Tag: street food

China Travels: Xi’an and the Terracotta Army

China Travels: Xi’an and the Terracotta Army

Last week it was Golden Week and there is much to tell but before that, I have to finish recapping our week of China Travels 🙂

After Luoyang, the second stop of our trip was Xi’an. The major attraction is of course the Terracotta Army, about an hour outside of the city, but Xi’an itself also has lots of cool stuff to see. Here is what we managed to do:

Muslim Quarter

On our first morning we walked past the Bell Tower and the Drum Tower to the Muslim Quarter. There is a ton of different street food and we tried a few different things including sticky rice, pomegranate juice, scallion pancakes, yogurt, lamb skewers and a bun stuffed with lamb meat. Thankfully, we also took a food tour the next day so we could try even more goodies.

Great Mosque

The Great Mosque is located in the Muslim Quarter and it’s one of the biggest and oldest mosques in China. It consists of several courtyards and different archways and buildings. It’s built in traditional Chinese style and looks more like a temple. However, there are some inscriptions in Arabic and Islamic art, so it takes a little exploring to discover it’s really a mosque.

City Wall

Xi’an also has one of the oldest, biggest and best preserved city walls in China. It wraps around the inner city and has a total length of 14 kilometers. It is a massive wall: 12 meters tall and also 12-14 meters wide at the top and you can walk or cycle the whole thing. We walked a portion of it and it is really impressive!

Big Wild Goose Pagoda

We came for the water show in front of the pagoda which is supposed to be really cool, but sadly it was not running the week we were there. So all we got was a couple of photos of the outside and silly selfies 🙂

Morning Food Tour

As already mentioned a few times, I love going on Food Tours to discover all the local goodies. In Xi’an we went with Lost Plate, which offers a breakfast tour by tuk tuk. We tried fried beef stuffed buns, a spicy stew with meatballs and veggies, some bread, a persimmon and a sesame red bean “donut”, some moon cake (it was right before mid autumn festival) and finally delicious hand-pulled noodles in a beef sauce – I think everyone’s favorite dish. Or maybe it was the fried beef bun? 🙂 In any case, we all left full and happy.

Terracotta Army

And finally, one of the trip highlights: The Terracotta Warriors of China’s First Emperor. We visited all 3 pits and it was really cool to see, definitely an item on the China Bucket List. It’s crazy to think that the statues are over 2,200 years old but were only discovered 40 years ago. While most pictures only show the rebuilt part, the site is still a huge work in progress, so it would be cool to go back in 20 years to see it again.

Xi’an by Night

While we were lazy at the hotel, Thorben headed back to the Bell Tower, Drum Tower and Muslim quarter to capture some pretty pictures by night.

Shanghai Street Eats Breakfast Foodie Tour

Shanghai Street Eats Breakfast Foodie Tour

After the delicious foodie tour in Hong Kong, I looked up what UnTour Food Tours offers in Shanghai. One, because it was fun and delicious and two, because the flyer I got in Hong Kong included a 10% off voucher 🙂 The one that spoke to me was the Shanghai Street Eats Breakfast so that’s what Ellie and I did on Sunday morning. Unfortunately the 9am tour was already fully booked, so I dragged myself out of bed for the 8am one. Spoiler: It was worth it.

We started at Xiangyang Park where we got a good glimpse of typical morning park activities: Water calligraphy, group sword swinging, Tai Chi and dancing. Our first stop was a street corner with a few different stalls. We tried jianbing (Shanghai pancake), fried dough sticks (kind of like unsweetened churros) dipped in fresh soy milk, savory and sweet baozi (buns), fried dumplings and potstickers with pork filling. My favorite was the jianbing and watching the lady whip them up in record time. Luckily, our apartment is only a couple blocks away so I’ll be back to this magical place soon.

Next, we stopped at a little cafe for some drinks and then wandered through some alleyways. Our destination was a shop which served hand-pulled noodles in scallion oil and soy sauce – yum! Watching the guy pulling the noodles was an attraction by himself. He was so fast I’m half convinced he just had the thin noodles up his sleeve before he started. Our guide Christina risked her life for us by cutting up the noodles with scissors to divide them (bad luck, because long noodles = long life!) 🙂 We also had bamboo tofu with green peppers which was good and spicy.

After a little trip through the wet market, we went to a dumpling shop and had delicious xiaolongbao (soup dumplings) and wonton soup. After that I was convinced I could not eat anything more but there’s always room for dessert 🙂 We got bubble waffles which were crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, so just perfect.

Overall it was a fantastic tour with a great guide. Christina, a Canadian/Cantonese who has been living in China for 8 years, was really nice, told us lots of interesting stories and pointed out buildings I have walked by lots of times without noticing. Of course I may have also liked her because she fed us a lot and wore an awesome shirt.

Seoul Food 

Seoul Food 

Right after we arrived we went to a Korean restaurant. They gave us some appetizers, including kimchi, the Korean spicy Sauerkraut. I had cold buckwheat noodles: cold as in there was actual ice cubes swimming in the broth. Thorben got pretty much the opposite: a boiling beef dish. It was alright, the flavor was good, the noodles a bit slimey, so nothing I’d come back for.

The next day we ate at another Korean restaurant in Insadong for lunch. We had a stew with veggies, beef and giant dumplings in it. The dumplings were probably my favorite Korean food. Of course it came with a side of kimchi 🙂 After lunch we went to a cafe and had a mango dessert which was mostly shaved ice and syrup under the ice cream. And yes, those are pine nuts in my pomegranate tea.

We also wanted to try some Korean street food so we went to the shopping district Myeongdong where they had tons of carts lined up. I had a tornado potato Thorben said tasted like old oil but I thought it was good 🙂 Also, I got some fried cheese on a stick that came with a sort of condensed milk sauce which was a bit of a strange combination but still pretty tasty, and an bread thing that was sweet on the outside but had a hard boiled egg on the inside. On the last day I also tried the Korean honey ice cream in a fish shaped waffle which sadly looked much better than it tasted.

Thorben had some octopus, which they torched before serving it. Not sure if that adds flavor or is just cool to watch. After that he got lemon honey shrimp, also flamed, then sweet potatoe chips and Korean sushi.  It was really fun to see and try the different foods. There were so many to choose from so I’m sure there is something for everyone.

Overall, I have to admit that I wasn’t crazy about the food in Seoul which was a bit disappointing because I kept reading how amazing it is. Maybe my expectations were too high. There were some things that were pretty good but overall I don’t think Korean will make it into our diet on a regular basis. 

On our last night we didn’t really feel like eating Korean again so went to Outback and had some delicious steak 🙂