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.
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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Even the little guy got in on the action! He’s going to be a great chef in a few years.
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.
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.
Here’s what I was able to fish out for my first few glorious bites!
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.
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.
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.
These little chunks of pork ribs mixed with beans was another hit. It was stir fried dry but was still coated in ambrosial flavor.
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.
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.
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.
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.