• More Shaoxing

    by  • November 6, 2007 • China, food, Shaoxing • 5 Comments

    posted by Sarah

    This past weekend we hosted our friend SuJ’n, who’s travelling around China for a month before going on her way to teach English in Korea for about 6 months. It was a great time to relax and see an old friend, and get to see the touristy parts of the city that we hadn’t yet explored. We took her to some of our favorite places (which just so happen to be restaurants): A little restaurant that serves North-Eastern Chinese food, our favorite steamed dumpling place, our favorite hand-pulled noodle joint, and a terrific Mongolian hot-pot restaurant. Basically, we stuffed ourselves silly over the weekend.

    The tableware at the Northeastern Restaurant (it’s called “Dong Bei” which literally means “East North”). Everything comes shrinkwrapped. It’s basically like a dry-cleaning service: the restaurant sends all its dirty dishes elsewhere and gets these packages in return. (photo courtesy of SuJ’n)
    Our favorite jiaozi place (steamed dumplings). You get a steamer with 10 jiaozi for 3 RMB, which is a filling snack or light lunch. They’re homemade, as you can see from the picture.
    Here, we’re dining at a hotpot restaurant called “Little Sheep” or “Rich Sheep” depending on which English sign you look at. You get a gigantuan bowl of broth atop a built-in burner at your table, and order different things to go into the bowl. “Little Sheep” of course serves mutton, as well as beef, a wide array of vegetables, tofu, etc. It’s great fun, if not sweat-inducing due to the spiciness and the heat from the boiling broth. (photo courtesy of SuJ’n)

    Besides eating, we explored a local attraction, The Orchid Pavilion, a site that’s known for its beauty and inspiration to poets, who practiced their calligraphy along the banks of the meandering canal. A famous calligrapher, Wang Xi Zhi wrote about the place in the 4th century AD, and his style and prose has been emulated by enthusiasts ever since. Apparently a pleasurable pasttime for these poets was to float cups of wine down the canal. The cups came to rest against the banks, and the nearest poet would have to compose a poem on the spot.

    From the calligraphy museum at the Orchid Pavilion.

    Another fun thing we indulged in with SuJ’n was our first trip to sing at KTV (karaoke) Chinese-style. Unlike American karaoke, generally sung in bars, Asian karaoke is more like singing in a well-appointed living room with your friends. We went with a few of our students to one place, which took up a large portion of the second floor of a mall-like building. We were led to our own private KTV room, equipped with a large flat-screen TV, giant speakers, ambient lighting, a comfy wrap-around couch, two mics and a really fancy karaoke console where we picked out our songs. I was skeptical about the English song selection – and rightly so – there wasn’t too much choice for us. However, it was fun to hear some Chinese pop songs (not all of them were bad), and one girl even sang a couple of Peking (actually Shaoxing) Opera songs, a very surreal experience, mixing ancient opera with oh-so-modern karaoke.

    One final touristy venture was to take a boat through the canals of Shaoxing. We got a chance to see the back doors of Shaoxingese, since the canal backs onto the houses. In fact, many locals do their laundry right in the canal, and also hang elaborate plant gardens along their watery backyards. It was a nice and very interesting view into local life that we haven’t seen before.

    Boats along the canal: 40 RMB for about 20 minutes on the boat. (photo courtesy of SuJ’n)

    Here we are on the boat! With the ticket to prove it. (courtesy of SuJ’n)
    A boat selling snacks. We’ve also seen boats that would be great floating picnic/restaurants. (photo courtesy of SuJ’n)



    Sarah grew up in Colorado but considers herself a Chinese-Malaysian-English-American. Her favorite thing to do is read in bed, or some sunny spot on a couch.

    5 Responses to More Shaoxing

    1. Mark Heng
      November 6, 2007 at 2:09 pm

      Yummmm…Enjoying the food posts…Keep em coming!

    2. SuJ'n
      November 7, 2007 at 2:35 am

      hey, i saw a “Little Sheep” restaurant (must be a chain) last night in the Mong Kuk area (Hong Kong) and thought of our insanely indulgent meal this weekend.

      i also passed by some stinky tofu vendors at the Ladies’ Night Market and turned my nose, ew.

    3. Foosh
      November 7, 2007 at 4:49 am

      Holy Mustache! I like it Joel. I’ve been kicking around the idea myself but don’t want to scare the youth (yet) at my new church.

    4. Mi nombre es Johnny Cake.
      November 7, 2007 at 5:59 pm

      Damn it, Joel. I told you to shave that mustache. Now your behavior is affecting others. Your mustache is causing others to stumble.

    5. Kendal on the Road
      November 15, 2007 at 5:46 am

      Hey! I have a blog now too! Looks like China is pretty cool…cooler than Arkansas at any rate

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