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1-day trip in Tianjin, China

Sunday, November 11, 2018

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)


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