Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Tourist Attractions In Foshan, Guangdong, China

Tourist  Attractions in Foshan, Guangdong, China

We made a trip to Foshan in August 2010. However, I only get to record my travels as I have just started blogging about one week ago. SK, my youngest son and I, the three of us travelled to Foshan on our own instead of joining a guided tour. We flew via AirAsia to Guangzhou. From the Baiyun International Airport, we took a cab to Foshan. We had made prior arrangement for accommodation at the Dancing Ray Hotel in Foshan, which is only about 15 to 20 minutes away from Guangzhou

Foshan Ancestral Temple


This is the entrance to the Foshan Ancestral Temple. The Ancestral Temple is easily accessible by bus. We asked for directions from the local Chinese, then took a bus to get there.

We love travelling on our own instead of  joining a guided tour arranged by a travel agency because on our own  we can really get to see the everyday activities of the locals and feel the atmosphere of the place without having to put up with the tight schedule of a travel agency. This way, we get to mingle with the locals and get a feel of their lifestyles, savour their street foods, select a restaurant of our choice anytime when we are hungry and we can browse through the shops and the market place for a bargain  and haggle over prices. 

The famous "Wong Fei-Hung" Memorial Hall is situated inside this Ancestral Temple.

Xiqiao Mountain

Xiqiao Mountain exudes a feeling of calm and peace compared with the hustle and bustle of  Foshan city.  It is an idyllic place with scenic views.

We went up the Xiqiao Mountain by cable car. When we reached the top, the locals who acted as guides were already waiting to offer their services These guides use motorbikes to provide transport for tourists. The motorbike is the only mode of transport available up in the mountain.  It was essential to accept their services as Xiqiao Mountain covers a substantial area with about 9 or 10 tourist spots which is impossible for us to cover the whole area on foot within the same day. Since there were 3 of us, the guides suggested that we hire 2 motorbikes. So, SK rode  pillion on one motorbike while my youngest son and I shared another, with my son sandwiched between the rider and me at the rear end. That's how the 3 of us toured Xiqiao Mountain for the whole of that day. It was exhilarating riding with the wind  blowing in our faces. The guide was well informed and pointed out the interesting features of each spot with accompanying stories or legends.

The "Caves of the Swallows". The locals believed Xiqiao Mountain to be a dormant volcano

A peacock inside the mini zoo. It looked tired and was not in a mood to strut around parading its beautiful plumage to us.

A tired looking bear in the mini zoo. It must be the exceptionally hot weather which caused such lethargy.....and yes we went in August which was during summer.

A fat and succulent bamboo shoot among the vegetation up on Xiqiao Mountain. My mind has been wondering on all the possibilities of gourmet delights that this bamboo shoot can be turned into.......

For those who do not know what to do with a bamboo shoot click here

Another cute cluster of bamboo shoots......and more fantasies on the possible gourmet delights these bamboo shoots could be turned into.......

Front view of the Goddess of Mercy (Guan Yin) sitting atop a plinth. The main temple is below the statue.

A side view of the statue of the Goddess of Mercy over-looking the valley below.

The Goddess of Mercy over-looking the valley below. The view is spectacular.

The Nanfeng Ancient Kiln

See the red drawings of the two "protectors" on both sides of the doors of the back entrance /exit of The Nanfeng Ancient Kiln. They are the Door Gods.

See the creative artworks on this wall?

Earthen pots and bric-bracs on display

There are some gifts & souvenir shops among these brick buildings

A lovely pair of gigantic ceramic mammary glands on display inside the Ancient Kiln

Eat your heart out, Dolly Parton.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Cool Cucumbers To Relieve Sore Throat

Cool Cucumbers To Relieve Sore Throat

Cool !


After days of eating durians, our throats are all inflamed. The whole family needs to cool down. What better way than using the food we eat to cool down the heat in our body naturally.  Do not under estimate the natural way of cure, this is an effective home cure to relieve sore throat.


2 cucumbers
1 tsp of sea salt


1.  Peel off the skin of the cucumbers
2.  Cut into thin slices
3.  Just dip in salt and eat
4.  Mind the amount of salt, dip into the salt very sparingly

It's very refreshing

Braised Pork Belly With Mushrooms, Bamboo Shoots and Black Fungus 五花肉焖冬菇竹笋

Braised Pork Belly With Mushrooms, Bamboo Shoots and Black Fungus 五花肉焖冬菇竹笋


This dish has been handed down from my father-in-law. In my family, or rather in SK's family, the men are better cooks than the womenfolks. The cooking skills seem to be in the genes and appear to have been passed from one generation to the next and it encompasses even the kinsmen in China. When we visited SK's home village in Chaozhou, China, the men were the ones cooking in the kitchen while the womenfolks attended to the supporting functions of cleaning, cutting and the general preparatory work. Well, it's okay with me if I can sit back and enjoy good food ! Cheers to the clan !



500g pork belly
50g dried mushrooms
50g dried black fungus / mook yee
1 can of bamboo shoot
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, cut into thin slices
1 tbsp minced garlic

Sauce ingredients

3 tbsp oyster sauce
3 tbsp black soya sauce
1 heaped tsp salt
2 heaped tsp of sugar
Mix all the ingredients in 1 rice bowl of water

Cornflour Solution

Mix 2 tsp of cornflour with 2 Chinese soup spoons of water

Marinade for mushrooms

3tbsp of shaoxing wine
2 Chinese soup spoon of cooking oil
1 tsp of soy sauce
2 tsp sugar

A Chinese soup spoon





 Preparation of the mushrooms


Soak the mushrooms in water for 1 hour until soft. Any mushrooms that still remain hard despite the soaking should be discarded. Remove the stems and wash thoroughly and squeeze out the remaining water. Stir the marinade ingredients in a bowl  then add the mushrooms to the marinade and mix well.

The marinated mushrooms look plump and juicy with a film of oil

Set aside

Preparation of the black fungus


Soak the black fungus in water until soft

 Cut off the hard parts as shown
Cut into bite size pieces

Set aside

Preparation of the bamboo shoots


Open the can of bamboo shoot. Rinse the bamboo shoots under the tap. Drain off the water and cut into sections as shown.

Set aside

Preparation of the pork belly


Wash the pork belly. Drain away the water. Cut out the fatty parts and remove the skin. 

Set the skin and the fatty parts aside. Do not throw away
 Cut the pork belly into cubes

How to extract lard

Heat wok until very hot, add the skin and fatty parts and fry to extract the lard or the oil. Remove excess lard and set aside. Leave 2 tbsp of the lard in the wok

Add in the cubed pork belly and stir fry quickly over high heat until the pork belly changes to a whitish color

Dish up and set aside





Cooking instructions

1.  Heat wok until very hot, add 2 tbsp of lard
2.  Add the ginger slices and minced garlic and saute until fragrant and light brownish in color
3.  Add in the marinated mushrooms and fry for 3 minutes
4.  Add in the black fungus and bamboo shoots and stir fry for another 3 minutes
5.  Add in the pork pieces and mix evenly with the rest of the ingredients
6.  Add in the sauce ingredients
7.  Add in more water and make sure all the ingredients are covered with water
8.  Let it simmer for 15 to 20 minutes
9.  Add in the cornflour solution
10.  It's ready once the fragrance emits from the wok.
Isn't this mouth-watering ?

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Durian! Durian! The King of Fruits 榴莲水果之王

Durian! Durian! The King of Fruits 榴莲水果之王


A lorry load of durians waiting to be unloaded at the Selayang wholesale market. The durian season is between June and September and is now in full swing.




All these for only RM22 @ RM 2.00 per kilo. I bought 11 kilos of the king of fruits. The durians shown here are those that are grown from seeds instead of the bud grafted varieties. There are two differences between those that are grown from seeds and the bud grafted ones.The first is the taste. Those planted from seeds have got a special oomph to it whereas the bud grafted varieties have less kick. The other difference is the price. The bud grafted ones cost between RM6 to RM13 per kilo depending on the grade.

Three durians sitting on top of the dining table waiting to be cut open. So how do you cut open the durian? Simple, there are lines along the outside of the husk. Just start at the bottom and cut along the lines and yank it open. A ripe durian can be easily opened.
Durians are not harvested. They will drop from the trees when they ripen, all you need to do is to go around collecting them. Only ripe durians can be eaten.
So how do you choose ripe durians?
Simple, a raw durian is heavy and it gives out a raw smell like freshly cut grass. Whereas, a ripe one feels light and it gives out an overpowering fragrant smell. Take a sniff at the bottom of the fruit.
Not all durians taste the same. Some have white flesh and taste sweet like milk. Others are yellowish with a thick creamy taste. Yet others have a slight greenish tinge and a slight bitter taste.

This one has got an orange tinge  to it.


Just awesome!

Delicious and inviting!

More durians anyone?

Stir-Fried Bitter Gourd With Shrimps 苦瓜炒虾

Stir-Fried Bitter Gourd With Shrimps 苦瓜炒虾


Tastes heavenly with porridge on a hot and sunny day
Bitter gourd is not a popular vegetable with many people because of its bitter taste. However,  my family loves this dish especially my daughter and my eldest son. Both of them tend to specifically request for this home-cooked dish of stir-fried bitter gourd with shrimps in oyster sauce, whenever they came home after a stint abroad. This dish goes very well with rice and even better with porridge. We Chinese believe that the bitter gourd has medicinal properties of cleansing the body and ridding it of  toxins. On top of that, it has a "cooling " effect on one's body.

Sharing tips and pointers as I prepare the ingredients......

I bought this very fat, nice and half-ripen bitter gourd which is free from dents and blemishes.  The grooves are far apart which means this bitter gourd will not be too bitter as compared to those which are narrow and green.  I prefer half-ripen bitter gourd as it tastes better, well to me anyway!

Ripe or half-ripen bitter gourds have red seeds inside. Cut the bitter gourd into two halves length-wise and remove the seeds and  pith

Slice the bitter gourd into very thin slices

Next, remove the shells of the shrimps.....

Then you cut a slit along the back of the shrimp and remove the vein


500g bitter gourd
200g shrimps ( nett weight after removing the shells )
1 tbsp minced garlic 
3 tbsp cooking oil

Sauce A

3 tbsp of oyster sauce
1 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
Dissolve the above 3 ingredients in 1 rice bowl of water

Thickening solution

Mix 1 tsp of cornflour with 1 Chinese soup spoon of water

Cooking instructions

1. Heat wok till very hot
2. Add in cooking oil
3. When the cooking oil is hot, add in the minced garlic
4. Saute until fragrant, add in the shrimps and stir fry for 1 to 2 minutes
5. Add in the sliced bitter gourd and stir fry quickly to mix evenly 
6. Add in sauce A and let it boil until the bitter gourd turns soft. If the water is insufficient just add more
7. Add in the thickening solution and stir well for another minute
8. Dish up and serve

The combination of flavours is unbelievably good

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Double-Boiled Mushroom & Scallop Soup 香菇干贝炖老鸡

Double-Boiled Mushroom & Scallop Soup 香菇干贝炖老鸡

The lovely soup after double boiling for 3 hours

The Chinese believe that double-boiled soups with chicken and Chinese herbs are exceptionally nutritious and good for health.


The ingredients :

The dry ingredients :

Top left - Red dates :  Use seedless red dates

Top Center - American ginseng / Pau Sum

Top right - Wolberries

Bottom - Dried scallops

 Mushrooms :

1.  Soak the dried mushrooms until soft

2.  Remove the stems

3.  Rinse under the  running tap and squeeze out the water

Old Chicken :

 1. Use 3/4 of an old chicken

2. Cut into chunks as shown

3..Remove skin and fat

4. Clean and wash

5. Drain off excess water



3/4 old chicken
50g dried mushrooms
15g red dates
1 tbsp wolfberries
40g scallops
5 slices American Ginseng / pau sum
2 tsp salt, or to taste

The Ceramic Pot for double-boiling

The empty pot

The inner cover of the ceramic pot

This is how you cover the ceramic pot
The outer cover of the ceramic pot

This  is the complete set-up of the ceramic pot

A step-by-step instruction on how to place the ingredients together 


Rinse the scallops with water and place it together with other ingredients at the bottom

Add in the chicken pieces and top up with 1 litre of water. This ceramic pot can contain about 1.2 litres of water. Do not fill it to the brim

Place  both lids accordingly. Place the ceramic pot into a larger aluminium pot and fill the aluminium pot with water as shown. Remember to top up the water in the aluminium pot as the water will evaporate during the course of the cooking

Cover the aluminium pot and start cooking for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

The sumptuous end result

 Steaming hot, nutritious goodness !

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