There are some restaurants you know you deeply love before you ever taste their food.
Maybe it’s the crowd of people eating there, the delicious aromas that fill the air, or sometimes it’s just a completely unexplainable feeling that just feels right.
In Yangshuo, China, this was one of those – it just felt right.
It was the type of restaurant that flung me into a food high from the moment I stepped in.
I was left paralyzed as I waited for the food to arrive.
I couldn’t talk or even do anything but think about the food.
At many restaurants in Guangxi Province you are given a dining set and then you are supposed to wash your dishes with cold tea to cleanse them (before eating).
I did the washing routine and then sat back, sipping on cold tea and waiting for the main dish to arrive.
We ordered a Sichuan inspired chili filled fish dish known as Shǔizhǔyú (水煮魚) – pronounced Shu Joo Yoo.
Our fish arrived to the tabe in pure splendor, a giant pan of thinly sliced fish drowned in an alluring medley of colorful ingredients and fragrant herbs.
A common meal speciality in Guangxi Province is a big pan full of the dish of your choice served over an individual stove burner on your table.
Everyone gets individual bowls of rice and then picks bites out of the communal dish with chopsticks. I’ve been a die hard fan of giant pans of food for quite some time now!
In Guangxi Province, first the meat/fish is eaten, then a combination of raw vegetables or tofu are cooked in the remaining soup broth.
A scoop of fish and chili soup was mouthwatering delicious.
The fish was firm but flaky and the soup bursted with an irresistible vibrancy.
Though it was eaten in Guangxi Province, it had been influenced by the gastronomic wonders of the neighboring province of Sichuan.
At the bottom of the chili soup was a bed of bean sprouts. They weren’t those fat short kind of bean sprouts, but the long and thin sprouts – almost like noodles.
The base of the soup was defined by flavorful red chilies along with pungent Sichuan peppercorns, ginger and chives.
Every single bite was everything I had hoped for, and soon I fell into a deep culinary stupor – the kind of food I would spend the rest of my money on.
After polishing off the fish from the boiling pan, the next step was to add the other ingredients and use the flavorful soup to simmer them in.
First we added a plate full of lettuce. It did a fantastic job of soaking up the flavor but still retaining that crisp lettuce texture (Have you ever eaten cooked lettuce?).
I’m a huge fanatic of the tofu in China. Freshly made tofu is world’s above anything that is ever packaged. The fresh tofu is silky and smooth, none of that rubbery packaged stuff.
The tofu bubbled in the fish chili soup for a few minutes before it became even softer and turned to that fantastic fall apart consistency – it was excellent!
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