Day Two in Hangzhou Provides Fantastic View From Youg Fe Temple/Teahouse
Our second day in Hangzhou started off with a tour of a popular market where many merchants sell handcrafted items. Some of the highlights included; two gentleman pounding sesame seeds with large wooden mallets while a humming a rhythmic tune. The malleable form was then segmented and sold as a tasty treat to passersby. We also saw a gentleman carving intricate symbols and images into stone as a lovely keepsake.
During the market tour, the film crew who is producing daily videos of our activities, spent time filming the families as they interacted with merchants. At a handmade flute kiosk in the middle of the market, Domenick entertained us with his flute prowess, while little Zhou nibbled on a sugar-spun dessert in the shape of an abstract piece of art.
We then made our way to the Courtyard Restaurant, where they specialize in culinary creations formulated to improve digestion. The service is family style, with a large lazy susan (rotating table) in the middle of the table, allowing patrons to easily serve themselves. The servers brought one dish after another for us to try. One of the highlights was a steamed pork dish (I would have guessed it had been roasted) draped with a large piece of eatable gold leaf. It was quite dramatic and something I’ve never seen before. We also had a white yam dish in a sugar sauce sprinkled with tiny little flower blooms known as Sweet Osmanthus. These flower buds are often used in culinary dishes as well as tea. Osmanthus is also the city flower of Hangzhou.
The highlight of the day for me had to be high tea at the Youg Fu temple/teahouse. Situated high above Hangzhou, with a fantastic view of West Lake in one direction, and downtown in the other, this attraction is one not to miss when visiting the happiest city in China. The grounds are lush with vibrant foliage and the 5 story high temple (now a teahouse) provides an array of nooks and crannies to take in the extraordinary views. On the third floor we enjoyed high tea along with some unique snacks that included a sweet marinated olive. Personally, olives are not my favorite food item, but these individually wrapped morsels were delicious. Initially I didn’t care for the taste, but similar to wine as it makes its way to the back of the palate, I found myself thoroughly enjoying these scrumptious accouterments to the loose-leaf green tea.
While enjoying our tea and the air-conditioned reprieve, we were treated to a live duo performance of some traditional Chinese music. The soothing sounds were provided by two female musicians, one strumming a Erju, while the other stroked the strings of a guzheng.
I have no doubt that day three of our tour of Hangzhou will be equally impressive, so I hope you’ll stay tuned.
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