My First Meal In Guilin

Posted by : foongpc | Wednesday, August 19, 2009 | Published in

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After checking into the overrated Backstreet Youth Hostel and taking a short rest, we went out for lunch.

We came across this restaurant and decided to have lunch there.

restaurant front

If you can read Chinese, you would know that it is called Xi Shui Cui Yu Xuan. Now my Mandarin sucks so I wouldn't know the meaning of that! I could only recognise the characters shui (water) and yu (fish). Luckily though, Jam translated for me and it means "a small restaurant for fresh fish from the stream" or something like that.

In fact, throughout my whole trip, I had to rely on Jam and his friend to help with conversing with the locals. I really do not know how I would cope if I went there on my own! So if you plan to travel to China alone, make sure you know how to converse in Mandarin. At least know the basics!

The interior of the restaurant was quite cosy.

restaurant interior

And I liked the way they had the eating utensils all nicely wrapped and sealed. Very hygienic indeed!

plate and bowls 2

These were what we ate.

pork and yam in bamboo

Dong-po pork. It is actually pork meat and yam cooked in bamboo. Really nice and delicious!

yam in bamboo

The yam were mostly located at the bottom after we had eaten the pork at the top.

vegetables

We also had long beans with bittergourd.

soup 2.2

And soup with mushrooms.

Of course, as in a typical Chinese meal, we must have rice! So here's my plate of rice with the side dishes.

my plate

Oh, I must not forget to mention the tea. Yes, they have this very nice luo han guo tea!

lo han guo tea

I could not stop drinking it! And it felt so good on my throat especially after walking outside in the hot sun!

Luo han guo fruits are grown mainly in the mountains of Guilin. They are also found in other parts of China but mostly in the Southwestern Chinese province of Guangxi, where Guilin is located. It is said that the mountains lend the plants shadows and are often surrounded by mists, thereby protecting the plants from the sun.

Is it any wonder that during my stay in Guilin, I could see many road side stalls and shops selling the luo han guo fruits!

For the uninitiated, this is how the fresh fruits on the tree look like.



They are green in colour but I have yet to see them being sold in the fresh form. The ones that were sold in the night market and road side stalls were usually the dried form, in brown colour. Like the photo which I took from the night market below. (bottom left)

luo han guo 2

I guess the fruit cannot be stored in the fresh form, so you never see people eat it fresh. In fact, it is never really eaten. The dried fruit is instead, cut open and boiled in water to make a sweet aromatic drink.

For your information, luo han guo is especially beneficial for health and is most useful for heatstroke, cough, sore throat and other respiratory problems. It also acts as a natural sweetener. In fact, it is 300 times sweeter than sugar, but minus the high calories!

Now I am craving for that luo han guo tea! I wonder if the tea is sold in Malaysia! We actually came back to this restaurant for a second time during our trip to enjoy the good food and the luo han guo tea! But that would be a post for another day.

I was really satisfied with my very first meal in Guilin. The price of our lunch came to 46 yuan, which is just 15.33 yuan (or RM8) per person! I learnt that there was a special discount for lunch. Now is that cheap or what!

Coming up next : The Elephant Trunk Hill

FIRST COMMENTER

(92) Comments

  1. Mei Teng said...

    Luo han guo is typically used in chinese herbal drinks. I can't really tell the difference with the herbal drinks we have here as most of them are dark coloured liquid.

    Yam and bittergourd are my favs. Not the pork though. And RM8 is a really good deal.

    August 19, 2009 at 8:49 AM
  2. Life Ramblings said...

    luo han guo is quite common in M'sia. those fruits are available in chinese medicated hall or wet markets.

    August 19, 2009 at 9:16 AM
  3. Life Ramblings said...

    i don't take pork no matter how delicious it is.

    August 19, 2009 at 9:18 AM
  4. [SK] said...

    the interior of that restaurant seems a bit westernised, not really matching with what they are selling woh.. :p

    August 19, 2009 at 11:17 AM
  5. Borneo Falcon said...

    Wow! Can live like a lard over there

    August 19, 2009 at 11:17 AM
  6. [SK] said...

    hmmm, reading your writing before looking at the photo, i would have thought they only sealed the chopsticks.. i never expect they have all the cups, glasses, bowls and plates wrapped in plastics!! haha, that was kind of weird actually.. :D

    August 19, 2009 at 11:18 AM
  7. [SK] said...

    hmmm, dong-po pork looks fattening and i normally don't fancy the fat.. anyway, i love the meat sauce and it is indeed heaven to have it with your steam rice, i can just finish the whole portion of rice with just the sauce.. oh, and the yam must be very delicious, totally infused with the meat sauce..

    August 19, 2009 at 11:20 AM
  8. [SK] said...

    hey, why didn't you bought some luo han guo tea from there?? i don't think you can find it common here..

    August 19, 2009 at 11:21 AM
  9. [SK] said...

    food in China is always so cheap.. i remember being in Beijing and Shanghai, heavy meals but relatively low price.. and i think Guilin should be even cheaper right?? :)

    August 19, 2009 at 11:23 AM
  10. annant said...

    da tongpo porkie look so fatty bom bom :| *faint*

    it's gems to u guys =.=

    August 19, 2009 at 11:23 AM
  11. iamthewitch said...

    Oh I remember those wrapped utensils! I experienced that when I was in Beijing too! But not all restaurants practice that though. And the pork looked FATTY!!! OMG :P

    August 19, 2009 at 11:35 AM
  12. Che-Cheh said...

    I'm a fan of luo han guo. Luo han guo tea? wah definitely must try. I guess can go ask around at the tea specialty shops here.

    The dong po so fatty. wah high cholesterol! haha

    August 19, 2009 at 11:45 AM
  13. ladyviral said...

    Morning foong!

    Wow, the pork cooked in bamboo looks yummy! Luo Han Guo here comes in the dried version I think and you have to boil it like those herbal drink. Haven't heard of Luo Han Guo tea here before. Should of bought some back and maybe send us some too haha! the restaurant looks nice... and very hygienic indeed. But Are those disposable utensils? Or each time after they clean it up, they wrap it up like that to be put on the table?

    August 19, 2009 at 11:51 AM
  14. ladyviral said...

    Oh I got your souvenir, foong... I posted it up too in my blog :P including your handwriting! Hope you don't mind hehee~ I like your handwriting.

    August 19, 2009 at 11:52 AM
  15. M-Knight said...

    I remember the meal at Guilin expecially the Dong-po pork is very nice

    August 19, 2009 at 11:55 AM
  16. Tekkaus said...

    So your first meal was your lunch? This restaurant looks beautiful! Yeah! I know it has something to do with fish...and water..Haha :D I can only recognise these 2 words.

    August 19, 2009 at 12:15 PM
  17. Tekkaus said...

    So Jam & Co. were your translator? No problem I can converse in fluent Mandarin since I studies in Chinese Primary School :)

    August 19, 2009 at 12:17 PM
  18. Tekkaus said...

    WOW! Eating utensils are actually wrapped? This is the first time I have seen it? That hygienic? I wish our mamak could do that too. LOL :D Impossible right?

    August 19, 2009 at 12:19 PM
  19. Tekkaus said...

    Prok meat and yam cooked in bamboo? Huh? I have never tried this before. I have never taste a dish which is the combination of pork and yam. I wonder if we have this here in Malacca.

    August 19, 2009 at 12:20 PM
  20. Tekkaus said...

    The other dishes look normal. Ha :D But like you said, we chinese must makan nasi!:) But I bet the experience you had while enjoying your meal is really special right?

    August 19, 2009 at 12:21 PM
  21. Tekkaus said...

    Luo han guo! I know this fruits. I use to cook it with herbal tea when I work part time in Yong Tau Fu restaurant. Yeah! I have never seen them being sold in fresh form. I can only see it in its "Chocolate" form.

    300x sweeter but minus the calories? That amazing?

    August 19, 2009 at 12:23 PM
  22. khengsiong said...

    If you are traveling alone in China, ask the hotel staff to write down where you want to go on a piece of paper. Many lao wai have done that. You are not the only one who can't read Chinese.

    The dong-po pork looks very fatty...

    August 19, 2009 at 12:44 PM
  23. TZ said...

    hmmm... the pork so fat ... how many hours of gym to burnt it ... kakaka :p

    August 19, 2009 at 1:48 PM
  24. Superman said...

    That drink is good for us especially on the hot weather.

    August 19, 2009 at 2:24 PM
  25. Shingo T said...

    So Luo Han Guo grows on trees. =p

    I love any drinks with Luo han guo inside. =p

    August 19, 2009 at 2:30 PM
  26. Nick Phillips said...

    I love pork, but somehow that one looks a bit suspect la ... LOL!

    August 19, 2009 at 2:52 PM
  27. BURA

    Luo Han Guo tea is sold in 325ml can (red coloured label). Cheapest I found is in Giant Sunway Pyramid selling RM 10 for 6 cans. Other places like Carrefour selling about RM2.00 - RM2.50 per can. They are not readily available in most shops and supermarkets. Don't know why so limited in the market. Maybe its new and the manufacturer testing the market . Not sure of other places though.
    Ya, it is very refreshing when drink chilled !

    August 19, 2009 at 3:33 PM
  28. Monica said...

    the Dong-po (what is Dong-po??) pork looks delicious Foong!

    August 19, 2009 at 5:58 PM
  29. Monica said...

    I love drinking luo han guo tea! ;)

    August 19, 2009 at 6:02 PM
  30. Bengbeng said...

    the bittergourd looks lovely

    August 19, 2009 at 9:33 PM
  31. foongpc said...

    mei teng, I like to boil luo han guo to drink especially when I have cough. Yes, RM8 is a pretty good deal! : )

    August 19, 2009 at 10:07 PM
  32. foongpc said...

    life ramblings, I wonder those luo han guo in Malaysia are grown here or imported from China?

    You don't take pork? I don't take it often, just once in a while. Since it's considered as red meat, I try to minimise eating it.

    August 19, 2009 at 10:09 PM
  33. foongpc said...

    SK, well, it's a modern looking restaurant. Haha!

    Yeah, all the eating utensils were sealed. Don't see this kind of thing in Malaysia, yes?

    Haha! LOL at the way you describe the dong po pork and yam! It was very tasty with the rice indeed!
    But the pork is really fattening - that's why it is delicious lah! Haha!

    I actually did buy some luo han guo tea from there although it was exactly the same as the one I drank at the restaurant.

    I guess food in Guilin is cheaper than in Shanghai or Beijing : )

    August 19, 2009 at 10:17 PM
  34. foongpc said...

    borneo falcon, yes indeed! : )

    August 19, 2009 at 10:17 PM
  35. foongpc said...

    annant, yeah, it's really fat! I normally don't eat such fatty pork, I prefer lean ones, but since I was on holiday, it's OK lah! : )

    August 19, 2009 at 10:22 PM
  36. foongpc said...

    iamthewitch, oh you can find those wrapped utensils in Beijing too? First time I see such a thing cos never see here in Malaysia. Yes, the pork is really fat! : )

    August 19, 2009 at 10:25 PM
  37. foongpc said...

    che-cheh, the luo han guo tea is really nice! I fell in love with it! Yeah, I know the fatty pork is very high cholesterol, but once in a while is Ok, I normally don't eat such fatty pork! : )

    August 19, 2009 at 10:32 PM
  38. foongpc said...

    ladyviral, those utensils are not disposable. I think they wash them and then repack and seal them.

    I actually brought some luo han guo tea back but it's not exactly the same as the ones I drank at the restaurant.

    Thanks for posting about my souvenir on your blog. My handwriting? I don't mind at all! : )

    August 19, 2009 at 10:42 PM
  39. foongpc said...

    M-knight, so you went to Guilin and tried the dong po pork too? Thanks for dropping by! : )

    August 19, 2009 at 10:44 PM
  40. foongpc said...

    tekkaus, good thing you can talk in Mandarin even though you don't read Mandarin well! No problem for you to travel to China on your own! : )

    Our mamak with wrapped up utensils? Will never happen! haha!

    The pork and yam combination is very tasty! Hope you can try it one day!

    You've worked part time in restaurant before? That's new to me! Yes, the luo han guo is an amazing fruit! : )

    August 19, 2009 at 10:49 PM
  41. foongpc said...

    khengsiong, well I will definitely do that if I travel alone, but now with two companions who can speak Mandarin, I don't really need to do that, do I? : )

    August 19, 2009 at 10:53 PM
  42. foongpc said...

    TZ, no problem! We walked and climbed so much in Guilin I think all the fats I gained from the fatty dong po pork were burned off within hours! Haha!

    August 19, 2009 at 10:54 PM
  43. foongpc said...

    superman, yes, it's indeed a good drink on a hot day : )

    August 19, 2009 at 10:56 PM
  44. foongpc said...

    shingo T, yes, they grow on trees! You think you will love the luo han guo tea! : )

    August 19, 2009 at 10:58 PM
  45. foongpc said...

    nick phillips, suspect? What do you mean? It's genuine pork.

    August 19, 2009 at 10:59 PM
  46. foongpc said...

    bura, really? Didn't know Malaysia have such a drink! Thanks for telling me! But I have a feeling these drinks contain sugar and preservatives. Prefer those natural tea, not those in tins and cans : )

    August 19, 2009 at 11:03 PM
  47. foongpc said...

    monica, I'm not sure why it is called dong po, I guess dong po is the name of a person? Anyone knows?

    August 19, 2009 at 11:05 PM
  48. foongpc said...

    bengbeng, I guess you like bittergourd? Yes, it was indeed a lovely dish : )

    August 19, 2009 at 11:06 PM
  49. manglish said...

    oooo...the Dong Po is to die for...:)...btw i think u r right, Dong Po is the name of a person, like a famous poet or something

    August 20, 2009 at 12:30 AM
  50. zamspotte said...

    from last entry... I mean, can I follow you?? sorry to ask, but are there any halal restaurant??

    August 20, 2009 at 12:31 AM
  51. day-dreamer said...

    The dong bor yok looked really oily... hahaha~

    August 20, 2009 at 1:28 AM
  52. SJ said...

    it must be real nice and tempting savouring food from the bamboo. haha.

    August 20, 2009 at 3:57 AM
  53. Ayie said...

    I think the price is just right, almost same with what we paid for before and it was years ago. The pork looks appetizing, I think it is since you didn't comment on it. That tea you had makes ma all curious. So sweet tea is it? You didn't buy teas to bring back home?

    i like the exterior facade of the restaurant =)

    August 20, 2009 at 4:53 AM
  54. levian said...

    ah the pork looks inviting! their tea too, must be so soothing to have those down your throat. :) so it is very hot to go there around this month of the year?

    August 20, 2009 at 8:22 AM
  55. -eiling- said...

    I can only see fats and no meat from your dong-po pork! scary la...

    August 20, 2009 at 10:39 AM
  56. Robo said...

    Really nice restaurant to dine in. Luo han guo tea can easily spot along the road side around Johor Bahru area...
    RM8 for the meal is consider cheap & good! :)

    August 20, 2009 at 12:20 PM
  57. ~dolly~ said...

    haha.. hi.. dropping by..
    but dong bo rou, not cook in pot wan meh.. why that one cook in bamboo? hahaha...
    i want to go china too.. One day.. Some day, in the future!

    August 20, 2009 at 12:40 PM
  58. HappySurfer said...

    The restaurant looks nice, both exterior and interior. At a glance, I thought it was a Japanese restaurant, with green bushes and such.

    I found something on dong-po pork on Wikipedia. The dish looks yummy and well-cooked tho a tad too fatty. Still, good food shouldn't be wasted, eh? I can imagine its aroma and eaten with hot steaming rice with the sauce drizzled over the steaming rice. Yum!

    Tekkaus, the Hakka people has a famous dish that is cooked using pork and yam and it can be ordered from most Chinese restaurants.

    August 20, 2009 at 12:54 PM
  59. HappySurfer said...

    The luo han guo fruits look so lovely. I thought they were young pomeloes. A lovely shot, Foong. I like it very much.

    Did you have the chance to feel a green fruit in your hand? I'm curious to know whether it is heavy as the dried fruits are very light.

    I don't think I'd enjoy the tea as much as the drink we serve here probably because besides the guo itself, dried longans are also added and sometimes dried winter melon slices. A cooling drink no doubt so not to be taken in excess for those who have a cooling nature.

    That cup of tea, if hot, must have gone down very well with the dong-po yoke, eh?

    August 20, 2009 at 1:00 PM
  60. HappySurfer said...

    So, did you buy back any whole guos for your mom and aunties? They'd make great gifts. Or perhaps travelling light prevented you from shopping too much. I know the feeling. Only when we arrive home, we regret not buying the things we so badly wanted to acquire. haha..

    No matter, I'd say that first pleasant meal sure gave you a good start to a holiday in Guilin.

    August 20, 2009 at 1:07 PM
  61. J2Kfm said...

    hey that IS cheap. should've ordered more dishes lah, see see what's their specialties! :)

    August 20, 2009 at 2:16 PM
  62. jam said...

    Haha, you could still actually remember the price of the meal, mate! Bravo!

    August 20, 2009 at 3:14 PM
  63. foongpc said...

    manglish, so I am correct? Dong po is the name of a person, like a famous poet?

    August 20, 2009 at 5:53 PM
  64. foongpc said...

    zamspotte, sure you can follow me : )

    I'm not sure if there's any halal restaurant because I did not purposely go around finding for halal restaurants. But most of the restaurants I went to have pork in their menu.

    August 20, 2009 at 5:57 PM
  65. foongpc said...

    day-dreamer, it's quite oily : )

    August 20, 2009 at 5:58 PM
  66. foongpc said...

    SJ, it's nice indeed. Thanks for dropping by! : )

    August 20, 2009 at 5:59 PM
  67. foongpc said...

    ayie, so it was that cheap last time? Maybe it was cheap for me because of the discount?

    Well, the pork was appetizing indeed, but honestly, I do not normally eat fatty pork like this, most of the time, I eat lean meat and throw away the fat! But I'll make it an exception during holidays : )

    The luo han guo tea is just mildly sweet, not as sweet as the normal luo han guo drink that we normally boil to drink. I did brought back luo han guo tea though it did not taste the same as the one I had at the restaurant.

    August 20, 2009 at 6:04 PM
  68. foongpc said...

    levian, yes the tea was really soothing! And yes, it was very hot, as hot as Malaysia. I suffered from sunburn even though I applied sunblock. I guess it's because I forgot to re-apply the sunblock after a few hours : )

    August 20, 2009 at 6:08 PM
  69. foongpc said...

    eiling, haha! That's the way most people like it! : )

    August 20, 2009 at 6:09 PM
  70. foongpc said...

    robo, oh JB have luo han guo tea? Then I think KL should have also.

    Yes, RM8 is very cheap indeed! : )

    August 20, 2009 at 6:11 PM
  71. foongpc said...

    dolly, thanks for dropping by! Aiya! Don't ask me about how to cook cos I don't cook! I think this dong po pork is special cos it's cooked in bamboo.

    Oh yes, you must go China for a holiday! : )

    August 20, 2009 at 6:16 PM
  72. foongpc said...

    happysurfer, yeah the restaurant looked nice from outside and inside.

    Oh, thanks for checking about the dong po pork on Wikipedia! I guess it's really fat but once in a while, especially during holidays is OK for me.

    Actually, I have never touched the green luo han guo fruit before so I wouldn't know if it's heavy or light!

    The tea is different from the cooling drink we have here in Malaysia with those added longans and winter melon. It is pure tea and luo han guo which I find to be very aromatic and addictive. I have not drank it cold before but I think I prefer to drink it hot. And you are right - it did go down very well with the dong po pork!

    No I did not buy back whole fruits cos I think we can buy them in Malaysia. And yes, I did not want to pay more for added luggage weight when I check in at the airport!

    Yup, the meal was indeed a great start to my holidays in Guilin! : )

    August 20, 2009 at 6:28 PM
  73. foongpc said...

    J2Kfm, haha! We did not want to stuff ourselves full cos we need to do a lot of walking after that! : )

    August 20, 2009 at 6:30 PM
  74. foongpc said...

    jam, I remember this one as it was so cheap! Haha! But then again, I actually recorded all the expenses during my trip so that I can blog about the price whether cheap or expensive and also as a guideline to my readers who plan to go to Guilin : )

    August 20, 2009 at 6:36 PM
  75. zamspotte said...

    alamak!!! So, if I plan to go there, I must bring along the 'super' instant noodle.... Actually, I wish to go to the Xinjiang province... but, money + time are not allowed me to go there... (and oso the state of the place right now)

    August 20, 2009 at 7:06 PM
  76. foongpc said...

    zamspotte, I think you would need to follow a tour group to go China. At least, the tour agency will be able to bring you to restaurants that are halal. maybe follow those tours that cater specially for muslims? : )

    August 20, 2009 at 7:32 PM
  77. lina said...

    eeee.... so geram. Tried to comment few times but by the time I press enter, my internet connection failed me.

    August 20, 2009 at 9:16 PM
  78. lina said...

    you didn't back the fruit? Aiseh, otherwise can ask you to brew some tea for me and Mei Teng. :D

    August 20, 2009 at 9:17 PM
  79. lina said...

    foong,
    For us, we recorded all our expenses during our trips too. Much easier to check back expenses and for blogging purposes too. :D

    And for expenses that has no receipts, we took pictures of them for reference.

    August 20, 2009 at 9:19 PM
  80. lina said...

    "you didn't back the fruit?" is actually you didn't bring back the fruit? Too excited typing. LOL

    Wah! SO enjoytable spamming foong's post.

    August 20, 2009 at 9:21 PM
  81. Ai Shiang said...

    Oooh! The Dong-po pork looks absolutely inviting.

    Waiting to see more photos from your trip.

    August 20, 2009 at 9:54 PM
  82. Ayie said...

    only cheaper before coz i travelled in china years ago. That makes a lot of difference, right?

    maybe with a little research you can make that tea taste better on your next try =)

    August 21, 2009 at 12:27 AM
  83. bluedreamer27 said...

    oh looks good ..is it a sweetened pork?

    August 21, 2009 at 2:05 AM
  84. Willie said...

    I love porks so much!

    August 21, 2009 at 4:05 PM
  85. lina said...

    foong has been pretty quiet. Where is foong? :D

    August 21, 2009 at 9:48 PM
  86. foongpc said...

    lina, sorry, very busy today! Hope your internet connection is OK now.

    No didn't buy back the fruit cos can actually buy here in Malaysia from chinese medicine shops. Besides don't want to add more weight to my luggage. haha!

    You record all your expenses during your trip? Hi-five! : ) Yes, definitely make it easier for blogging purposes, how to remember everything right? In fact, during my trip, I started to forget what I did and how much I spent after a few days. Haha!

    You are welcome to spam my posts anytime! LOL! : )

    August 22, 2009 at 12:09 AM
  87. foongpc said...

    ai shiang, more photos coming up! : )

    August 22, 2009 at 12:10 AM
  88. foongpc said...

    ayie, I don't think I have the time to experiment with the tea. I think I'll just drink and enjoy it as it is : )

    August 22, 2009 at 12:12 AM
  89. foongpc said...

    bluedreamer27, sweetened? No it's not sweetened pork : )

    August 22, 2009 at 12:12 AM
  90. foongpc said...

    willie wow! So you are a fan of pork meat? Don't eat so much yes? It's not good for health! : )

    August 22, 2009 at 12:13 AM
  91. kenwooi said...

    looks okay.. but i wont fancy such food.. =)

    kenwooi.com

    August 23, 2009 at 9:24 PM
  92. Haha

    WOW! Dong-po pork is my favourite dish...a dream comes true!...just taste it....hungry now...

    August 29, 2009 at 10:34 AM