Archive for July 14th, 2013

Day 5 Jiangmen 江门

I apologise for the lack of updates, can’t blame it on anything but pure laziness. Anyway, to continue on from where I left off from the Hongkong/Guangzhou posts…
We woke up well rested from the exciting and food laden day before. Gerry, being the perfect host, had put us up in yet another five star hotel in Jiangmen, 逸豪酒店 Yucca hotel, which was grand and comfortable.


The view of Jiangmen from the hotel window. Geographically the city  is located in south-central of Guangdong province, Zhongshan is in the east and Foshan in the north. The homeland of 3.68 million overseas Chinese, Jiangmen also has a reputation as  ‘the First Hometown of Overseas Chinese”.


Knowing R’s love for noodles, our first stop for breakfast was this noodle restaurant.


Our bowls of noodles, generous portions. I had the beef brisket noodles, Gerry had wanton noodles and R had pork trotter noodles. All were yummy especially the springy egg noodles. In fact, knowing how much we liked the noodles, Gerry’s parents gifted us with two BOXES of Jiangmen’s dried egg noodles (=^ ^=).


The exterior of Swallow brand  Jiangmen Pai Fen factory. This is an inside joke. JiangMen Vermicelli is probably one of the more well known if not THE most well known brand of rice vermicelli and is sold everywhere in the world. Back in the old days we kept forgetting where Gerry’s hometown was even though he reminded us several times. In the end he said ‘you know 江門排粉? Well, that’s where I come from!’ Since then we joked for years that we would visit Jiangmen just to eat the vermicelli there. So Gerry brought us to the factory :).


You would think after eating such a big bowl of noodles it would be some time before we had lunch. But no, Gerry’s uncle had it all planned out. We were in for an eel feast, another specialty of Jiangmen, but first up were these little sweet prawns as appetisers.

It was really nice of Gerry’s uncle to take time out from his busy workday to meet us for lunch. In 2010, Gerry’s good friend Hom visited Perth for a brief 3 days and we had a great time showing him around. Fast forward three years, Hom is now married with a little daughter and we were able to catch up over lunch :).


The star of meal the steamed eel dish. Afterwards, we also had fried rice with eel. Gerry’s mum loved this dish.


Jiangmen is also famous for it’s dried tangerine peel and these fried tangerine peel infused spareribs were wonderfully fragrant and tasty.


It was the season for bittergourd and we were told that the best way to eat them was bittergourd on ice! Dipped in a bit of soy and wasabi, the bittergourd slices were crunchy with only as slight hint of bitterness, really good and such a refreshing way to eat bittergourd.


After lunch, Gerry’s uncle suggested that we go for a relaxing foot reflexology massage. Now these Chinese foot reflexology shops are very popular in Malaysia and have even been popping up all around Perth. Funnily enough, I’d never been to one of these centers so why not try them in China?


It was all very fun and hilarious because Gerry’s parents joined us! Gerry’s mum delighted the masseurs with her wisecracks and funny questions.


More eating! We stopped by this traditional dessert shop for some chinese desserts.


Couldn’t go past the Double Skin Milk and Black Sesame Paste again. Taste wise, the double skin milk wasn’t as smooth or creamy as the one we had in Nanxin, but still, it was very good. The Black Sesame Paste was very good and fragrant.


Gerry’s parents and I had the 姜撞奶 which literally means ‘ginger knock into milk’, ginger milk pudding. I love ginger and the notes of heat from the ginger with the smooth milk pudding was great and comforting.


The best part about being in Jiangmen besides spending time with Gerry and his family was getting to visit the places that he grew up including his high school, his ‘local’ yumcha restaurant etc. We also stopped by his very first home with its old stone steps and narrow alleyways.


Gerry’s first home was an eye opener, tiny  place opening up to a rooftop with this view. It was a sentimental and touching moment for us to listen to Gerry’s mum telling us about their early life, Gerry’s childhood and how she made her livelihood (and still does) fortune telling. In fact, she decided to read our palms impromptu and it was eerily accurate.


We were supposed to head off to Macau that evening. But one thing led to another, and we found ourselves opting to skip Macau and to stay another night in Jiangmen instead. Only this time, we would stay at Gerry’s house! In the end we were researching the train times to return to HK from Guangzhou.

I remember sitting in Gerry’s dining room, eating a feast including more roast goose and homemade waxed meats prepared by Gerry’s father. Praying to the gods at close to midnight, throwing rice and wine on Gerry’s porch. A midnight supper at an outdoor stall near Gerry’s home where we had fried mantou dipped in condensed milk (very yums) and fish porridge.

Everything felt very surreal, magical and dreamlike. It was one of those nights that will be etched in my memory forever.

July 2013