here is the second part of my china trip where we went to Xi’an, Beijing Hong Kong, you can see part one here where I shared photos from shanghai, Guilin and Yangshou and pork dumplings two ways. I have also added a recipe for Peking duck with an amazing plum sauce, and then to make the most of the left overs I boiled down the carcass and made soup dumplings.
after landing in the ancient city of Xi’an we went to see the wild goose pagoda and learnt how to do some Chinese calligraphy, then we went on to see the city wall which goes around the city, you can walk or cycle around it but we just walked a little way on one side of it, the next day we went to see the terracotta warriors. it was amazing as each one was different, no two of their faces where the same. they where built to guard the emperor in his afterlife. they where discovered by a farmer digging on his Land in 1974. when they where found they where all broken into loads of pieces and they where painted quite colourful but the air has meant that they lost their colour over time. They are currently working on how to preserve the colour before the dig out any more. there has been a team of archaeologists putting them back together ever since,
a persimmon tree on the grounds of the terracotta army
the Xi’an city wall is still completely intact and you can walk all the way around it.
the small wild goose pagoda, in the evening we visited the Muslim quarter and went to see the shopping street it was so vibrant I loved it. there where so many different food stalls it was so interesting
in Xi’an we saw hand stretched noodles being made and ate shaved rice noodles. rice noodles are very popular in this part of china.
Walnuts and persimmon are also very popular in xi’an I saw so many persimmon and they where huge.
we landed in Beijing and it was sooo cold. the first stop was the temple of heaven, then we went to the city centre and saw stalls selling weird food like scorpions and silk worms on sticks. that night we went for a peking duck dinner. then the next day we went to see the great wall of china, it was freezing cold but It was so amazing. we walked quite far along it I was really proud of my self. IM so unfit so it was quite a struggle and the cold air made it harder to breathe. We then went to tiananmen square, the forbidden city and the summer palace. Then on the last day we went on a rickshaw through the old part of Beijing then went to the lama temple.
i thought it would be fun to show the view from the Great Wall as well as photos of it so these are through the window and doorways of the watch towers on the Great Wall. Out guide said that one of the substances used to makes the cement to hold the bricks together was sticky rice.
the summer palace was so beautiful, it was where the emperor went when they where not in the forbidden city. The lake was frozen it was so cold, (it is a man made lake created to help with Feng shui, as the Chinese believe that mountains and water make great Feng shui.
this is where the emperors lived i think 14 in total over the years with their concubines and staff, it has 980 buildings with 9.999 rooms in total. only some are open to the public. This Below was the garden area at the very back of the forbidden city.
tainanmen square, this is at the entrance to the forbidden city. you can recognise it from the portrait of chairman mao. its been famous for protests in the past. We saw lots of these men in their uniforms marching around.temple of heaven above and a monk at the yonghe (lama) temple below. this temple houses the largest wooden budda in the world. today there are still monks living a learning here.
We went to see a acrobat show and it was the best thing I have ever seen.
be had a traditional peking duck in bejing (which was called peking in the past) I had previously made a peking duck with a plum sauce that was really yummy.
Peking duck (adapted from red magazine)
- 1 whole duck
- 4 boiling water
- 5 tbsp clear honey
- 4 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 4 tbsp Chinese five spice
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- Place the duck on a rack over a deep roasting tin and prick the skin all over with the tip of a sharp knife. Pour the hot water all over the bird and leave on one side until the water has all drained away from the bird.
- Discard the water and pat the duck dry with absorbent paper, leave the duck exposed to air until it’s really dry to the touch. (Tip: hang it in a cool place, cellar or set a fan over it and fan it for a few hours, the longer you can do this the more crisp the skin will be).
- Mix the honey, soy sauce, five-spice powder and brown sugar together. Using a pastry brush, brush this sauce over the duck, inside and out.
- Leave the bird to dry once more. There should now be a thin glaze all over the bird. Give the duck another coat of sauce and leave to dry once more. Keep repeating the process until all sauce has been used up. (You can do this over a space of eight hours or a few hours is fine).
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6. Place the duck on a rack and roast the duck for 45 minutes, skin side up or until the skin has become crisp.
- 7 plums
- 1/2 loosly packed cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup soy sauce I used Tamari
- 2 cinnamon sticks broken in half
- 3 star anise
- 3 tbsp hoisin sauce
- 1 tsp Chinese 5 spice
- 3 dried chillies
- 1/2 tsp Sichuan peppercorns
- 2 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
- optional we added some of the cooking juices from the duck
cut the plums in half and remove the stones and add to a pan with all the ingredients and cook until the plums are soft and you can squash them with a wooden spoon to mash it up. remove cinnamon stick and star anise and puree in a blender.
serve with pancakes and chopped cucumber and spring onions. We pulled the duck meat but in Beijing they cut it into slices. (Scroll down to see what do make with the left overs)
at the end of our china tour we had a whirlwind 2 night stop in Hong Kong (one whole day), unfortunately I didn’t get a lot of photos here but we went to Aberdeen harbour and went on a samphan boat, then we went to Stanley market where I got to try an egg waffle and up to the Victoria peak, then we took the tram down and went across on the star ferry to Kowloon where we where staying.
the famous floating restaurant.
all of the small boat drivers I saw where woman.
View from Victoria peak looking over to Kowloon
A market stall opposite our hotel in Kowloon.
soup dumplings Xiao Long Bao
these get the name soup dumplings because they are filled with a delicious broth. it is made from boiling down bones to make a soup like broth that sets like jelly in the fridge and then when cooked becomes like soup again, in this case I used duck bones, the jelly like consistency called aspic. I used the left over duck carcas but it can be made with any bones like chicken or pork.
To make the aspec
- 1 duck or chicken carcass and and a little left over meat 1/2 cup (reserving some for filling)
- 4 spring onions
- 2 carrots
- bunch of chives
- 6 pepper corns
Add the carcass in a large pan and cover with water and add the other ingredients and bowl for 1 and a half hours, let cook and pour through seive and set in fridge over night. It should be jelly like the next day.
For the dough
300g strong white flour
150ml plus 2 tbsp. boiling water
pinch of salt
- aspec 1 cup
- half cup chopped meat duck
- 1/4 cup of the hoisin sauce
- 2 spring onions finely chopped
To make the dough mix the flour and water and knead into a ball then let rest for 10 minutes. Seporate into small balls (15) and roll out as thin as you can. Mix the filling together by finely chopping the meat and spring onions and mixing with the sauce then add chunks of the aspec and spoon on the filling and pleat the dough by gathering it up. Place in steamer and steam for 4/5 minutes. Eat while hot.