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YiXing [Yi-Xing, YI_XING More Detail (7th Nov)
  Gooooooooood morning YiXing. After a super dinner and a good night of sleep, I feel like new again. It's time to stroll around nearby area.   img_2101.jpg
Looking at rice fields from the train is one thing, smelling and touching them right next to them is another. The sun is warm, the air is fresh, the color is beautiful. I can't think of a better place to be at in such a nice morning. 
This is what has been feeding southern Chinese for hundreds, or perhaps thousands of years. Rice, that is. This is perhaps the "fragrant pearl rice" I had last night. Yum yum.
Banana for breakfast? Not Chinese tradition.
It's nuts, literally, along with other snacks. And going nuts - as the kid tries to fight off the snack temptation.
"See, I am not cheating you. It's accurate to 100th of a gram." The fella is using a primitive but cool weight to weight his fishy. 
China is using metrics. The common unit of measurement, even more common than KG, is "jin", or catty, which is half a KG. 1/10 of jin is liang.
"Hey, that guy with a camera, I bet this pot of steam gets you hungry. Come on in for breakfast."
Rice buns on the left (covered), baked cakes in the middle, and deep fried sticks on the right. Kam's stomach is complaining.
  I randomly walk into a little place for breakfast.
Looks like another bowl of noodle? The noodle thread is smooth and chewy. The soup is light yet with a hint of  fresh meat. On top is raw green onion an chilly. Although the piece of meat is hard and try, I clean out the bowl completely. img_2129.jpg img_2131.jpg Dressed like Mao Tse Tung, the owner runs this little restaurant single-handedly. he says he was in the teapot business and knows lots about YiXing teapots. Here in YiXing, everyone seems to know about teapots. YiXing is really the holy land of teapots. No exaggeration at all.
  The aimless walk continues ...
Quiet morning ...
Coming thru, coming thru. You never know how busy these channels are until you see a team of boats. There are about 5 more entering the viewfinder.
Going to school ... 
Dad is dropping me off at school.
img_2121.jpg  There are plenty of clay work going on around town. If I blindfold myself and walk straight ahead, I have to knock down something clay.

These artists are so absorbed into their work they don't know Kam has come uncomfortably close to them.

img_2150.jpg  "Tofu fish head soup". A yummy soup I order all the time in HK. Now get yourself together and listen - you eat the fish head too. 3 and a half yummies! img_2151.jpg Lazy afternoon. The cook stretches himself and get ready for the afternoon nap.
  Late afternoon, I run into something fun and yummy. This is popcorn's rice version. It's Kam's favorite childhood snack (it's called "fat boy rice") but only after so many years that Kam gets to see how it's made.
img_2159.jpg Mr. Rice-popper's left hand is rotating this sealed pressure chamber with rice in it. His right hand is spinning a drum that fans the stove.

The deal is, you supply your own rice and he pops it for you.  

img_2161.jpg Explosion! Explosion!

After some 15 minutes, the rice is ready. The content of the super-pressured chamber is released into a 6-feet net.

I am prepared but I almost drop my camera upon the explosion.

I don't have my own rice but this lady is kind enough to offer me a handful.

The ballooned rice looks cute. It's sweet and it dissolves as soon as it mixes with saliva.

I can still flash a big smile after eating this because, unlike popcorn, there won't be anything left afterwards to stick to my teeth.
Holy smoke, I just notice these huge fireworks (the biggest one in the shadow is half of Kam's size). The rice-popping was done right outside this firework shop! I could have gotten blown back to HK for free.

Time to run.

At YiXing, DaZhaXies are served with red vinegar sauce cooked with garlic and sugar. And a bowl of raw cilantro to add to the sauce.
  A month before and after Lunar calendar's 9th, September, is DaZhXie [Da-Zha-Xie, Big_Gate_Crab More Detail] season. DaZhaXie is a HUGE delicacy. During the season, you can hear of DaZhaXie and related dishes all over Hong Kong, GuangZhou, ShangHai (DaZhaXie originates from Yang Cheng Lake near ShangHai), and probably places geographically in between. It's like a huge food festival organized by no one.
img_2175.jpgKam likes to follow what grandma taught him - eat with Hua Diao wine as sauce (on right). 

The crab on upper left is a female while the one on upper right, with a bell shape on the belly, is a male. They taste different.

The color of the fat and stuff inside the crab should be vivid orange but the flash is not doing a good job. This fat and stuff is the most yummy part that makes Kam mouth-watering like Pavlov's dog. 

DaZhaXie is yummy not because of their meat, it's the creamy stuff inside them - fat, eggs or sperm.

DaZhaXies are usually served steamed to preserve it's original taste. Kam, following proper procedure, takes off the cap first, splatter some Hua Diao wine on it, scratch and lick clean all the fat stuck to it. Then, proceed to the fat on the body. 

On male crabs, there is this colorless cream in the body, the sperm. I am too busy though to have any embarrassing
thoughts of sex at all because the sense at my taste buds would simply overwhelm everything. This colorless cream is THE most indulging, original and natural taste among ALL food that I have ever eaten in my entire life.
I can feel my eyeballs flip white. Heavenly top rating !

img_2179.jpgScene in front of the restaurant. A steaming cage, 2 coal stoves, a broom, a kettle, and used coal blocks.

Some people prefer female crabs. The taste of the orange fat and eggs is excellent too but if there are male crabs on the plate, he he. Still, female crabs get . 

Then, I proceed to the legs with much less enthusiasm. Yes, there is priority. In the case of DaZhaXie, crab meat becomes the least wanted part.

A little reminder is that you may die faster eating DaZhaXie once a year than smoking a pack of cigarette a day. Difference is, if you die of DaZhaXie cholesterol poisoning, you die a blissful person.

  Call it a day? Come on, the night is still young. I chat with the owner of the DaZhaXie restaurant and he sends me to a friend who is a YiXing teapot maker. See, YiXing is really the holy land of teapots. Everyone is connected to teapots, directly or indirectly, somehow.
img_2200.jpgI have been selling YiXing teapots for 2+ years but it's the first time I see them being made.

Sheets of clay is put on a little turntable and is skillfully patted into shape.

(I am wondering what the potters, especially female, do to take care of their skin. )


img_2254.jpgAdd bottom piece, lid, spout and handle etc. A teapot takes at least 2 days to shape and 1 day to bake. 

The process is way more complicated than I thought. You have to do it real fast (could cause mistakes if not skillful enough) at times before the clay gets too dry, and you have to do it real slow at times when the clay is too wet to take shape. Every teapot is a combination of skill and patience.

Salute to the teapot makers.

  Call it a day? YES!

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