The story appears on

Page B1

January 17, 2011

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Feature

Old village beckons for festival fun

REMOTE Zhonghua Village in Jinshan District is pulling out all the stops and preparing to welcome city folks for a good old-fashioned Spring Festival celebration with country cooking, a chicken farm theme park and folk arts. Tan Weiyun reports.

Bright red lanterns are hung high, swaying in the breeze, bustling crowds are elbowing their way through markets to find traditional decorations, fireworks and foods for the feast. Farmers, of course, are busy preparing all kinds of food for the Year of the Rabbit that arrives in just two weeks.

Here in remote Zhonghua Village in Langxia Town of Jinshan District, everyone is getting ready to treat urban dwellers to a truly traditional Chinese Lunar New Year.

The village is already a popular destination for its nongjiale (happy farmer tourism) in which urbanites get away from the city and kick back in the countryside for a weekend or holiday.

Now it's pulling out all the stops to receive visitors during the seven-day official holiday from February 2 to 8 and throughout the longer 15-day festive period.

The market is filled with salted meat and fish, sweetened rice cakes and pickled cabbage with shredded bamboo shoots, among other fare.

"Fill it with red bean paste, add a little pumpkin juice and then some white sugar and stew it for about 45 minutes. There it is - Langxia Rice Cake," says 63-year-old Jiang Hongzhen, known by locals as Grandma Jiang.

She runs Grandma Jiang's Restaurant in her two-story brick house and offers a wide range of authentic country cooking.

But it's her rice cakes that are most famous. "If possible, I add some osmanthus petals into the paste, which gives rice cakes a sweet and delicate scent," Grandma Jiang says.

She is happy to share her recipe with others, and during the Lunar New Year holiday she will teach visitors how to make the sticky, sweet pastry.

Just a few steps away is Auntie Fu's Home, another restaurant serving classic countryside cuisine. The 55-year-old owner Fu Lianguan cooks natural-tasting, non-MSG dishes from the organic vegetables and fruits she grows on her 3.7-hectare land. She also raises ducks and chickens in her courtyard and soft-shelled turtles (jiayu) in her pond.

"I'm going to make pickles, salted meat and fish together with my guests during the Spring Festival," she says, beaming. "And I will provide all the ingredients and seasonings."

Salted fish and meat are essential dishes for the family reunion dinner on the Chinese New Year's Eve in the village. The fish is grass carp that Auntie Fu raises. She removes the scales, guts the fish, washes it and applies salt.

"Visitors can try applying the salt, it won't be difficult, it's just for fun," she says.

Her signature dishes are famous: Soup with sweet corn and spare ribs is stewed for four to five hours until the meat falls off the bones and the bones crumble into calcium and other nutrients. Her red-sauce pork is prepared with home-made rice wine.

Not far from Auntie Fu's House is a chicken farm - actually a chicken theme park - where hundreds of free-range chickens are raised in the woods. There are a dozen types, including Luhua chicken famed for its red comb and black-bone chicken.

Various chicken-related games will be played during the holiday and children are expected to love them, says farm director Cao Yuefang.

A huge mural depicts lots and lots of chickens, and children are encouraged to count the exact number and win a prize - eggs.

Another game involves correctly identifying the various types of chicken and the ultimate contest requires kids to catch chickens without hurting them, using nets on long poles.

"It's fun and the children can learn something useful and interesting," Cao says.

Visitors who want to experience real country life in the cold weather can plant rice seedlings and tend ducks along to a riverside.

"These are all daily routines for local farmers but for urban residents they might be an eye-opener," Cao says.

Known to some as a cradle of Chinese calligraphy, Langxia Town plans writing events before and during the holiday. Practitioners will compose, write and distribute free chunlian, or Spring Festival couplets, to locals and visitors. These auspicious words on red paper are traditionally pasted on either side of a door or gate.

Some couplets will be sent to poor families and nursing homes,according to Zhang Yafang, director of the town's culture center. "We hope they can have a happy rabbit year."

On the third day of the Spring Festival, an open-air calligraphy performance will be held in the town's central square. Around 200 calligraphy lovers, from small children to seniors, will perform on stage. Visitors are welcome to participate.

"We will collect all the works done in the show, whether by children or masters," the director says, adding that they will be framed and mounted and displayed on a wall in the culture center.

Address: 9199 Caolang Rd

Tel: 5739-5433

How to get there: Take G60 (Shanghai-Hangzhou Highway) and shift to G15 Highway. Take Tingwei Road Exit. Drive on Tingwei Road and turn left to the Caolang Road.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend