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china trip part 1 and pork dumplings

I was lucky enough to go on an amazing trip to china recently with my grandma and i thought i would do a post to show you where we went, and share some recipes from my trip and all my many photos. So I have decided to split it into two blog posts as It was so much for one post. this post has photos from shanghai, guilin and yangshou and part two has photos from Xi’an, Beijing and Hong Kong and includes a peking duck and plum sauce recipe and soup dumplings. If you know me, you know I love dumplings so I have two kinds for you here. they are both meat based though, (sorry vegetarian readers don’t worry there are some vegan ones here and here you can try ) the dumpling recipes here have the same fillings but one has a normal wonton wrapper like dough and the other has a yeasted dough. the yeasted dough dumpling is based on a sheng jian bao I ate in shanghai. Its hard to pick a favourite but the best part of china for me was Yangshou, it was just so beautiful and I wish we had longer there. I loved every where we visited in china and really hope I can go back again and spent a bit more time in each place. eating in china was fun as our group of 13 would sit around a big round table with a lazy suzan type spinning part in the middle and they would put all the dishes on it and you could all help your selves. The food was varied each day but we ate a lot of kung po chicken and sweet and sour which I loved.

first stop shanghai

we landed in shanghai and spent two three night here. after we landed we went straight to dinner then back to the hotel. on the next day we went to the shanghai museum first which had a few interesting things, my favourite was the Chinese costumes, next onto the bund, then the nanjing road and into the china town area and we went to the yu gardens. then on the second day we went to the water town. I really enjoyed It there. then we went to see the French concession area which looked really beautiful at night. in reminded me a lot of London as the water front reminded me of the Thames. it felt very westernised and modern in the city with mc donalds and starbucks and lots of designer shops.

yu gardens

I liked it here as it felt like I was actually in china with the beautiful gardens and buildings

the yu gardens is a rock garden in the middle of the city, its so pretty and out side is a china town like are. we had lunch there and looked around.

water town

Shanghai’s version of little Venice, picture canals, small alley ways and little boats. it was raining on this day but I really liked it here, the small alley ways had shops selling all sorts and was really exciting, there was a lot of venders selling different meat dishes one of which was pork in a lotus leaf, it all had a really strong smell though so put me off a bit when we had it at lunch. we ate in a little restaurant on the other side of the river and had the pork and also a catfish dish that had crispy batter and a tomato sauce. cat fish must be a popular fish In china as that is the only fish we seemed to eat the whole time, I actually liked it.

the skyscrapers

it was really misty and you could hardly see the tops of them.

dumplings

in shanghai I tried a few dumplings. I made two types with the same fillings it was just the dough that was different. one was with just flour and water and the other with yeast so it was more like a bun, that one was called sheng jian bao and the other was just like a dim sum dough. I also made soup dumplings which where really popular In shanghai with the left over peking duck bones (find the peking duck recipe in the next post coming next week)

filling

  • pork mince (400g)
  • 50ml light soy sauce
  • 50ml dark soy sauce
  • 4 spring onions
  • 1 Bok choy or half a chinese cabbage
  • 1/2 tsp Chinese five spice
  • small bunch of chives
  • 2 tbsp rice wine
  • 2 tbsp ginger
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 100ml hot water

Chop the spring onions and cabbage and chives and add into a food processor to chop really finely. Mix with the pork mince and add the hot water and stir in, then add the soy sauce and rice wine and sesame oil. Then add the five spice and ginger.

For the dough

300g strong white flour
150ml plus 2 tbsp. boiling water
pinch of salt

Starch water
  • ½ cup of water
  • 1 tablespoon starch (I used corn flour)

Mix the flour and hot water together and mix together to make a dough then roll into a ball then cover and let rest For 20 minutes before cutting of ping pong ball sized pieces of dough and rolling out into circles as thin as you can then pleat together. see link below for instructions. place on a floured tray

Fry for around 2 minutes until the bottom are crispy; pour starch water and cover the lid to cook for around 3-5 minutes until the water is completely evaporated so that the buns will be cooked thoroughly. Sprinkle roasted black sesame seeds and green onions

click here for pleating video

shen jian bao dumplings  (yeasted dough)

dough

  • 200g all-purpose flour
  • 110g warm water
  • ½ teaspoon instant yeast
Starch water
  • ½ cup of water
  • 1 tablespoon starch

use the filling above

mix all the dough ingredients together in a mixer and knead for 5 minutes until smooth then place in an oiled bowl and leave to double in size. tip out dough and knock out air and cut into 12 and roll into balls, cover the others while you roll out one at a time so the air doesn’t dry them out. roll out into a thin circle and add a small mound of filling into the centre and gather the edges together and pinch together so they look like money bags. place them on an floured tray. leave to rest for 10 minutes, Fry for around 2 minutes until the bottom is crispy; pour starch water and cover the lid to cook for around 3-5 minutes until the water is completely evaporated so that the buns will be cooked thoroughly. Sprinkle roasted black sesame seeds and green onions

we left the hotel at 4.45 am to drive to the airport to fly to Guilin

guilin 

after we landed in Guilin we got to the coach and drove to elephant rock, its called that because the rock looks like and elephants trunk. it was so misty that you couldn’t see all the amazing limestone mountains dotted around, then we walked along the water front and saw the sun and moon pagodas. I felt so unwell and was exhausted by lunch time, trust me to get a flu like bug while on holiday.

sun and moon pagodas

fubo hill (I cant remember how it is spelt. under this huge rock there are caves with buddist carvings.

yangshou

the next day we got on a boat and we cruised from guilin down the li river to yangshou which took about 4 and a half hours as the river was so shallow we had to go slowly. it was breath taking to see all the rock formations, I spent most of the cruise on the top deck looking at everything. thankfully the weather was not so misty that day.

you may recognise this scene above from the back of a 20 yuan note.

Image result for 20 yuan note picture

once we where in yangshou we went to an amazing show set on the river at night it was so good,, the performers where all local farmers and minority groups.  then we had the second day at our leisure so grandma and I went for a walk, first we walked around the park and saw groups of people doing ti chi and dancing and men playing cards. there where lots of grandparents taking their grandchildren out to the park it was so lovely to see. there where people on the streets selling fruit and vegetables. then we went to the western road and looked in the shops and walked down to the water and saw an man with his cormorants.

persimmon for sale on the side of the road

keep an eye out for the next post which has the rest of the trip and two more recipes.

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