Sunday, November 11, 2018

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Tianjin is a major port city in northeastern China. Similar to Shanghai, several western nationals established concessions in the city, following the 1858 Treaties of Tianjin. You can find European-style houses, municipal buildings and churches in Five Great Avenue (五大道).

As most netizens shared that a day-trip in Tianjin, I planned a weekend trip to Tianjin.

Arrived Tianjin early in the morning, we headed to the Tianjin Museum.

Tianjin Museum, being the largest museum in the city, exhibits a large range of cultural and historical relics significant to Tianjin. Access to the museum was free but visitors are subject to security checks. The security checks were so stringent that my 60ML sunblock was detained by the security officers. The museum was majestic and breathtaking. The skylight provides natural light, embracing both man-made and nature together. You can spend a full day just looking the beautiful relics.

Tianjin cuisine is famous throughout China. It is not only renowned for its traditional local snacks but also the cuisines from other regions of China. At the Tianjin Food Street, you will get to sample cross-cultural Chinese dishes such as the Tianjin Goubuli steamed buns, etc. 


Our first meal in Tianjin was the the city's breakfast champion - Guobacai (鍋巴菜). A snack of strong local flavour, Guobacai or mainly pronounced as "Gabacai" by locals, is a pancake-like made of millet and mung bean flour. The pancake is sliced into 'noodles' and cooked in the sauce made of sesame oil, ginger, soy sauce, preserved beancurd and green onions. Often served along with fried dough and sesame cakes, Guobacai can either be a snack or a proper meal.


 
Along the Five Great Avenues (五大道), you will find beautiful architecture of European-styled houses, etc.

After a long way along the Five Great Avenues, we had lunch at a dianping.com recommended restaurant - 柒號馆

Of course, not forgetting the snack kiosks along the pedestrian walkways. The grilled gluten noodles (烤面筋) topped with cumin and chilli powder were different from the usual mutton skewers that are always available in all cities in China. The powders were very fragrant and the spiciness was just nice.
One of the must-try snacks was the Ear-hole fried cake (耳朵眼). This traditional Tianjin local snack is actually fried fritters. It got its name from a nearby small alley called 耳朵眼胡同 in Tianjin. With a history of more than a century old, the fried fitters are made of carefully leavened and kneaded glutinous rice dough. The dough is deep fried into beautiful golden colour, cripsy, soft, sweet and savoury.

The Castella Sponge Cake was recently popularised and become a phenomenon. Branded as the "traditional sponge cake", the dessert cake was ordinary and was unable to taste of how traditional it was.

古文化街 (Guwenhua jie), also known as Tianjin's Ancient Cultural Street, is a cultural tourist attraction on the west bank of the Hai River in Nankai District. The cultural street is designed for visitors to experience Chinese folk customs and culture.

Along the streets in the Ancient Cultural Street, you will find an elder man selling steamed rice cakes (熟梨糕). Similar to the southeast asian's version of steamed rice cakes, the cakes were more coarse and the lacked flavour. Steamed using the bamboo mould, you may choose the different flavours from jams and chocolate. I strongly suggest giving it a miss. (Food rating: 2/5)

The "plate' is actually wafers which can be eaten.

Cake Sticks (桂花糕). The cake was cut into smaller pieces and on sticks. It usually have fruits on the top and that is where the majority of the sweetness comes from.

天津焖子 or Mung Bean dumplings are famous traditional Han Chinese snacks in Tianjin. This snack is made from mung bean powder and fried with seasoning. It has a beautiful transparent colour and this used to be eaten during traditional festivals. Back in the old days, almost every households cooked and fried the snack on the second day of the second lunar month.
Tianjin is also famous for the delicious food from other regions in China. This Dongbei Pan-fried Spicy Noodles (东北烤冷面) was worth waiting for. Those the preparation time took a little longer than the rest, this was the most delicious food we had eaten at Tianjin Ancient Cultural Street. (Food rating: 4/5)


Tuesday, November 06, 2018

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I found 柒號馆 in dianping.com with considerably good rating and made a detour to try the popular authentic Tianjin dishes. Hidden away from the main street, we found the restaurant after some time. 

Chilled sweet plums and cucumber cubes (above) were very nice. The chilled cucumber cubes were very refreshing and cooled us from the extreme heat almost immediately. The plums were sweet and nice. It was a pretty good appetiser to start gastronomic journey. (Food rating: 3/5)
 
柒號肉丝 or No. 7 Pork Slices is actually 鱼香肉丝. It was pork slices cooked in spicy fish sauce. The pork slices were very tender and the dish was well... ordinary. (Food rating: 2.5/5)

Prawns, Squid with Fruit Salad (馋魚秘蝦), priced at RMB59, is so-so. The prawns, though crispy, were ordinary. It reminded me of the typical prawns with fruit salad at home. (Food rating: 2.5/5)


Naturally, one would think that this dish named 强抱洋白菜 must be something interesting. When served, it was just a plate of white cabbage cut in large pieces and cooked in soy sauce. The white cabbage tasted raw and the presentation was bad. Priced at RMB22, it was forgettable. (Food rating: 2.5/5)

An interesting restaurant that looks like a bar but offers Tianjin cuisine.

To be fact, popularity of 柒號馆 or No. 7 Restaurant (direct translation) is over hyped. The dishes have very interesting names but the food was mere ordinary. Personally, I will not come back again if I have a choice. Unfortunately, this restaurant was well-received by subscribers in dianping.com

Address: 139 Ha'erbin Rd, QuanYeChang, Heping Qu, Tianjin Shi, China, 300041
Price: $
Food rating: 2.5/5

Monday, November 05, 2018

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Tianjin's famous 大福来锅巴菜 was founded in the Song Dynasty. Legend has it that Emperor Qianlong was returning to Beijing via Tianjin. He tasted the pancake rolls and soup made from shredded pancake, salt, sesame oil and parsley. Tianjin's casserole is not only a meal, but also a soup or dish, and it has become a unique special dish in Tianjin.

锅巴菜 (Guobacai) (above) is one of Tianjin's authentic traditional snacks. Made from thin crispy crepe cut into broad long strips (like linguine-like noodles), the hot thick savoury soup is then poured into the bowl. The soup is made up of sesame oil, ginger, soy sauce, green onions and bean curd. This dish can be eaten as breakfast or a proper meal alongside other Tianjin snacks. Eating this for the first, 锅巴菜 is flavourful and filling. (Food rating: 3/5)


One of Tianjin's household snacks, Tianjin Assorted Buns (什锦烧饼) is famous in the area. Founded more than 60 years ago, Wang Shulun went to learn production techniques from Lu Fengxiang. Wang created dozens of fillings such as bean paste, dried plum, etc in the biscuit (烧饼). It is now very much appreciated by many and have become a staple food in the city and beyond. Liked the 'thousand' layers of the pastry with rich sanguine red bean paste. (Food rating: 2.5/5)



麻团 is actually a big bread bun covered with white sesame seeds. The bun was very dense and it will definitely fill your stomach. The taste was plain but the sesame seeds were very fragrant. (Food rating: 2.5/5)


The Mutton Innard Soup (精品羊杂汤) is one of the popular dishes at DFL. The taste was is very different from the Singapore-style mutton soup. It was bland but savoury. The mutton in the soup was very generous. It was just a bowl of soup, so you may wish to give it a miss. (Food rating: 2.5/5)


 

Address: 利民道与越秀路交叉口珠波里底商87号 / Limin Rd, Hexi Qu, Tianjin Shi, China, 300201
Food rating: 3/5
Price: $

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