fish or vegetables?

One thing about China, everything is always fresh.  You go to the market, you get fresh food, and you cook it.  Canned and pre-processed foods are not as widely used as in the west.  Of course, this means that you become more “intimate” with your food.  For many Americans, probably most westerners, this may be a bit uncomfortable when dealing with animals.  In China, most animals are alive when you select them for dinner.  You actually look into the fish tank and pick the fish you want and in a very unceremonious fashion, the vendor nets it out and then slams it down into the ground killing it instantly.

The fish vendor’s wife must have had a long night as she is sleptt in her chair.  In the tanks I saw all sorts of snails, fish, eels, and turtles – all for eating.  Most of the locals would select the small fish and eels and take them in little plastic bags full of water in the same way a child in America takes home a pet goldfish.  Well, you can’t get any fresher than that!


I rolled a video of some of the little fish so that you can get an idea of how “fresh” they are.

 

 

There was no shortage of bright and colorful produce at the market.  And if you like hot food, the chef can accommodate you in that regard.

I wandered around the market taking photos.  Eventually, I worked my way over to the “meat” area and found all sorts of critters to go on the chopping block: chicken, duck, geese, rabbit, dove, and even more.  To save on download time and space, I’ll put the rest of the photos into a gallery below and you can look at those photos as you please.  I did capture a video of the “animal” section of the market and posted it below this photo.

 

 

 

When I worked my way to the back of the market, I found some more critters that most westerners would find a bit distasteful.  I urge everyone to remember that our standards and values are different from those in other countries.  Ours aren’t necessarily better or worse, just different.  Perhaps, as a hunter, seeing a live animal killed is less traumatic to me than someone who is vegetarian, but in countries where there is no supermarket, it is a way of life to kill your own food.  As for the “type” of meat that one chooses to eat, this varies from region to region throughout the world.  Eating beef is as equally offensive to most Indians as eating dog is to most Westerners.

I recommend reading Solbeam’s blog post regarding looking at the eating of different foods from the point of view of a person from another culture:

Marbled Black Lab

If you find the sight of slaughtered dogs distasteful, I recommend that you skp the next blog post “dog on the menu.”

Below are a few othershots showing the chickens, ducks, dove, turtles and rabbit that were offered for sale.  The fish tank looks a bit crowded & one vendor was selling meat cleavers.


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washing your dog

I noticed this Chinese man washing his dog in the river.   “Who says the Chinese don’t like dogs, take a look at this guy,” I thought to myself.

And then I realized that the dog was dead. He had just gutted it and was washing it to cook.

A few other Western tourists stopped to look and in my typical sarcastic banter, I said, (making a parody of the U.S. Beef commercials) “Dog, it’s whats for lunch.”


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Yanshuo and its street restaurants

Heading out from my apartment each morning, I would walk past the local merchants selling fruits and vegetables, meat (above), bicycle parts, the metal worker was busy welding metal frames and fittings, the laundry lady was weighing and folding clothes, and people on bikes, on motorcycles, in tractors, and walking down the street made each day a busy Chinese day.  As I walked from the apartment at the border between the “tourist zone” and the suburban apartment district, I would smile and nod to my neighbors and in time they all got to know me.

My landlord, Mrs. Lee was a nice enough lady and though she spoke no English, I could always get a thought across with a smile, the tone of my voice, and some cards that had phrases written in Chinese.  Carrying cards with simple Chinese phrases is an ingenious way to get a thought across. Just pull a card and hand it to the Chinese person; “I like my food spicy with garlic,” or “I want a quiet room away from the street,” and “I am a vegetarian, do not add meat to my dish.”

I often saw this grandma outside tending to her grandchild while its parents were at work.  On a weekend day, I saw her daughter cutting her hair in the street.  I really enjoyed the Chinese people, they were much friendlier than I had thought and much more generous than I had ever imagined.  And, very importantly, the cities are safe.  Crime is almost non existant and I always felt safe walking the streets without fear of theft or violence.

Down on the main street in town,  I shot this photo of a “typical” mid-morning in Yangshuo.  The Chinese people in the foreground are likely tourists from another part of China.  Just off to the right of the photo is the walking district where most of the Western catering businesses are located.  Just beyond that is West Street lined with cafés, bars, little shops, and of course thousands of tourists.

At my favorite restaurant you make your dish to order: you take some chopsticks and put onto your plate whatever you want to be in your dish.  If you want broccoli, you put one piece of broccoli on your plate, if you want carrot, you put some carrot on your plate.  When you are done, you have one small piece of each ingredient that you want in your dish.

The host then measures out how much of each ingredient to make a “balanced” dish and then takes it back to the kitchen and the chef throws it into the wok.  The food is usually cooked in about 5 minutes.

Nearby is a rice pot and you scoop out a bowl of steamed rice and pour yourself a cup of hot tea and have a seat.  And then you eat when your main dish is brought out.  The food was quite divine in taste and the locals were friendly and genuinely curious of the tall Westerners eating in their local hangout.  Each day I got to know some of the locals that frequented the place.

And the cost for this divine meal?  About .80 cents US.  Considering that the cost of an apartment is only about a hundred dollars a month, that everything is walking distance and the food is so wonderful tasting, it is easy to see why so many expats come here to visit and stay for months or even years.

If you are visiting Yangshuo or living there, be sure to try some of the local restaurants.  Not only are they affordable, but they have wonderful food and friendly staff and patrons.  If you are not sure how much to pay, just watch the locals and pay what they pay.


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Stories, posts, reports, photos, videos and all other content on this site is copyright protected © and is the property of Scott Traveler unless otherwise indicated, all rights reserved. Content on this site may not be reproduced without permission from Scott Traveler. My contact information can be found on the home page.

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