exotic

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!

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Chang fen: A Chinese breakfast staple

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This morning I returned to my local laoban to do a Chinese food video about breakfast. Today we had chang fen (肠粉) which is a common breakfast dish made with rice paste, eggs, vegetables, and ground pork covered in a pork fat broth with soy sauce and chopped garlic. I probably have chang fen at least once a week living here. I find it to be a relatively healthy option – as this is steamed and not fried, and I enjoy eating as healthy as I can.

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The laoban adds rice paste (Ground up rice with water added) to one of the steam trays.

To make chang fen, a large multi-layer steam rack is used. Generally they start by pouring rice paste and covering the tray with it, and then adding ground pork, a few vegetables and cracking an egg or two on top. The mixture is stirred around and sent into the steamer for less than a minute. When it comes out, it is scraped off and set onto a serving plate.

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Sending a tray of chang fen in the steamer

When it comes out, it is quite a pretty sight to behold. The taste of chang fen is interesting to say the least. The texture is sort of a thin jello-ey texture that without the sauce is not exactly bursting with flavor. Rice paste is of course made of white rice, and as we all know white rice has a fairly brand and neutral flavor. However when it is coupled with vegetables, meat, and a nice pork broth with garlic and some chili sauce on top, the flavors go a million ways! The pork broth gives a rich decadent flavor especially when you get those chunks of ground pork in the bite. Grasping some chopped chilis with your chopsticks in a bite adds a spicy aspect to this dish as well.

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Chang fen in all its steamed glory

I also blogged about chang fen back in April, you can see that post here: Chang fen: A cheap, delicious and exotic breakfast in China. Don’t forget to check out the video from this morning’s breakfast which includes video of the cooking process and tasting, from my YouTube channel! Please like/subscribe if you enjoy the content!