The weather can be so unpredictable, that is also something we saw in China. On the first day in Yangshuo, we soaked up the sun on a bamboo float on the Yulong River. The next day was a totally different story. The rain kept on pouring out of the sky. Luckily, we had plans to do something indoors. We signed up for a cooking class at Cloud 9 in the center of Yangshuo. I always hear great stories from other travelers about cooking classes. So I was pretty excited to try it in China. Let’s cook!
Browsing the local market
What do you do before you start cooking? Gather the ingredients, and the best place to do this is the market. Together with two Russian – American participants we headed to the nearby market hall. This is the place where you can buy almost anything, ranging from conventional products like fish, meat, and vegetables to some less conventional products like cats, dogs, and cockroaches. Understandably, I skipped that section of the market. At the vegetable stalls, our cook showed us all the typical vegetables you can buy in China. Of course, most of them I already knew because we have them in Europe too, but some were new. For instance, I had never heard of lotus root. In China, this is used to make soup. When I looked at it, I thought it was some kind of potato.
Cooking with beer and eggplant
Back in the cooking school, we grabbed our aprons. The cook explained to us that we were cooking two local dishes from the Guilin region: beer fish and fried eggplant with garlic & chili. Both are simple dishes that you can prepare within 30 minutes. While my boyfriend focused on the beer fish, I prepared the eggplant dish. The cook was pretty strict about the way we had to cut the vegetables. The spring onion had to be cut into similar pieces, the eggplant in long pieces and the paprika in some kind of zigzag shape. Even the use of the spatula came with instructions. Apparently, I shoveled too much. As the cook explained to me, I had to stir the food in the center of the wok. Obedient as I am, I followed this order. Probably it was good for the taste of the food (I hoped).
The best part of the class: tasting all the dishes
After a short 15 minutes of cooking everything was ready. It was time to taste our dishes, the most fun part of the course! My boyfriend tasted his beer fish and I had the eggplant dish. The verdict? Very good! I rarely eat eggplant, but after tasting the fried eggplant in Yangshuo I should eat it more often. To remind me (and to inspire you) I put the recipe below. Enjoy!
Recipe: stir-fry eggplant with garlic and chili
Ingredients: 1 eggplant, 4 cloves garlic, 2 strings of spring onion, 1 red paprika, 1 green paprika, wok oil, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, cornstarch, half teaspoon sugar, 1 teaspoon chili paste
Utensils: a wok, a teaspoon, a spatula, and a big chopping knife. If you have one just like the horror knife in Yangshuo: perfect! If not, any other sharp knife will do the trick.
♦ Cut the eggplant in long pieces and soak it in a bowl with salt and water ♦ Slice the paprikas in strips and the spring onion into equal pieces ♦ Slice the garlic real thin ♦ Put some oil in the wok and turn on the heat wait until the work starts to smoke ♦ Turn the fire down and start baking the eggplant ♦ Add the garlic and the chili paste ♦ Add the paprikas, the cornstarch and a half glass of water ♦ To give it more flavor add the salt, the soy sauce and the sugar ♦ To top it all off, add the spring onion and the pepper and sesame oil.
More tips for Yangshuo
- The centre of Yangshuo is super touristy, but it is still worth the effort to walk around the famous West Street for one lazy evening. Take a look in the souvenir shops or walk around the market.
- You don’t eat at West Street, but you look for good restaurants in the alleys. We had a lovely vegetarian dinner at Pure Lotus. Check the colorful steamed buns!
- Beside cooking lessons, you could also take a calligraphy class of tai chi lessons in Yangshuo. Plenty of choice for a rainy afternoon in the city.
- And if it is sunny, I strongly suggest you go explore the karst mountains surrounding Yangshuo. So beautiful!
A cooking class in Yangshuo: highly recommended
Did my photos inspire you to book a cooking class during your stay in Yangshuo? You can book the same cooking lesson here.
Have you ever taken a cooking class abroad?
This blog post contains affiliate links. If you book something through these links, I earn a small commission without you paying extra for it. You can read more about it in my disclaimer.