China

Eating Kao leng mian (A Chinese enchilada?) near The Great Wall in Dandong, China

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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.

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We watched as they prepared this delicious street snack on an open grill.

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!

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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!

Hanging out at Hong Kong International and my arrival in Hanoi, Vietnam

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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.

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Some traffic in Hong Kong on the way to to the airport.

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.

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The Hong Kong bay view from the bus

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.

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In the cab from the airport, on the way to the Old Quarter.

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.

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A lively night market in the Old Quarter.

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!

Visiting the 20 RMB mountains of Xingping, China and eating beer fish

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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.

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Xingping is a quiet little village.

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.

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The calm Li River as we made our way towards the mountains.

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!

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The glorious 20 RMB mountains.

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.

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The 20 yuan note, partially lined up with the mountains. I should have taken a few more pictures where it was lined up better <_>

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.

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Delicious beer fish!!

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!

Paying a visit to the very lame town of Yangshuo, China

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After leaving the Li River that day (Check out my post Cruising down the Li River in Guilin, China) we hopped into a three wheeled motorbike and headed to a place called Yangdi, a small village on the Li River where we could catch a ride to the town of Yangshuo, one of China’s most renowned towns for backpackers and travelers alike.

The three wheeled motorbikes just amaze me. It’s such a ghetto piece of garbage, but somehow it makes do. They modify an absurdly low quality motorbike by welding a carriage on it, and somehow it actually works. Although every time the old man shifted into the next gear, you could hear the pleasant sound of metal grinding.

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The mountains and orchards were beautiful, though the ride was bumpy.

Not to mention, the carriage wasn’t exactly well balanced. The thing was slamming up and down the entire ride. Once we got to Yangdi though, we were quick to get off it.

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The small village of Yangdi, a place I will probably never ever see again in my entire life.

Yangdi was a pleasant little locale, though we didn’t stay very long but the time we waited for the bus. In fact, we didn’t stay more than 5 minutes because the bus was already there. It was beautiful though to see the crazy looking Guilin mountains in the background everywhere.

After a long bus ride that was the better portion of 2 hours long, we arrived in the town of Yangshuo. We were tired as hell from traveling all day, so we promptly found our hostel. We stayed at the Yangshuo Culture House, which we found to be less than appealing. I got a few cans of Liquan River Beer (Because that’s the only damn beer you can find in this particular region of China) and we set out to walk towards New West Street when the sun went down. New West Street is the most popular street with food and bars in Yangshuo.

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Yangshuo’s main road. The dust was terrible

Yangshuo was the exact opposite of what I had pictured. The town pretty much sucks. There’s nothing to do, no good beer, and yeah, the place is just gay pretty much. We decided to take a good walk around New West Street to at least give it a chance.

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The foreign beer shops at New West Street were insanely overpriced.

The only thing I actually liked about Yangshuo was the opposite of what you’d think – not the beautiful scenery or the cultural Chinese aspects of the town – it was the foreigner street. Yes, I found Yangshuo to be hot as hell, dusty as shit, and quite boring. The foreigner street was almost as bad, but it brought some western comforts that we are familiar with, like incredibly overpriced “imported” beer that was probably made in China.

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As much as you might hate it, the mountain formations are beautiful though.

Other than that, we had planned to stay in Yangshuo for a few days – but strike that. We left the very nexr day. Fuck Yangshuo. However, please do continue following my travels! Check out my YouTube channel and don’t forget to check out this episode’s video above!

How to make delicious indian food, Chicken Tikka

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For this week’s video, I hadn’t done anything in cooking for quite awhile so I decided to do some indian food. Chicken Tikka is actually a very simple recipe but the flavor packs an incredible punch! I am not making the sauce from scratch, I decided to use a curry paste, but using these cooking tips will insure that you get a product that is just like what you would find in the restaurant, for sure. Check out the recipe video on my YouTube channel below, and keep reading for ingredients and cooking directions:

Here is what you will need for this recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into thick chunks
  • Chicken Tikka curry paste
  • 1-2 tbsp yogurt
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp lime juice

To make this simple recipe, start by slicing your chicken breasts into large chunks. You are going to skewer this on sticks before you cook it in the oven so you want the chunks to be nice and large.

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Slice the chicken breasts into chunks first and foremost.

Next up, combine in a bowl the curry paste, the yogurt, the olive oil and the lime juice. Mix it up very well into it forms a nice creamy mixture and it looks like it is well blended. I recommend stirring for about a minute or so before it all comes together right. Don’t add too much lime juice, or it will become watery. After the mixture is well blended, cover with wrap and send it into the refrigerator for 3-4 hours or even overnight, if you are making ahead of time.

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Mix the ingredients together, cover it with wrap and send it into the refrigerator for 3-4 hours.

Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and skewer the chunks onto sticks. Put all the sticks into an oven at 200 degrees celsius for 15-20 minutes.

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The chicken on sticks before going into the oven.
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My dog desperately trying to steal the chicken before I put it in the oven

Remove that cooked chicken from the oven, and remove from the skewers to serve on a plate along side white rice. You could always eat them off the skewers if you want, too! Make sure to check out my YouTube channel and like and subscribe if you enjoyed the content! See you next time!

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The beautiful and delicious finished product!

 

 

Cruising down the Li River in Guilin, China

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I have been posting about Guilin for the last few weeks, and the main reason we came to Guilin in the first place was to take a boat ride down the famous Lijiang River. When we were at Yao Mountain the previous day (Check out this blog post: Guilin Day 2: Annoying local fishermen, and riding the Yao Mountain Cable Car Ride) we met this interesting tour guide named Claude who, surprisingly, spoke pretty decent English. We had already purchased Li River boat ride tickets on a large 100 person vessel – but Claude told us for about half the price he could get us our own individual raft without a million tourists in our faces every time there is a photo opportunity. So, reluctantly we said yes! Here is the video I made of our journey below, but don’t forget to read on for some unforgettable pictures!

The next morning, we ate some Burger King  (Because there was literally no good breakfast in the area…) and took the one hour bus ride to Caoping, which is where the boats were docked.

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The small village of Caoping

Once we got to Caoping, I bought 5 or 6 Liquan river beers (The only beer that they seem to sell in this region of China…) and we hopped on our vessel and began our beautiful journey.

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This was our boat (With the red roof)

As the boat took off and we sailed down the river, I was beyond amazed. This had to be one of the most peaceful awesome rides of my life. While sipping beers and getting a nice buzz going was also cool, the unique curves of these mountains and the green tinge of the river were absolute eye candy.

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The water was a beautiful green tinge (Actually the water seemed quite clean, too)

We even saw a fair share of wildlife in the river. We saw plenty of ducks, and we also saw some water buffalo! We tried to approach the water buffalo on land too, but they were very hesitant and of course walked away very fast.

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Ducks swimming around looking all cute
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We also saw a water buffalo and her baby

As we continued our trek down, we saw a number of memorable peaks and mountains. We also saw a very famous cave as well, that was clearly famous due to the number of tourists outside it.

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A very mysterious ancient cave, lined with modern stairs to the side.

Of course during that boat ride I was busy filming the whole time and I produced a great YouTube video for this day, which can be seen at the top of this page. Don’t forget to check out  my YouTube channel, and make sure to like and subscribe if you enjoyed the content!

 

Exploring the famous Elephant Trunk Hill and Seven Star Park in Guilin, Guangxi, China

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Last week I posted about our Yao Mountain cable car ride in Guilin (You can see it here: Guilin Day 2: Annoying local fishermen, and riding the Yao Mountain Cable Car Ride) and this is the remainder of that day. After finishing up at Yao Mountain, our tour guide took us for a motorcycle ride around the most famous sights in Guilin. It was quite the spectacle! Check out the video down below and keep reading for more pics!

As we arrived at the park, it was about a 15 minute walk before our tour guide took us to a secret spot where we could get the best pictures of the famous Elephant Trunk Hill which lies on the Li River.

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The Li River, with the Elephant Trunk Hill on the opposite side.

So we finally got to the Elephant Trunk Hill, and it surely is an amazing form of nature. The rock juts down like a gigantic elephant’s trunk with a searing gap in the middle.

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After taking a million pictures there, our tour guide us further down the river where we could see all the locals actually SWIMMING in the Li River. I was a little surprised to see this, because China’s rivers are notorious for being very polluted and dirty. After looking closely at the water, it seemed relatively clean and clear, but still, I wouldn’t trust it.

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Locals swimming in the Li River

Soon after the sun was beginning to set, so we got on the motorbike with our guide and went to the most famous local park, known as Seven Star Park. Here we were able to see probably the coolest rock I’ve ever seen, known as Camel Hill. I even got to kiss the camel!

Make sure to check out my YouTube channel and to like/subscribe if you enjoy the content! Next week stay tuned for our exciting journey down the Li River!