Hongcun

Keeping the Past Alive Today - Los Angeles Travel Photographer

A much welcomed surprise in my kitchen recently had me think about this trip to the area in China that's known for this type of food for centuries.  Granted, I'm a trained microbiologist (that happened in one of my past lives), the whole thing about tofu being covered by cotton-like fluff that originated from the air is just mythical.  Even after tasting the food there, and even having watched the documentary by CCTV1 (China's national TV station), it's beyond my wildest imagination to create something like these cotton balls in my own kitchen.

In my mind, this food belongs to a place and people where it carries hundreds of years of history, where tofu (and many other types of food) is still sold on carrying poles, clothes dried in the open air and laundry done in the pond in front of their houses that were constructed and carved back in the Ming and Qing dynasties, and don't forget the  Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.  OK, this last part was a joke with you all.  But the movie was filmed there.

Drying-Clothing-and-Vegetables-in-the-Open-Air-Hongcun-Anhui-China-Copyright-Jean-Huang-PHotography

Drying-Clothing-and-Vegetables-in-the-Open-Air-Hongcun-Anhui-China-Copyright-Jean-Huang-PHotography

Then, on my journey to seek traditional food preparation methods, the cotton balls made their presence in the most unexpected way in my house, on a fine spring day.  It seems they've been around all this time, including the years after the trip while I constantly reminisce about the incredible food, only waiting for the prime opportunity to debut.  So, is it the mental readiness that it's waiting for or that I started drying clothes in the open air?  Enlighten me, please.     

Morning-Laundry-at-Moon-Pond-Hongcun-Anhui-China-Copyright-Jean-Huang-Photography

Morning-Laundry-at-Moon-Pond-Hongcun-Anhui-China-Copyright-Jean-Huang-Photography

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Hongcun, A Place that's "Out-of-This-World" - Los Angeles Travel Photographer

Just as I was joking that kids these days won't even know how the food that's regularly on their plates look like (can they recognize a chicken or cow when they meet a real one?), there's also this "other-worldly" place where you are greeted by a horse at your arrival and geese roam around the same plaza that you eat your breakfast at.  I love this small, peaceful and (needless-to-say) beautiful ancient town, that's one of the UNESCO sites.  I obviously can't get enough of its cute little corners (I know, I've said it before). Did I mentioned that it's one of the filming locations for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon?

Hongcun, Where Human, History and Nature Co-exist - ©Jean Huang Photography
Hongcun, Where Human, History and Nature Co-exist - ©Jean Huang Photography

A Village from Chinese Painting - Los Angeles Fine Art Photographer

Hongcun is by far one of (if not the only one) my favorites I've traveled to.  It was the most anticipated little town before my visit and it doesn't disappoint.  As with food, I like complex flavors, i.e., layers of tastes that integrate with one another.  With any locale, water just adds one more element to the flavors of the scenery.  They say it's a "Village Walking off of a Chinese Painting" (in Chinese, it's “中国画里的乡村”).  I think I've witnessed it here.  What do you think?P.S. You now know I'm crazy about Hongcun if you've been following my blog.  You can see my other posts here,herehere and here on Hongcun.

Hongcun, A Village from Chinese Painting - ©Jean Huang Photography
Hongcun, A Village from Chinese Painting - ©Jean Huang Photography