Thursday, 9 January 2014
Zhujiajao 朱家角 near Shanghai, China - Johor Kaki Travels
We took an hour long car ride out of Shanghai, to the picturesque tourist water village of Zhujiajao 朱家角. It is similar to other traditional sites in China turned into tourist attractions with ubiquitous trinket and food shops occupying once village homes.
Entrance is free and optional fee based tourist guides can be booked at the ticketing booth. Maps of Zhujiahao are available at the ticketing booth but are offered only to visitors who engaged the paid tourist guides.
At traffic junctions along the road to Zhujiajiao, men will pound loudly on your car windows with their palms. These are unlicensed "tour guides" touting their services.
Zhujiajao houses are connected by canals and small quaint bridges. Small hand powered boats which were the traditional means of getting around town, today take throngs of tourists for sightseeing.
The banks are crammed with restaurants clamouring for a water side view. We dined at the upper floor of the one with the brown wooden windows (top centre in the above photo).
Nice ambiance and view from the restaurant. Note the water line. We were told that the houses were flooded during the recent Typhoon Fitow.
Here's what we ate.
Zhujiajao used to be a rice growing region and eating frogs or literary "paddy field chicken 田鸡" is a local delicacy. I was a little disappointed that our frogs were small and bony with very little flesh.
This small catfish is another local speciality caught in the ponds and estuaries around Zhujiajao. The fish were small and bony. The soft texture and muddy taste of the flesh is very similar to Malaysian catfish or Lele. We had ours braised which helped to mask the muddy flavour.
We had this stir fried local vegetable. I liked it's crunchiness and sweetness with slight grassy taste and bitterness. To me, this dish would have been perfect without those tasteless strips of tofu that looked like medical tapes.
This braised belly pork is a winner. Surprisingly tasty and fragrant. Tender fatty braised belly pork wrapped in the same kind of leaf that we use to make bak chang (rice dumplings) in Malaysia and Singapore.
Just a simple twist and it takes braised belly pork to the next level of tastiness. It's like bak chang without the sticky rice, just jiggly wobbly soft jelly like belly pork.
After our lunch, we strolled along the tourist jammed alleys lined with small trinket and food shops.
Braised pork knuckle is one of the signature dishes of Zhujiajao. Many shops offer this local delicacy. The shop will vacuum pack the pork knuckles for tourists and they can last some 3 days in the bag.
Salt baked quail eggs. Tasted like regular eggs cooked in brine.
Frogs that looked bigger than what was served at the restaurant.
There are several shops selling traditional handmade sweets and candies.
There were several shops with grannies demonstrating the art of wrapping rice dumplings. The people at the shop claimed this granny is 123 years old.
Looks like a tasty and healthy snack.
Boats were waiting to pick up passengers all along the banks.
We couldn't leave Zhujiajao without taking a boat ride. This is our boatman who is a jolly good man. He quoted us RMB65 which is the normal price for hiring a boat for a short 10-minute ride around the canals.
Zhujiajao 朱家角 is well worth the 2-hour round trip from Shanghai city for it's beautiful scenery and interesting local delicacies.
Date visited: 12 Oct 2013
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