With minimal sights in Guilin, my friend and I hopped on a bus to nearby Yangshuo. Yangshuo is more of a tourist town, having a pedestrian street full of foreigner-friendly attractions like pubs, souvenir shops, and my favorite: a night market! Actually “night market” is a bit of a misnomer, as some stalls open shop as early as noon.
I love night markets for one reason: the street food. Yangshuo’s night market did not disappoint in this area. While it did not have a dedicated “food court” section like the one in Vancouver, it made up for it with a bevy of unique food items like Chinese hamburgers (the lineup was HUGE), fresh almond brittle, and blacksmith steak (no idea what that was).
At this point on my trip, I had sucked up about 3 days worth of Chinese smog and my entire respiratory system was suffering. To ease my raspy throat, my friend suggested some ginger tea. At ¥4, about $0.75 CAD, I couldn’t say no. However, I had mixed feelings about the tea. On one hand, the tea was very strong and gingery, which did sooth my ailing throat. On the other hand, it was too sugary. I felt like I was drinking ginger candy!
Red Bean Cake Dessert
A couple stalls down, there was a lady making red bean-filled cake desserts, similar to taiyaki (a red bean fish shaped dessert). Aside from the standard red bean flavour, they also offered taro, peanut butter, and chocolate. At either ¥3 ($0.50 CAN) per pastry or ¥5 ($0.90 CAN) for two, my friend and I got two: one peanut butter and one chocolate. Unfortunately, our peanut butter order was mixed, and we ended up with taro instead. The cake itself was fluffy and spongy, but tasted a shade under-cooked. If the crust was a bit crispier, it would have been perfect.
Spicy Roasted Meat Skewers
Our next stop, though busy, did not deter us. The skewer guy at this stall must have been quite well-known, as he had a lineup all night long!
The skewers were roasted in a home-made rotisserie. The rotisserie was quite efficient! Each batch of around 20 skewers took only 5-10 minutes to cook. You just set it and forg– no, I’m not going to go there!
After cooking, the skewers were slathered in an orange paste (the bin in the middle), which unbeknownst to us was EXTRA spicy. Now I’m usually a fan of spicy food, but my throat was already at 50% health. Regardless, I tried to man it out and managed to finish my skewer. I would later regret this, as the next day I lost my ability to speak. My friend on the otherhand, took one bite and broke out in an immediate sweat. Being spicy food-adverse, he ended up throwing away his skewer. Oh well, it wasn’t too much of a loss at ¥5 each.