Mountain climbing, rustic eating
I really need to speed post, since I’m leaving for Indonesia tomorrow for three days (not very long, I know, but it was one of those meeting deals where they pay for everything)! Sadly, we’re going to the most touristy place in Bali, so I’m guessing the food won’t be especially good. 😦
Yesterday we decided to check out a new mountain, called Jiu Feng (Vulture’s Peak). It was different from other mountains we had climbed before because it was rocky and steep all the way up– plagued with mosquitos and wasps and the like, but that’s not exactly unusual.
We found out there was no restaurant at the top, so we decided to stop for a very early lunch at a completely empty “nong jia can guan,” which basically means country/peasant cooking. It wasn’t as rustic or cheap as we would have liked, but they did have some interesting specialties. The problem was that my dad ordered enough for an army and we didn’t want to be so full that we couldn’t climb!
A salad of Chinese almonds (Which are actually apricot kernels) and wild vegetables picked on the mountain. This had a LOT of garlic, as well as vinegar. It was good, but too garlicky for my taste.
They also brought us a ridiculously bitter wild vegetable with a sesame dipping sauce, but it was so bitter none of us could eat it. A million times more bitter than bitter melon, if you’ve ever had that!
Grilled trout– Usually I’m not into Chinese whole fish because it’s soaked in chili oil and is much too greasy. This was totally like a western-style fish! It was perfectly crispy on the outside but not oily at all, with a little cumin sprinkled on top.
A kind of bing called shou zhua bing, which just means you’re supposed to scoop it up with your hands.
My favorite– simple, peasant style corncakes with absolutely no flavor. We couldn’t finish them, so we took them up the mountain with us.
More ge da tang (the rustic soup I mentioned before), only this one was truly like a starch… no flavor whatsoever, except for some black pepper. It was wonderful, believe it or not, and had mountain vegetables floating in it.
We had to leave so much food 😦 what a shame.
The hike was beautiful! Some photos of the top:
On the way down, my dad and I stopped for a popsicle. We were both totally nostalgic, because we bought a “snow cake” (xue gao), which is basically milk, water, and sugar. The really old-school kind should just be a square without a popsicle stick, but this was still pretty good.
We also saw some people selling wild vegetables, apricot kernels, and dried cherries on the mountain.