May 9, 2018

The Best Photos from Our 10 Day Trip to China

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Take a look at our CIA Global Cuisine and Cultures trip to China! Our professor, Dr. Willa Zhen, with the help of several guides, toured us around the large cities of Chengdu and Beijing, making stops along the way in Yibin and Zigong. We prepped for this trip by completing required readings and discussion boards over the last 15 weeks. After getting our visas and passports, we took a 14-hour flight to other side of the world. The trip was a thrilling experience exposing us to new and exciting cuisine and culture, and there was plenty of awe and wonder along the way.

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Day 1: We arrived rather late (or early, depending on how you see 1a.m.) for our first day in China. We immediately took off for the streets of Chengdu. We were introduced to the many markets of China’s industrial food system and experienced our first incredible Sichuan lunch. We ate everything from sea cucumber to ostrich tendon to the traditional Mapo tofu!

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Day 2: We revisited our kitchen training and were immediately engaged by a Chinese Master Chef to show us the techniques of traditional Sichuan cuisine. After the demonstration, we showed our hand and hopefully our skills, by participating in a bit of playful competition. The Chinese culinary students found the playing rather amusing.

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Day 3: Away from the big city, we traveled to the rural side of Chengdu and visited Daliang Winery, where the powerful Baijui brightened our faces for a spell. We also went to the terraced tea farms of China, where a lunch imbued with the tea leaves themselves and traditional tea ceremony was delightful.

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Day 4: A bean paste factory, the wet market filled with frogs and eels, a museum dedicated to Sichuan cuisine and its history, and finally, the Sichuanese Opera…Oh my, what a day!

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Day 5: PANDAS! Need I say more?

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Day 6: Bamboo mushrooms, bamboo shoots, bamboo rat… Bamboo! Not much else could or should be expected from the Great Bamboo Sea of Sichuan. We rode the lift to the top, took in our views, took a bamboo raft for a gentle ride down a river, and finished our day with an exciting night out in Zigong.

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Day 7: We were all a little salty in Zigong! It’s famous for…well…salt. We visited the city’s salt museum as well as the oldest and deepest (1,000 meters) salt well drilled back in 1835. Still in operation today, the workers boil brine in cauldrons to extract salt crystals. We were fascinated by what we saw, but it seemed we were the most exciting thing the locals had seen in a while!

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Day 8: In the early morning we flew to the capital of Beijing. On our ride to the hotel, we stopped at the Dragon Seal Winery. This was not Baijiu, here we talked about vinifera. Wine created with a French influence and Chinese terroir made for an interesting combination.

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Day 9: Off we went to one of the wonders of the world—the Great Wall of China. After a brisk hike on the monumental wall (pun intended), we visited Little Donkey Farm, China’s first Community Supported Agricultural farm. This CSA gave us insight into the hopeful future of China’s foodways.

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Day 10: On the last day of our trip, we visited both Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City—homes of China’s Chairman and the Emperor respectively. To end our long journey, we had an incredible meal at China’s very famous DaDong, known worldwide for its Peking duck. I can fervently declare that I will not be eating Peking duck anywhere else for some time.

By Ramon Manglano