Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Authentic Chinese Food and Entertainment

We have enjoyed traveling with this business group on many occasions, and it seems they are quite entertained by ordering some very unique dinner menu items for Bob and I (and the group) to eat.  This trip to Zhangjiajie proved to be no different, and I dare say, we handled it like champs!

Saturday evening, we were presented with rabbit, pheasant, and fish  among other things.  We told them rabbit and pheasant were not that unusual to us - although we usually don't eat the whole thing - bones and all - cut into tiny pieces and served in a stew.  That's about when they brought out some stringy root looking things and would not reveal it's identity until we tried it.  We bit down on a bony cartilage surrounded by a rubbery texture and managed to nibble off a small bland chewy piece of meat.  Congratulates to us . . . we just ate duck tongue!

But wait, it gets better . . . On Sunday evening we went to a nice restaurant in town and they ordered something we had seen advertised at our hotel (poster shown).  I'll give you a hint, it's something we saw at TianziShan.

If you guessed, Salamander, you are correct!  They brought it out to us alive before chopping and cooking the slimy green creature.  It's head was the size of my fist, and it was about a foot-and-a-half in length.  The pieces of meat were the texture of steak topped with a layer of blubber and skin.  It was definitely not for me . . . but Bob actually liked the beast!  He even got a bonus prize in his stew . . . disgusting!

Well, on Monday the pressure was really on to produce something unique.  We went outside to see it being cooked on a rotisserie grill,  What is it, you ask?

It's a goat, and it is delicious!  Seriously, it was really good meat - much like the very tender dark meat of a turkey.  It's bones were picked dry by our crew, who were starving for a good meaty meal.  I suppose that a special meal deserves special entertainment, and you can "tune-in" below.

Are you hungry, yet?  Is there any really weird food is left for us to tell you about?  Well, if you consider crunchy sardines, crusty krill, rubbery intestines, potent blood sausage, fatty pork belly, and jelled sweet soup, as "normal", then our usual side dishes were relatively boring.  Thank goodness I love rice and vegetables!  On Tuesday, our final dinner was actually rather good - and thankfully, everyone was content to just enjoy the unique ambiance of the restaurant.

Now, if our meals were not entertaining enough, please continue reading about the Charming Xiangxi Show which we attended on Monday night.  Next door to our hotel was an interesting looking performance venue which showcases the culture of the Tujia tribe. Every night, we were kept awake by the blaring sounds of singing, drums, Chinese shouting and laughter.  This place was a big deal . . . and our group was going to see it for ourselves.  Bob and I both commented that many of the people we saw in Wulingyuan had a native American look to them.  And the statue in front of this building reminded us of the stereotypical Indian.  Could there be a connection?

The show we saw was a combination of music, dance, drama, and acrobatics.  It was a very entertaining performance!  I've added several short video clips as a sample.

One of the funniest performances was an impromptu challenge given to one of Bob's work associates, who emerged as the winning contestant.

Following the show indoors, we were taken outside for another short performance featuring some kind of karate, fire dancing, and blade-walking.


No doubt about it, we were getting an incredible taste of entertainment on this trip to China!

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