When I arrived in Shijiazhung, I expected a little down time as I was visiting some friends who have a branch office here. Little did I know that my friends had plans of feeding me all the food in China!
My first day here started with a lunch so big I could hardly walk back across the street to their office. There were three types of steamed dumplings and a large bowl of Szechuan beef and cabbage soup. That was followed with a visit to a local school and as you will see below, there were some great photos that came out of the time there. It was a school that specialized in visual and performing arts. The talent of the students was impressive.
A few hours later, still full from lunch, we arrived at the biggest restaurant I have ever seen! The Hebei Renjia Restaurant is six floors, has a kitchen to service every floor and has countless private rooms for special dining. We had one of their premier rooms for our night. The food came out a plate at a time, but I by the end of the night, I was praying for it to stop. It was delicious and I had a hard time stopping myself from taking “just one more bite”. I was able to add another exotic meat to my list that night. Two separate dishes of donkey were prepared and I tried both of them. The first was a platter of donkey meat sliders and the second was Szechuan Stir Fried Donkey. It was actually quite good and had a flavour that is similar to beef.
Many more courses followed, but my favourite of the night was the baby sweet potatoes that came out smothered in melted sugar. There was a bowl of water to dip the scorching hot morsels in to cool and solidify the sugar before you ate them.
The next day followed with a very similar lunch and a walk before dinner. Our walk took us to a condo complex with an enormous entertainment area built on the seventh to ninth floors. It is called the Shijiazhung Hanging Gardens and it was like an amusement park! There were games, rock climbing walls, restaurants and a river around the entire complex filled with thousands of goldfish. This complex was incredible and it was over two city blocks long!
After working up an appetite, we made our way across the street to another multi level restaurant where I was treated to a dinner that was so spectacular, I actually felt like Chinese royalty.
The highlight of my night was getting to go behind the scenes and photograph the kitchen staff working away. Every time I look at these images, I am reminded what a real meal should be!