Hui Guo Rou (Fatty Boiled Spicy Pork) Shan Hai Guan 山海关 Great Wall
Somewhere in ShanHaiGuan,China
During my visit to China this month, I took a side trip to Shan Hai Guan with my friend Gisa. Shan Hai Guan, located about 3 hours by train & bus from Beijing, is the city where the Great Wal of China meets the ocean. The name ShanHaiGuan literally means “Mountain and Sea Pass”. It’s a pretty awesome sight (depending on how you look at it – more on this later). One of the regional specialties in the area is Hui Guo Rou or “return to pot meat”. Which is I suppose part of the cooking process to gain the flavor of this dish that consists of fatty slices of pork and green peppers mixed in a spicy garlic sauce. Because it has been boiled and cooked for sometime, it’s not as fatty as you would imagine while supplying the added benefit of concentrating the flavor of the meat. It was amazing and would be perfect on a cold winter night with the fatty pork providing a great base in the stomach for those endless shots of Bai Jiu (Chinese grain alcohol).
Going back to the Great Wall at ShanHaiGuan. Be sure to visit the beach from the south side. Our cabbie dropped us off at the North end and it was a pretty sad environmental disaster. We saw overgrown algae (with a small stench), lots of trash and a dead dog. Yes a DEAD dog on the beach with flies!!! It was horrible! The South side of the beach however features clean white sand beaches and magnificent views of the reconstructed Great Wall. I’m slowly learning the ban fa (methodology) of China – if you can create the illusion on one side of the wall, just sweep/leave the dirt and trash on to the other side. What people can’t see won’t hurt them right? That was pretty crazy but almost not as crazy as some biscuits we discovered at a small shop in Bei Dai He (resort beach town 1 hour south of Shan Hai Guan – also the site of the Velodrome for the 2008 Beijing Olympics). On the packaging in Chinese it says Niu Rou Wei or Beef Flavored crackers! Who would have thought about that? Well, I did grow up with Chicken in a Biskit crackers as a kid and like them a lot so I guess Beef isn’t too crazy afterall. Anyways, I tried them out and actually they didn’t taste like beef at all. Just flavorless crackers. Too bad!