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China is full of completely different types of cuisine, so when I was in Dongbei (Northeast China) I made sure to try as much as the local cuisine as I could. Here in Guangdong, the food just doesn’t match up to the rich and flavorful foods of Dongbei. In the city of Dandong, near the Great Wall I was able to sample some kao leng mian, 烤冷面 which is basically a rice noodle that very much reminds me of a Mexican enchilada.
For only 6 RMB ($.87) you can get a plate of this stuff and it is quite delicious! I watched as they cooked it on an open grill, added egg and other toppings.
Upon tasting kao leng mian, it really did taste like an enchilada! The first big noodle they use looks so much like a corn tortilla, and tastes very similar too. I was sure it was made of corn until asking, and found out that it is actually rice. Maybe it’s my mind playing tricks on me, but I swear it tasted just like an enchilada, although no meat. Have a look at the picture below and see if you don’t think it’s an enchilada!
All it really needed was some melted cheese and you probably wouldn’t even notice the difference! Check out the video at the top if you are interested in how they make this interesting dish. I’ll be returning to Dongbei soon, and I can’t wait to try out this kao leng mian once again!
While I was in Vietnam, one of the coolest places I had the chance to visit was a small beach town known as Hoi An. It is home to some of the prettiest beaches I have seen in Vietnam and was only 20-30 kilometers away from the nearby city of Da Nang, where I was staying. In Vietnam, tourists are allowed to ride motor scooters around so for around $5 a day, I had a pretty nice little ride! Seeing these beaches as uncrowded as they were in a summer month like August still astonishes me to this day! Why don’t more people go here?!
When I got there I pulled up to the first beach I saw and saw there were a lot of tables sitting there vacant with red plastic chairs in the sand. I sat down and ordered a tasty Coke since it was too early to drink. The weather was damn hot and humid though, so I decided on going for a swim! I rented a locker and stored away my valuables and went for a swim and man, the water was perfect.
After a few hours on this beautiful beach, the sun started to set and I went to a nearby restaurant across the street from the beach for a seafood dinner.
The first dish was a mango salad with shrimp and pork. (Goi xoai tom thit) for $2.69 USD (60,000 dong) It was tasty, but I found the pork mixed with the seafood was a bit odd. Also the mango wasn’t really sweet, it was a more firm and bitter slice of mango. The shrimp was also a bit small. What do you expect for such a cheap price anyway? The peanuts complimented the dish overall nicely though. The second dish was fortunately much better.
My last dish was some sauteed squid with chili & lemongrass (Muc xao sa ot) for just around $4 USD. This was much better, and the whole dish was covered in a very nice but not overpowering sweet sauce. The squid tasted very fresh, and the lemongrass added a wonderful citrus kick to the dish overall. I enjoyed it all with a cold beer. Check out the video at the top for the video footage, and I’ll see you next time! I have to ask, what do you think about Vietnam? Have you been? Would you return? Let me know because I want to know why more people don’t go here.
As my trip to Vietnam would soon come to an end, I still had my last day in Da Nang.I also had my motorbike for the day so I hopped on it and rode a short 5km from my hostel, to Da Nang’s main beach.
When I got to the beach I was amazed once again. The beaches of Vietnam are totally uncrowded, in prime summer vacationing time. I absolutely can not figure out why. I know some people don’t like Vietnam for certain reasons, but I can’t see why this place isn’t more popular.
I saw all these nifty lounge chairs covered with an umbrella so I felt obligated to lie down in one. Before long, I was greeted by a server who informed me that if I wanted to use that hotel’s lounge chairs I had to pay a fee. He asked me how much, he said 100,000 dong (Which is around 5 dollars). I was like, ah, well, sure why not! In any other country the fee would be much higher. I know that in a beach in Dongbei, China for example, it’s around 30 dollars for a chair rental. I also took advantage of the server and had him bring me a beer for around 2 dollars. What a steal.
The view was incredible of the ocean and the peninsula. In fact, I was even able to catch the massive Lady Buddha statue on top of the peninsula from the beach. You can see me explore that area on motorbike on my video you can find on the blog page: Vicarious Vietnam: Riding motorbikes around Da Nang and exploring the peninsula
I laid on my beach chair and contemplated to myself. Why can’t I move to Vietnam? At that time my mobility was pretty available and even though there are good jobs in Vietnam, and I’m sure a great bit of opportunity for someone like myself, I decided to stay in China, since I’ve got a lot of good stuff cookin’ in Guangdong. However, I do intend to return to Vietnam, you can say that for sure! Don’t forget to check out my YouTube channel and like and subscribe if you enjoy the content!
It has been a long time since my last post – my apologies for getting off track, but I’m back! Don’t forget to check out my YouTube channel Ian’s Journeys where all my traveling/cooking/China videos can be found!
Da Nang, Vietnam is an amazing city. The cost of living is incredibly low, the air is sweet, the beaches are beautiful, and the area is downright tropical! I started my day off by renting a motorbike from the hostel I was staying at, and it was 100,000 dong/day, which is around 5 US dollars. What a steal! Filling it up is even cheaper, 1-2 dollars.
I started off by riding around town a bit. I also found Da Nang bay and did a quick ride around. However I soon wanted to go and take a look at the peninsula that everyone was talking about where I could see the Lady Buddha, and possibly even some monkeys.
After seeing the eye candy that is Da Nang bay, it was time to move on toward the peninsula. The ride was scenic, and very relaxing, except my helmet kept being blown off by the wind, no matter how hard I strapped it on!
Eventually I made it to the area where the statue of the Lady Buddha is located. It was an incredible sight. The statue must have been hundreds of feet tall, and I had never seen anything like it before. There were also a number of buddhist shrines there and I captured the moment (In the video at the top, you can see) when I saw a number of people chanting. It was very serene, relaxing, and made me forget about the hustle and bustle of life back home for just a moment.
Eventually when I reached the end of the peninsula, I came to a beaten path off the main road where I was told I could find monkeys. Did I find any? Check the video at the top to find out! See you next time!
When I’m on on vacation, I drink beer. I just do, as do most of us, moreso than I do when I’m not on vacation. So when I was in Hanoi, I was like, why not do it where everyone else does it? That is at the Beer Drinking Street, which is located in the Old Quarter of Hanoi.
Basically, on this stretch of restaurants and bars, during the weekends, they set up hundreds of little stools outside of all the establishments. People are encouraged to come, sit on the stools, and drink a few cold ones. While I was there, I was crying to myself “Why don’t they have this in China?!?! ;-(
I met up with a couple friends whom I had recently met in Hanoi, my friends Ri and Hynek. Super cool dudes! We had some bun cha for dinner which is a pork dish with noodles, and we also had some egg rolls and beers. It was absolutely delicious to say the least and it really only cost a few dollars including the beer!
We went down to the beer drinking street soon after dinner together and poured out a few. It was a good time for sure. As the night started to really fire up around 9-10 PM the crowds started to get insane!
The atmosphere and vibe of the drinking street is super laid back and super cool. The nightlife in Hanoi is super affordable as well, so it didn’t break the bank at all. A standard beer in Hanoi even at bars can be had for as little as 20,000-100,000 dong (Between 1-4 dollars) and food is also very cheap. I ordered some nachos for 120,000 dong ($5.41 USD) if I remember correctly. We hit up a bar later that night and finished the night off with a little hooka session, which I hadn’t done in years.
Overall, the beer drinking street is one of the coolest nightlife spots I have ever been in my entire life, and in my opinion, the coolest during my time in Hanoi. Don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel if you are looking for new cooking videos/traveling videos every week! See you next time!
It was finally time for my next trip. Living in Asia affords you the luxury of seeing a lot of countries for bargain prices. Because I live in China, I do not have to pay thousands of dollars in airfare every time I want to visit a country in Asia. Such is the truth about living anywhere, you can travel anywhere nearby much cheaper than you could if you were farther away. So while in Asia, travel in Asia and my next destination is Vietnam.
I got my roundtrip flight for a beautiful $222.00, what a steal. Anyway, it was time for a new journey and I was growing restless in China. I had just done some great traveling in Guilin, China in the previous weeks but it was time to get out of the country. It was time to see a new culture. I exited Shenzhen through the Louhu border crossing, took Hong Kong’s MTR down one stop and caught the A43p but from Sheung Shui to the Hong Kong Airport.
When I arrived at the airport, it was nothing new. I have flown in and out of HKG many times before, and every time I leave China it’s the airport I use. When I got there, I arrived a few hours before my flight so I got through security and enjoyed some Popeye’s Fried Chicken. This is one of the western comforts that I have yet to see in mainland China. I seldom eat this kind of crap, but when I do, it’s delicious.
The flight to Hanoi was very short, only about 2 hours. I love easy, 2 hour flights. They never get old. It’s like your in and out, and boom you’re in another country! Upon arrival at Hanoi Noi Boi Airport, I hopped in a cab and headed to my hostel.
My hostel was located near the Old Quarter, and after checking in I decided I wanted to have a few beers and check out the night market nearby to get a selfie stick. It was lively, and there were people everywhere! I had some delicious coconut milk for about 50 cents US per cup. I also bought a selfie stick for a few dollars.
After leaving the night market, I was pretty tired from traveling all day. However when I got back to the hostel I met so many cool fellow travelers, I stayed up until about 1 am drinking with them. It was a good time! You can see all of this in this week’s episode, which is at the top of this page. Give it a look! Don’t forget to like and subscribe to my YouTube channel and let me know what you think! See you next week!
Having just recently finished my trip to Guangxi, China one of my favorite places that I visited was the small fishing village of Xingping. Xingping is famous for being home to the mountains which are famously sported on China’s 20 RMB yuan note.
We got to Xingping by bus, from the town of Yangshuo (Visited in Paying a visit to the very lame town of Yangshuo, China, one of my recent blog posts) and there was not much to see. A small, quiet village with plenty of people looking to make a few extra kuai off the foreign tourists.
Upon our arrival, I had to pay 2 RMB to use one of the most disgusting toilets I had ever encountered in my entire life. We quickly took a risk and hopped into one of China’s famous three wheeled carriages (Which I also mention in my last post, and is just small motorbike welded to a carriage frame) which slammed up and down and gave me possible brain hemorrhaging the entire ride.
As we got closer to the mountains of Xingping, we passed the Li River which looked very calm in its splendor. A beautiful river, no doubt. We finally arrived at the mountains, and it was worth the long bus ride from Yangshuo!
When we arrived, there were of course plenty of people taking pictures, which we did as well. I was also filming for my travel blogging show (Which is on YouTube, of course) but to be honest, we didn’t stay all that long. Once we had our pictures, it was so hot out, we were pretty much set to go.
After seeing the mountains, we wanted to have some lunch so we went to a local restaurant in Xingping. We ordered some pijiu yu (啤酒魚), which is literally translated as “beer fish” it’s one of this region of China’s local delicacies so I was happy to dig in.
The beer fish was, most definitely, DELICIOUS. If you are curious about how it tastes or what it’s like, be sure to check out my newest episode of my show, Ian’s Journeys, in the YouTube box at the top of this page! See you next week! Let me know what you think in the comments!