Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Breakfast in Wuxi, Visiting Nanjing

The breakfast at the Wuxi hotel was okay. Nothing was going to compare to our first breakfast at the Ramada in Shanghai.


On my first plate, I picked up some sort of stir-fry (I loaded up on more carrots afterwards), white breakfast sausages, a fried slice of mantou, an over-easy egg and some (sweet) bread.


Since I enjoyed my over-easy egg so much the previous morning, I thought I’d grab another for breakfast. It was so comforting to eat something so familiar to me. I peeled back the thin egg white above the liquid yolk and sprinkled salt and white pepper. The seasoned yolk was mixed up and spread on the slices of bread like jam. Oh, you are too good to me egg jam!


While I kept my plate pretty boring, my parents took a bit of everything, which included fried rice, stir-fried veggies, tofu, and beef.


Mom and Dad were disappointed with the egg custard buns. These didn’t compare to the oozing custard buns that they had the other morning.

After breakfast, our tour group met up on the bus and we drove to a pearl factory, Tai Lake Shining Pearl Hall. Wuxi is supposedly famous for their pearls. I couldn’t care less to be honest.



We were herded into a room and we got the whole spiel. They served us tea that was laced with pearl powder.


They told us that multiple pearls grow in each oyster. This particular one had 32 inside.


When the whole presentation was over, the doors opened to their show room. There were trays and trays of pearl necklaces. There were rings, earrings and necklaces, and even cosmetic products made with pearl powder too. We spent way too long there. It’s the main thing I dislike about traveling in China – the tourist traps.



Once we finally got out of the pearl factory, we went to a sketchy hotel’s restaurant for lunch. A plate of weird icing was on the table when we arrived. Little pieces of apple were hidden underneath the yellow icing. I have no clue. Everyone was just as confused.





There were little plates of stuff for snacking: peanuts, jujubes, and preserved vegetables.


The weird icing plate was followed by a bowl of soup.







Soon after we began tucking into our bowls of soup, all of our dishes began arriving pretty quickly. Among the dishes, we had a stir-fry of potatoes, scrambled eggs, and Wuxi’s famous spare ribs.



We were given a plate of really cute tangerines. These were tiny flavour bombs. Some were sweet while others were deliciously sour.




Our tour group got back on the bus and drove to Nanjing and visited Dr. Sun Yat-Sen’s Mausoleum. When we arrived at the parking lot, a lady boarded our bus and said that she would be our tour guide while in Nanjing. She explained that she was a local tour guide and that she'd try to show the best of her hometown city.





As we walked up to the memorial hall, I spotted a few stalls selling snacks. I swear this guy was Nickhun (a huge South Korean pop star). From the corner of my eyes, his ears, hair, round eyes and small face matched his image. Nickhun is in China? Is that really Nickhun? Those were many of the first thoughts that crossed my mind. This guy had a few guys around him too, which also made me more curious. But alas, it wasn’t him. Or was it?


We took one of the buses which ferried people from the parking lot area to the base of the mausoleum. When we tried to drive to the restaurant for dinner, we got stuck in traffic. It was pretty amusing watching people play chicken with their cars; trying to cut in/squeeze into the lanes. I think there were over eight lanes that were merged into two. I'm sure there were more, because the drivers in China liked to make their own rules and create their own lanes.











These were some of the dishes that we had at for dinner. The salted duck is a real famous dish. The taste of the meat reminded me of the flavour of duck wings.


To round out the evening, we were brought to another shopping area after dinner. We drove into another old part of Shanghai and walked around the shopping area called Fuzi Miao. There were some fast food chains (like McDonald’s, KFC, etc) among the small restaurants and stalls. It was a weird mix.

I couldn’t help but think of all the snacks that were around me. Every other person was snacking on something, whether it was a bowl of “pissing beef balls,” skewers of meat, or sticks of candied fruit. We walked by tiny restaurants serving dim sum and dumplings too. It was torture! I was so tempted to buy stuff to snack on, but I didn’t want to get sick again. The agony!

We walked around for less than two hours before our tour guide told us that we had to go back to the hotel. A lot of people in our group were upset that we couldn’t spend more time shopping. If we had more time there, I would’ve definitely snacked my way around the area. But it wasn't meant to be. We checked into our hotel early that evening. Sad...

Breakfast in Shanghai, Visiting Wuxi

Breakfast in Nanjing, Visiting in Suzhou
More links from the Tea in Asia 2011 trip:

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