Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Feng Huang Town (凤凰古镇 aka Phoenix Old Town) @ Hunan (湖南), China (中国)

A quaint little town with over 200 buildings dated from the Ming and Qing dynasties; it is heavily promoted as the most beautiful old town in China.

I totally agree since it exudes a deep nostalgic charm without the capitalist commercialization typical of any tourist attraction; it was just so relaxing, strolling along the stone pavements and marveling at the splendid well-preserved architecture completed centuries ago.

Guess what the most important thing is?

It has not been totally invaded by the Caucasians! In my two days one night stay, I saw only one group of Caucasians and they were part of a tour group! Thank god! Without this group of ethnic group (I am totally not against Caucasians), prices were really economical.

It was so non-touristy when you can buy a piece of pork on the go (above) or see the locals washing their laundry by the riverside (below)!

To show how economical prices were; One Jin (500 grams) of Kiwi cost only RMB 3 (approximate 67 Singapore cents) while a haircut cost RMB 8 and a bowl of tofu cost RMB 2!

As I mentioned in my previous posting, the local delicacy in FengHuang is ginger sweet, which tasted really good with the non-teeth-stickiness of malt sugar, the slight crunch of sesame seeds and an obvious tinge of spiciness! Not chilli hot but ginger hot!

Out of the blue general knowledge question; anyone knows where Kiwi fruits originated from? Not New Zealand hor!! They originated from Southern China and they were HUGE (twice the size we usually have in Singapore)!!!!

That explained why there were so many Kiwi-related products; including dried kiwi fruits, kiwi juice etc. Other local delicacies include Hammer sweet, which tasted like a softer Gong Tng.

An old lady from the Tujia minority.. Or was she from the Miao minority?

Since this ancient town has a big ratio of population from the Miao and Tujia minorities, you can easily find Miao and Tujia cuisines. Wild life cuisine seemed to be rather popular there as well; I can find golden pheasant, rabbits, snakes and even prairie dogs! I din try any since all most of them were too adorable to be eaten. Plus, they looked so pitiful…

A pedestrian bridge connecting two sides of the town. Walk bravely like the man (circle)!

Back to the town, one of the highlights for this charming old town is when night falls and the purpose built lights illuminate the centuries-old buildings, portraying them in an entirely different dimension that looked fake yet serenely beautiful. I was, however, quite disappointed that only a small area participated in the light-up; was expecting at least 75% of the town or at least the whole stretch of the river.

Still, it is beautiful right?

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