Chinese Farm Food: Demolishing a Guangxi Farmer’s Feast in Yangshuo

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Farmer's Lunch, Yangshuo, China

In China, they know how to do lunch on a farm with expertise!

It was about a 45 minute bike ride through the magnificent Yangshuo karst mountain landscape to get there.

I was sweating, breathing at the top of my lungs, and my thirst and hunger reached a peak high.

And then we arrived.

Lin’s traditional farm restaurant in Guangxi Province, China was a cool oasis on the banks of the Yulong River.

All of a sudden I felt at home, sipping on cold Chinese tea while waiting for the sensational Chinese food to be prepared.

Note: A Farmer’s Restaurant in China is an outdoor restaurant, usually surrounded by a farm serving food that is raising in the surrounding area with plenty of fresh vegetables.

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The Family Kitchen

After putting in our giant order, the entire family started rockin’ the open air kitchen.

Rice was cooked outside over an open fire while the main dishes were stir fried in a steamy little enclosed cooking room.

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Little Boy Helping in the Kitchen

Even the little guy got in on the action! He’s going to be a great chef in a few years.

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Pot of Cooked Chinese Rice

I’ve tried countless times to make rice in a normal pot on the stove. It usually results in the center of the rice being edible, but the edges turn out all hard, crusty and basically inedible (I stick with a rice cooker!).

They, on the other hand, cooked our rice in a cast iron pot over charcoal (not even a stove), and the rice was delivered flawlessly. The entire pot was as fluffy as a pillow, it was fragrant, and there wasn’t even a single grain that was burnt or inedible!

Chinese food is often served family style: Everyone receives an individual bowl of rice and shares all main dishes.

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Stir Fried Pumpkin

The dishes emerged from the kitchen one by one – as a lot of Chinese food is served.

The first dish was stir fried pumpkin: It was one of my favorites of the entire meal.

It was made with firm pumpkin, still including the outer skin and stir fried with some spices, cloves of garlic and garnished with green onions.

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A Little Plate of Goodies

Here’s what I was able to fish out for my first few glorious bites!

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The Amazing Chili Garlic Sauce

Though only 2 dishes had been brought out of the kitchen, I was already starting to feel that familiar food generated enlightenment that often comes as the result of eating something delicious.

Even the sauce was out of control. It was a combination of crushed chili peppers, garlic, chives and soy sauce.

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Scrambled Duck Eggs With Chives

At the Chinese Farmer’s Restaurant, duck eggs scrambled up with chives was delivered with precision. It had just a slightly different richer taste from normal chicken eggs.

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Signature Fish and Tofu Platter

The main event was a gigantic platter loaded with pieces of fish and tofu cooked in a scrumptious sauce. The tofu and fish was cooked to almost the same fall-apart-in-your-mouth texture.

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Pork Ribs and Beans

These little chunks of pork ribs mixed with beans was another hit. It was stir fried dry but was still coated in ambrosial flavor.

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Stir Fried Beef and Bamboo Shoots

On a whole, beef in Chinese food is just so much better than in most Thai food. This beef stir fried with baby bamboo shoots, although a bit greasy, was excellent. The combination of those two ingredients is a recipe for favorable dining.

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Stir Fried Taro and Napa Cabbage

A starch that I am personally very fond of is taro – I like everything about it – especially those deep fried taro spring rolls.

Taro is a wonder-plant where all parts of it are edible and a plant that can reproduce itself at phenomenal speeds. The starch is eaten around the world in tropical environments.

It has the texture of a starchy potato – but with a more identifiable flavor.

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Traditional Guangxi Chinese Food

Here’s a shot of the entire meal in all its glory.

Actually, I think a few more dishes were delivered to our table, but at that point I was so enthralled in the cuisine, that I physically couldn’t manage to get my camera out of its bag.

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Eating Chinese Food

This was the general frame that my eyes were peering down at. Bowls of rice, plates of pickings from all the different dishes!

It was like camping in the wilderness, but receiving a meal at a 5 star hotel (but possibly better).

If you are ever in the province of Guangxi, China, in the small town of Yangshuo, the 45 minute bike ride to Lin’s Farmer’s Restaurant is worth every turn of the pedal.

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Comments

  1. says

    That looks amazing Mark! There are few things more satisfying than really experiencing a culture through the food. We tend to find that these kinds of meals anchor our experiences.

    In honor of world food day, I do have to mention that there are over one billion people in the world who are chronically hungry. We need to honor those people by recognizing how fortunate we are and then taking steps to effect positive change.

    • says

      Thanks a lot Canaan! Experiencing a culture through food is really one of the best ways to connect, but it’s so important to remember those that don’t have the pleasure of having all the food they want, nor the nutrients they need. It’s easy to forget when there’s so much food at our tables, that there are so many people in the world that aren’t as fortunate. Thanks for the reminder.

  2. says

    Your photos here are absolutely stunning. If I hadn’t featured you fairly recently in my Recommended Reads, rest assured you’d be there again. Great read. I’m just glad I’ve already eaten or I’d be starving!

  3. paul | walkflypinoy says

    my mouth was watering as i scrolled down to each of the dishes. lol. on cooking rice that’s not on an electric rice cooker, you can actually stir the rice up a bit midway through cooking it, transferring the contents on the side of to the center and the center to the side. that way, everything evenly cooks. i’m from SEA and knowing how to cook rice here is a requirement. haha.

  4. says

    Surely you can cook rice without using a rice cooker?! ;) What an amazing meal to be served with after such a strenuous bike ride. It all looks amazing – especially that chilli garlic sauce! You’ve made me hungry, as usual!
    Julia

  5. AJ in NY says

    Hey Mark. We are heading to Yangshuo in a couple of weeks and would like to try to replicate this amazing meal you were kind enough to share with us. How do we find Lin’s farm restaurant?

    Thanks!

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