Cooking Chinese Food at the Yangshuo Cooking School

By Mark Wiens 32 Comments
Chinese Food Ingredients
Chinese Food Ingredients

Chinese Food 

As much as I am devoted to Thai street food, when it’s comfort I seek, Chinese food is all that will satisfy.

As a half Chinese American, my tongue for Chinese cooking developed throughout my growing up years while being fed from a Chinese mother and relatives who strived to always keep me stuffed (and succeeded).

I’m sure you’ve noticed my passion for eating street food from around the world (as seen in posts like Burmese cuisine, Hong Kong street food, and best Kenyan dishes), but when I was stable enough to be the proud renter of an apartment with a kitchen (a few years ago), I used to love to cook as well!

Cooking at the Yangshuo Cooking School
Cooking at the Yangshuo Cooking School

Cooking at the Yangshuo Cooking School

During a small family reunion in Yangshuo, China, we decided to try out the popular Yangshuo Chinese Cooking School.

The school has two locations and we chose the location about 10 minutes away from central Yangshuo town proper, the peaceful countryside branch.

Each participant was provided with their own personal cooking station that included necessary ingredients, a gas burner, a full chopping block and a heavy Chinese cleaver.

Yangshuo Cooking School
Mincing Garlic and Ginger

Chinese food would simply be incomplete without the heavy usage of garlic and ginger. As a cook, I like to go over the top when it comes to these two spectacular natural flavors.

Chinese Dumplings at Yangshuo Cooking School
Chinese Dumplings at Yangshuo Cooking School

After a bit of necessary prep work, we got straight into the first dish of the day: pork stuffed dumplings.

The Chinese cooking instructor, who spoke English very well, first demonstrated the dish and afterwards we were on our own to mix our ingredients and create something delicious.

On the left are my dumplings prior to being steamed and pictured on the right, they are ready to devour!

Chinese Eggplant
Chinese Eggplant

I consider eggplant to be one of the wonder vegetables of the world. From Egyptian street food to Indian food, eggplant is a vegetable that is created into tasty masterpieces.

In Guangxi Province of China, eggplant is stir fried up with garlic, ginger, green onions, tomatoes, oil, and a scoop of famous Guilin chili sauce.

The only thing I don’t always like about eggplant at street restaurants (worldwide) is the way it’s served in a layer of grease (partly due to the nature of cooking eggplant). When I cooked it myself at the Yangshuo Cooking School I limited the amount of oil, but increased the amount of chili sauce so it was just pure spongy eggplant that bursted with flavor.

Yangshuo Beer Fish
Yangshuo Beer Fish

Beer fish is one of the more famous things to eat in the Yangshuo region; It’s a very popular dish with the Chinese tourists so it was nice to see it on the menu that we would be cooking!

Yangshuo Beer Fish
Trying to Get My Fish to Soak Up ALL the Beer!

After searing the fish on both side, I sautéed the vegetables and then tossed in a cup of beer to brew the rich sauce.

Beer Fish, Yangshuo, China
Beer Fish, Yangshuo, China

I’m not going to lie, the Yangshuo beer fish pictured above was the creation of my cousin (who is a professional chef and who was cooking next to me).

Her natural sense of culinary appeal outdid my (slightly sloppier) plates!

Yangshuo Cooking School
Chinese Cashew Chicken - Yangshuo, China

Cashew chicken is one of those Chinese dishes that is a lot more popular outside of China than it is inside of China; It’s the kind of dish that was created to ease the comforts of Western Chinese food eaters and served at places like Panda Express (an American chain of fast Chinese food).

I’m not saying it’s not good, but with things like Shuizhuyu, there’s no excuse to eat something so generic as cashew chicken. Ok, I know the Yangshuo Cooking School caters to Western tourists, but I enjoyed the entire menu apart from the mediocre cashew chicken. Then again, that’s just my opinion.

Yangshuo Cooking School
About to Eat!

The Yangshuo Cooking School

Overall the school was a great place to learn a few local Yangshuo Chinese dishes and to get a feel for cooking Chinese cuisine over an open flame and a wok. Each individual cooking station was setup nicely and all ingredients were laid out in an organized fashion. We also had a great instructor!

I guess the only complaint I had was that I wasn’t too much into the cashew chicken, but then again the school really caters to Western tourists.

The school also offers a number of other courses including a 2 day options and a 1 week coure.

Price: The morning 1/2 day course we took cost a reasonable 150 CNY ($18.77) per person, which included transportation pickup from hotel, all ingredients and lunch at the end!

For more information you can visit their website: http://www.yangshuocookingschool.com/

32 comments. I'd love to hear from you!

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  • Sohan

    5 months ago

    Wow, I went to the same cooking school and did the same session, back in 2011. Really brings back the memories. Yeah, I too looked much more baby-faced then, haha. Your food travel career is an inspiration; keep up the great work.

  • Vicky

    9 years ago

    Just took this same cooking class and looks like the menu hasn’t changed since you took it! I fully enjoyed all the food prepared especially the beer fish — loves the flavor of the tomato in that dish! We spent a few days volunteering at an English school in Yanghsuo and loved our time there – our favorite place in china so far!

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      Haha, awesome Vicky! It was a good cooking course, and I also really liked that beer fish!

  • Claire @lakwatsera de primera

    10 years ago

    Nothing could be more authentic than learning some Chinese dishes from Chinese guru right in China 🙂 Wish the Chinese cooking lessons offered nearby were as cheap as this one 🙂

    • Mark Wiens

      10 years ago

      Thanks Claire! It’s always fun to learn about a countries food! Can you cook good Filipino food?

  • Arti

    10 years ago

    Looks like you had a fantastic time Mark. I will help myself to something vegetarian:)

  • Arti

    10 years ago

    Loads of fun you had Mark:) I will have something Vegetarian:)

  • Sean YOUNG

    10 years ago

    Hey, Mark, you were good at YANGSHUO, all right? And absolutely you enjoyed so much.
    I am at shanghai now, will you come one day??

    • Mark Wiens

      10 years ago

      Hey Sean! Thanks for the comment, yah I made it to Yangshuo and had a great time. I would love to come to Shanghai as well and hopefully I will be able to soon. I’ll let you know when I can come. How are things with the business?

  • Dan

    10 years ago

    That cashew chicken looks delicious. I’m really missing authentic Chinese cooking (apart from the fishheads).

    • Mark Wiens

      10 years ago

      Thanks Dan – Chinese food is among the best!

  • Tyler @ roundtheworldtravelchallenge.com

    10 years ago

    Mark, is there anything you do to document your lesson so you can remember all the lessons you’ve taken on your trips? There’s got to be a better way than scribbling it all down on a notepad.

    • Mark Wiens

      10 years ago

      Hey Tyler, normally I just write things down on my notepad, or take lots of photos to remember places, important signs and information.

  • robin

    10 years ago

    Well done! The results look very good!

  • Dean

    10 years ago

    The food looks delicious. I love to cook and learning how to cook different cuisines is great. I did a full day Thai cooking course when I was in Chiang Mai and it was one of the best experiences I’ve had. I’ll definitely do a cooking course in China whenever I get there.

    • Mark Wiens

      10 years ago

      Great Dean! I’ve been in Thailand for over 2 year now and haven’t even taken a Thai cooking course (though I’ve been able to cook a number of times). If you get to Yangshuo, definitely check out this school.

  • Scott – Quirky Travel Guy

    10 years ago

    Cooking school seems like something everyone should try once. Especially for Chinese food, yum! I would totally try it at that price.

    • Mark Wiens

      10 years ago

      You’re right Scott, cooking schools are pretty popular these days, but they really do offer some valuable things to learn – and tasty food!

  • adventureswithben

    10 years ago

    Tell us more about Beer Fish!

  • Debbie Beardsley @ European Travelista

    10 years ago

    This is just not fair! I’m starving and reading this is going to make me venture into the candy laying around work 🙂

    I would definitely do this if I was in China! And it is so reasonable. Looked so good I can taste it!

    • Mark Wiens

      10 years ago

      Haha, thanks Debbie. Don’t eat too much candy, go out and get some rice!

  • Cathy Sweeney

    10 years ago

    The cooking school seems like such a cool experience — you look very happy there. My mouth is watering over those dumplings — yum!

    • Mark Wiens

      10 years ago

      Thanks Cathy, Anytime I can be surrounded by food and cooking, I’m usually pretty happy!

  • jenjenk

    10 years ago

    I can’t believe you made all that for less than $20!!! That food looks amazing!!!!!!

    [and I really want to handle that crazy chinese cleaver…]

    • Mark Wiens

      10 years ago

      Yup, just $20 for the class and for all the food. Those cleavers are a lot of fun!

      • Choi K Lu

        9 years ago

        yi bai ershi yuan, hao penyi, didnt you had relatives in china, so cool to go back and do the cultural thing.

        • Mark Wiens

          9 years ago

          Thanks for stopping by Choi. I do have some relatives in China, but a bit too distant now. My mother probably knows some of her relatives still living in China.

  • Christy @ Technosyncratic

    10 years ago

    I’ve always wanted to take cooking classes but haven’t gotten around to it yet. Wellll, to be more honest, I find it super intimidating so I’ve never really pursued it much. I still think it would be really cool to learn, though — and especially to eat the food you prepare in class!

    • Mark Wiens

      10 years ago

      You can do it Christy! I think most of the courses use quite basic cooking techniques and they really go over each step clearly and repeatedly. It’s definitely fun to eat what you cook, and get the recipes as well. Hope you get a chance to try out a cooking school!