wheat. A Shaanxi special.




We also had a couple of roujiamo, but I had a photography failure, which I'm going to blame on the poor light, so no picture of them. My Chinese companion, who had never eaten this food before, was convinced we had not ordered enough, but ate his jiamo and was unable to finish the liangpi.


Here is roujiamo from another restaurant. The ones we ate were near identical.




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Dinner on Friday was more of a family affair.  One of the people in my client company and the one who introduced me to the company in the first place, is also an old friend. So, I had dinner with her, her husband and just-teenage daughter as well as another friend.


We chose this place which was conveniently right next door to my hotel. A "hot ticket" in town I was told and I believe it. It is an up-market Sichuan hotpot restaurant.


We arrived at 7 pm and it was just beginning to fill up. Bright young things. Family groups. Loving couples. All sorts. By 8 it was rocking!







3 Generations


Of course, we weren't here to discuss the clientèle, but to get our fill. As soon as we were seated we were presented with this.




Even the non-spicy side would be considered spicy by many. The spicy side is incendiary.

We then collected things on sticks of our choice and parked them on the convenient stick parking thing at the side of out table.



Batch 1 - far from the last!


then they go into the boiling dual stocks.







Pig Offal on Sticks


So you want to know what's on the sticks? Are you sure?


Various bits of pig offal - intestines, liver, bits neither you or the pig knew it had. Best not to know! Here are a few. By this time we were living in a micro-climate of chilli-laden steam so the pictures aren't as clear as I would like.



Celery wrapped in pork.



Enoki mushrooms wrapped in pork



Quail egg on a stick




In case things aren't hot enough for you. Pickled chilli wrapped in pork and cooked in the hot side of the pot.



Pickled chilli stick and pig's blood.


This we washed down with the local beer, Liquan. This particular line, 1998, was brewed to commemorate Bill Clinton's visit to the city in the said year.



Finally, we were stuffed and requested the bill. This is calculated by the number of sticks you have in your stick bin. The various skewered items were on one, two or three sticks depending on price. Non-skewered items such as the pig's blood were priced by colour-coded plates - Sushi conveyor belt style.




And so to bed. Next morning, I woke with chilli and Sichuan peppercorn still oozing from every pore! But a lovely meal.


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After another hotel breakfast, lunch was at the "another friend"'s home with the same group of people at last night's hotpot plus "another friend"'s husband. "Another friend"'s mother-in-law made the statutory oil tea while "another friend" cooked lunch. A very typical, simple, but delicious family lunch.





Scrambled egg with garlic scapes



Eggplant with pork and bacon



Bean curd skin with ham



Celtuce with heavily smoked ham - my favourite


All with rice. Then we ate oranges from mother-in-law's orange groves.


Then I set off for the station and home.


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Very enjoyable journey. One thing I really love is the how the names of certain items like that vegetable translates to "empty heart" - an apt description. I mean if you have various similar leafy stemmed green vegetables, why not simplify things? 

"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast" - Oscar Wilde

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Thanks for that! I am intrigued by the roujiamo. Looked it up and I see that some places, it's made with beef, and the beef is actually put inside raw dough, which is then cooked.  Would you speak to the filling and prep method for these?


Don't ask. Eat it.


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Yes, Xi'an has a large Muslim minority population which, of course do not eat pork, but instead use mutton or beef. Beef jiamo are common there. I've never heard of the beef in raw dough, though. There is more information and a recipe for beef jiamo on this topic.

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It may or may not come as a surprise, but I am curious about the oil tea. How is it made? You seemed to imply that this was a standard dish. Since  I love everything  that contains the word 'tea', I  was curious about this.

"As life's pleasures go, food is second only to sex.Except for salami and eggs...Now that's better than sex, but only if the salami is thickly sliced"--Alan King (1927-2004)

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8 hours ago, Naftal said:

It may or may not come as a surprise, but I am curious about the oil tea. How is it made? You seemed to imply that this was a standard dish. Since  I love everything  that contains the word 'tea', I  was curious about this.


There is more information on the oil tea in this post from the Munching with the Miao topic.

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