IUKF Chairman Dr. Paul Haydu’s report on the China Tour:
The sophisticated, big city life of Hong Kong contrasted sharply with our ten days spent in Tai Shan prefecture of Guang Dong province. Even though most of it is countryside, the city and high-rise apartment houses are rapidly encroaching on the rice fields and fish ponds. Within the city center, there are vibrant shopping areas, where jade can be bought, either in jewelry stores, or from street-side stalls. One street had only open tailor shops lined with seamstresses at sewing machines, on the street.
It was so full of clothes-making that most traffic was on foot. Many members of our group had dresses and suits made there, for very reasonable prices. Darin looked quite elegant in four different colored brocaded silk traditional Chinese jackets. There was also a number of fascinating tea shops, where many of us bought specialty teas that couldn’t be found in the US, or even on the Internet.
One favorite was “Teet Goon Yum” meaning Iron Goddess of Mercy, which is a delicious green tea. I brought back three half-pound vacuum packs of teas, two for my wife and me, and one for a friend.
The eating experience was one of the most memorable parts of the trip, both in Hong Kong and in Tai Shan. But it was in the latter where most of us experienced “soul-satisfying” Chinese food, much of it new to most of us. Many an afternoon or evening was spent at a restaurant recommended by Wong Sifu. Each meal was a surprise, with dish after dish brought out family-style, accompanied by green tea, and then local beer or soda.
The beer was a good way to avoid drinking the water, and may have prevented GI upsets in many of us, or so I’d like to think! Two of my favorite dishes, which I had never had before, were local eggplant stuffed with ground meat, and cooked with a sweet-sour sauce. The other was Ham Ha, which is pork cooked with salted shrimp paste. If I could only get those where I live now! I’ve got a craving for them both.