Eating All of the Things – Yangshuo

Our adventure with food continues. We love to eat, and there is plenty of food to love here in China.

For breakfast, Josh collects two buns from our favorite steamer place down the road. The man that works at the shop is very enthusiastic to have some new foreign friends and has some of the best tasting buns we have ever had. Josh bags them up and brings them back to the hostel, where I meet him down in the common area with one cup of Americano coffee to split and our thermoses refilled with fresh hot water. Breakfast is small, but filling, and only costs $2 (the one cup of coffee eats up $1.60 of the cost of breakfast).

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We ate at the shop once, but the tiny table and stools that are common at shop fronts in China are just way too small for our big American bodies. Also, the bowl is full of the best soy milk we have ever had. Perfect temperature, texture, and sweetness. Yum!

Our favorite stop for lunch is a place we call “The Good Build Your Own”. At the front of the shop, there is a case of fresh vegetables and meats. We are given a bowl and some tongs, then left to our leisure. We fill our bowl with the ingredients we want, then hand it off to the cook, who asks us whether we want rice or noodles. There are four identical restaurants of this style all on the same block, but there is one in particular that always serves us a larger portion than the others, hence the word “Good” in the title. Depending on the amount of meat you put in the bowl, the price will vary between $2.30 and $2.60.

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This is a $2.30 bowl with rice. It has broccoli, mushrooms, carrots, and bacon.
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This is a $2.60 bowl because it includes pork AND and egg. It also has noodles, snap peas, carrots, and mushrooms.

For dinner, we usually enjoy a more traditional sit-down restaurant. We named our favorite place “Paper Lantern” because of the restaurant’s choice of lighting decorations. We haven’t ordered the same thing twice because everything has been delicious. My favorite has been the sweet and sour eggplant, but Josh’s favorite was the beef and potatoes. With one or two dishes and a big bowl of rice, we are usually charged about $6 for dinner.

At the sit-down restaurants in South China, it is common to wash your dishes before you eat. Most of the time, the dishes have already been professionally washed, packed, and sealed in wrap, but the tradition lives on.

Yesterday, we made a friend down in the common room and invited him out to join us for Yangshuo’s most popular dish, Beer Fish. We had a great time chatting with someone new and enjoyed a good meal with good company. The fish was delicious, but nothing to write home about (although I guess that is exactly what I am doing!). It came in a large, hot dish with a candle underneath to keep it warm. The tomatoes made it a little saucy and gave it an almost Spanish flavor.

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It didn’t taste anything like beer. We think it was a grilled carp, cut in half then served in the dish with oil, tomatoes, beef stock(?), garlic, bamboo shoots, and chives.

 

We only have a few days left in Yangshuo and I know I will miss all my favorite stops. But the only thing better than the food I like, is more food I like. Can’t wait to see what our next stop tastes like!

Guangxi, China Birding – January 2018

The birding in Guangxi was awesome despite the cold. I am particularly excited that each bird I found was a new addition to my life list.

The birding in Guangxi this month was awesome despite the cold. I lived next door to a farm, so it was easy to spend time after breakfast each day watching the backyard birds. Without my usual apps I had a hard time identifying them all, but with the help of my friends on Reddit, I was able to get most of them.

I do not include caged birds on my Life List, but I do enjoy going to Aviaries and, in China’s case, the market(!). It was difficult to see the treatment of these animals, but it was interesting to see the variety of birds available for both food and friend.

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My favorite bird of the month was the Blyth’s Kingfisher. I saw two different kingfishers in two different towns. Each time, they allowed me to get close enough for a halfway decent picture. One was spotted just off of a busy street. I got some very strange looks for stopping in the middle of traffic to get out my binoculars and camera, but after some bilingual charades, I made it clear that I was after the birds.

I am particularly excited that all seven of the birds I identified this month were new additions to my life list. I have caught a Kingfisher and Night Heron before, but never a Blyth’s Kingfisher or Chinese-Pond Heron. This one month added quite a few more birds to my list. All in all, it was a good month for birding.


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Birding Update – January 2018

Identified: 7

New: 7

Life List: 96


  • Blyth’s Kingfisher
  • Chinese-Pond Heron
  • Collared Crow
  • Common Stonechat
  • Crested Myna
  • Daurian Redstart
  • White Wagtail

 

Bird Watching in Guangxi, China – January 2018

The birding in Guangxi was awesome despite the cold. I am particularly excited that each bird I found was a new addition to my life list.

Birding in Guangxi was awesome despite the cold. I lived next door to a farm, so it was easy to spend time after breakfast each day watching the backyard birds. Without my usual apps I had a hard time identifying them all, but with the help of my friends on Reddit, I was able to get most of them.

Check out the beautiful guest house we stayed in while in Yangshuo. ♥

Bird Watching

I do not include caged birds on my Life List, but I do enjoy going to Aviaries and, in China’s case, the market(!). It was difficult to see the treatment of these animals, but it was interesting to see the variety of birds available for both food and friend.

20180123_124806

My favorite bird of the month was the Blyth’s Kingfisher. I saw two different kingfishers in two different towns. Each time, they allowed me to get close enough for a halfway decent picture. One was spotted just off of a busy street. I got some very strange looks for stopping in the middle of traffic to get out my binoculars and camera, but after some bilingual charades, I made it clear that I was after the birds.

I am particularly excited that all seven of the Chinese birds I identified this month were new additions to my life list. I have caught a Kingfisher and Night Heron before, but never a Blyth’s Kingfisher or Chinese-Pond Heron. This one month added quite a few more birds to my list. All in all, it was a good month for birding.

January’s Birding List

Birds Identified: 7

New Birds: 7

Life List: 96


 

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First Impressions of Yangshuo, China

I love our new town of Yangshuo. It is only 90 minutes away by bus from Guilin, but still a town of its own.

Oh man, I freaking love this town! Yangshuo, China is super cute and quaint, but still fun and exciting. It is fairly westernized compared to many other parts of China, with loud bars and European restaurants. But it isn’t the western comforts that drew us in, it was the natural beauty that surrounds the city.

Location of Yangshuo

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Yangshuo, China is in Guangxi Province and only 90 minutes South of Guilin by bus. That means that we haven’t traveled very far, but it is still quite different from Guilin. Th nearest large hubs are Guangzhou and Hong Kong.

Check out our adventures in Guilin. ♥

What makes Yangshuo special is it’s surroundings. It is located within the South China Karst, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Even the flat areas of Yangshuo are lovely, with one side of town edged by the Li River and other areas of town spotted with farmland.

City of Yangshuo

As a whole, the city is very touristy, clean, and quiet (all by Chinese standards, of course). I definitely get the feeling that it is the Aspen of China.

The main part of the city is squeezed between two major roads with a pedestrian-only area in between. The sidewalks are packed full of cute shops, foreign restaurants, cafes, and tourist side shows similar to what I’ve seen in Vegas (3D rides, ice bars, etc).

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We’ve already enjoyed dinner at a Thai restaurant, a lunch at McDonalds, and an amazing dinner at an Indian restaurant. We are hoping to save up some money for an evening at The Brew, a well-known Western restaurant with steaks and burgers, and also a stop at a great-looking German restaurant owned and run by a German expat.

Read more about the food we enjoyed during our time in Yangshuo. ♥

Outside of the main area, it is a little more akin to the rest of China, with small shops, crumpled sidewalks, and honking traffic. We even spotted a fun KFC ripoff.

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KFD, complete with a Chinese Colonel Sanders. Because if your thing ain’t working, steal from someone else!

It looks like we will have no lack of things to do here in Yangshuo, China. We have plans for places to eat, shops to explore, people to meet, and sights to see. We are still unsure whether we will stay here for two weeks or three, but I like that we have the freedom to decide as it suits us. Until then, I will enjoy every moment in Yangshuo.

 

 

 

 

Yangshuo, 阳朔

I love our new town of Yangshuo. It is only 90 minutes away by bus from Guilin, but still a town of its own.

Oh man, I freaking love this town! I feel like I am cheating a little bit because it is so Westernized, but I guess I can’t change who I am. It is located in Guangxi Province and only 90 minutes South of Guilin by bus. We haven’t traveled very far, but it is still quite different from Guilin.

Desktop screenshot

The town is snuggled between karst mountains and rivers. As a whole, the city is very touristy, clean, and quiet (all by Chinese standards, of course). I definitely get the feeling that it is the Aspen of China.

20180123_133002

The main part of the city is squeezed between two major roads with a pedestrian-only area in between. The sidewalks are packed full of cute shops, foreign restaurants, cafes, and tourist side shows similar to what I’ve seen in Vegas (3D rides, ice bars, etc).

We’ve already enjoyed dinner at a Thai restaurant, a lunch at McDonalds, and an amazing dinner at an Indian restaurant. We are hoping to save up some money for an evening at The Brew, a well-known Western restaurant with steaks and burgers, and also a stop at a great-looking German restaurant owned and run by a German expat.

Outside of the main area, it is a little more akin to the rest of China, with small shops, crumpled sidewalks, and honking traffic. We even spotted a fun KFC ripoff.

20180125_082548
KFD, complete with a Chinese Colonel Sanders. Because if your thing ain’t working, steal from someone else!

It looks like we will have no lack of things to do here in Yangshuo. We have plans for places to eat, shops to explore, people to meet, and sights to see. We are still unsure whether we will stay here for two weeks or three, but I like that we have the freedom to decide as it suits us. Until then, I will enjoy every moment in Yangshuo.