Lijiang and Beyond

May 19th, 2009

Culinary Travels – Can You Identify (an interactive post)

We need your help!  Below is a photoset form our lunch in a traditional Naxi village.  We had a lunch Naxi street food (I know, we paid the price later), but we have no idea what we ate.  If you have any idea as to what we put into our bodies, let us know!  For what it is worth, it was delicious!

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Music from the Naxi Village

The Song Zan Lin Si Temple

Known as a tourist “must see” Song Zan Lin Si Temple provided us with a firsthand encounter at the intersection of religion an politics. 

While touring the Tibetian Buddhist temple we all were taken by the richness and vibrancy of the imagery, smells of the burning yak butter candles, the transition to compact fluorescent lights in their deity displays, and the chanting of an older monk and his very young apprentice.  As we got closer to the two, the older monk stopped his chants and greeted us with a “hello.”  We were a bit taken aback, but not so much as went he asked, “Where from?”  We answered “meiguoren” (American).  This response caused the monk’s eyes to lighten and enthusiastically say, “Meiguoren (with two thumbs up), Dali Lama ( again with thumbs pumping), Zhonguoren (frown and arms crossed in an X).  He repeated this several times while our Chinese language lessons with Rujie came rushing back.  “Americans good, Chinese bad.”

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Old Town Lijiang

At first blush, a location such as this could be called, as coined by our new acquaintance, a cultural zoo.  But as we traveled through the Old Town, we realized that the reality is much more complex.  The stated purpose of the town was to celebrate Lijiang’s Naxi minority groups, and it seemed that the Chinese government had made efforts to work with the minority groups to co-construct a cultural representation that allowed the tourists to feel as though they were having an “authentic experience,” while the minority groups seemed to be enthusiastic participants – eager to share their heritage and beliefs (FYI, the previous sentence has been entered into the “longest sentence competition” and stands a pretty good chance at winning).

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Civilized Signage

This theme continues from city to city.  We are doing our best to tow the line!  Sometimes David gets a bit rowdy…

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4 Responses to “Lijiang and Beyond”

  1. Katieon 19 May 2009 at 8:06 pm

    hmmm… rice gluten? The julienned vegetables are beautiful!

  2. Maryon 22 May 2009 at 1:54 pm

    My guess is tofu tinted with squid ink.

  3. happysheepon 31 May 2009 at 4:35 am

    In the photo are fried potatoes, potato pancakes, small fish on sticks, smelly tofu, blood rice sausage but the grey stuff is chick pea jelly made from the scum from when you cook lentils. Served with chilli and sauces, it tastes quite nice. More info on other culinary delights at

  4. sclaytonon 04 Jun 2009 at 7:45 am

    thanks! jelly made from lentil scum does not sound very appealing, but I agree it was tasty. We weren’t such fans of the blood rice sausage. Sounds as though you have had extensive experience with the local cuisine.

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