Shimen (石门) County of Changde (常德) prefecture in Hunan province — On a trip through Hunan to learn home-style recipes, the train from Changsha passes flooded rice fields gridding the landscape. A mixture of earthen homes and tile-faced two-story homes perch themselves in between.
It is the weekend and students have packed the train, having bought standing room only tickets. There are no seats available, and they stand for up to four hours, disembarking at their respective villages. The train is bustling with the energy that preludes a weekend of fun. The same energy finds me anticipating new adventure in Shimen.
While traveling, markets are a must-see. In China, there tends to be an open market in most neighborhoods. If one doesn’t run into one, a wander or guidance in the right direction will lead to a colorful peek into the local diet, people, and culture.
After the market prelude, I went on to meet Zhou Yi and her husband in their newly-wed nest wherein the next day I would learn their favorite new-family recipes.
Interested in learning more about China’s food history? Take a look at China for Foodies, a set departure excursion exploring Beijing, Xi’an, Chengdu, Shanghai and Hangzhou.