February 04, 2005

farm on the way to Yangshuo


Being a lifelong city dweller, I am quite excited by seeing farmland. And between Guilin and Yangshuo there are lots of farms. I'm not sure if this pic is one of the rice fields I saw, as when upload pics I only see a thumbnail. But I did see a few of those fields in person which made me really happy as I'd only see rice fields on video and pics before. Cultivating rice is *extremely* work intensive so consider that the next time you eat rice and want to waste some of the grain left on your plate. Someday, I'd like to experience life on the rice fields.

Cantonese people are know to eat "anything that has 4 legs but is not a table, anything that flies but is not an airplane, anything that is in water but is not a boat." In HK, you can find a wide variety of meat dishes... some of the more exotic (to me) I've had the opportunity to try is cow stomach and fish intestines.
I've also recognized the characters for pig lungs on a menu but didn't have the nerve to try it. Well, actually I do have the nerve to try it, my fear is not enjoying it and wasting food. I'd much rather have someone I know order it and try some of theirs. I did enjoy the taste and texture of cow stomach, more so than ground beef. And fish intestines had a weird taste and texture to me, but I enjoyed it with soy sauce. I don't feel as bad eating an animal when all parts of it are used. Buying meat in the states bothers me as I know many parts of the animal are wasted (as well as other reasons but this is not that kind of post so I won't go into it). I guess the British influence had an impact on HK cuisine because you never find dog meat on a menu here. China is a whole other story...
I don't have a problem eating dog meat as I don't have a problem eating any other animal like cow, duck, pig, fish. Generally, I don't like to eat meat but not for any moral reasons (exception being the industries involved but I am still thinking about that). Anyway, I didn't see any 'dog meat' in English signs in Guilin or Yangshuo and I couldn't bring myself to ask for it in Cantonese. I ate in sidestreet vendor stalls and in most cases, could not place what kind of meat I was eating, considering the taste and the bones. And my last day in Guilin, I saw at one of the vendors, a roasted animal which looked like a medium iszed dog, so I suspect at some point I did eat dog meat. My French traveler friend who I met in Guilin was appallled when she saw it. She'd been eating ramen noodles while in China because she didn't trust the food. If you're a vegetarian, it's close to impossible to eat in Guilin or Yangshou and I suspect most of China.
I once ordered only rice and veggies from a street side stand and found bits of meat in the rice. When you consider less than 10% of the land in China is farmable and they have over 1.3 billion people to feed, it is reasonable that they'd include meat in their diet, esp animals that Westerners feel are "pets".

As I said, I am unsure if I ate dog meat or not but I will say that I didn't care much for the meat I could not identify I ate there. It wasn't bad but it was the kind of thing, like most red meat or poultry I have had, I could take or leave.
I did like Guangxi cooking style as they used lots of tomatoes, green pepper, cabbage and chili peppers in their cooking. I find HK food to be very oily and bland (and scarce on veggies ) but I do like how they use lots of garlic and ginger.

Posted by Christine at February 4, 2005 11:01 PM