Itinerary and Activities
Day 1: Arrival in Shanghai
Depending on the time of your arrival, you can either take rest or explore the nearby area. In the evening, you will be dining in a well known and elegant restaurant, which serves refined Jiangsu cuisine and fusion dishes of Shanghai style.
Day 2: Shanghai – City Walk and Special Food Treats
At 10:00 AM your personal English speaking guide will pick you up from your hotel and take you on an excursion to explore the city on foot and taste some traditional local snacks, such as Pan-Fried Baozi Stuffed with Pork, Baozi Stuffed with Juicy Pork, etc. In the evening, you will be taken to a vegetarian restaurant in a Buddhist temple, which embodies both artistic uniqueness of modern decor and cultural feature of Buddhist religion. Vegetarian food in China has a long history and was developed to a higher level by Buddhist temples. The Shanghai-style modern veggie cuisine is based on traditional Buddhist cooking and assimilated with modern way of preparation. They are superior in color, flavor, taste and texture.
Day 3: Shanghai – Cooking and Tasting
You will be meeting the chief's family, visiting a neighborhood wet market to learn how to shop like the Chinese, a chance to bargain hard for your food over the market and so you can cook everything on today's menu. Then with a chef by your side, showing you how to transform the raw ingredients into authentic Chinese food. You will learn some easy-to-make and yummy Chinese home cooking dishes and eat these up with the chef's family. Kindly note that the chef's home and the local wet market represents the typical Shanghainese people's life style which is totally different from the western standards.
After the lunch, the chef will take you to Qi Bao (Seven Treasures Watertown) - a nearby ancient water town where you will find lots of local dumplings and street food. If you see some vendors frying up the "Stinky" tofu, try it! This stuff smells really bad, but tastes wonderful!
For dinner, you will be dining in a hundred year old restaurant for traditional Shanghai dishes. The restaurant was established by the end of 19th century and is famous for its great contribution in the creation and improvement of Shanghai cuisine. In the restaurant you will taste the native signature Shanghai dishes.
Day 4: Shanghai - Hangzhou
Hangzhou is the major birthplace of Zhejiang cuisine. The restaurant where you will be having dinner is an old name with the reputation for real authentic Hangzhou food. Their dishes are original, delicious and genuinely tasteful.
Day 5: Hangzhou – Tea Safari
There are 8 famous green teas in China. One is from Hangzhou – Dragon Well (Longjing) tea. The tea received its name from a small village located on Phoenix Mountain in Hangzhou. It is famous not only for its unique and delicate flavor, but for many legends surrounding it. One legend said that since the Three Kingdoms Period (221-280) the residents of this village believed that a dragon lived in the village well and controlled the rainfall.
Dragon Well tea is made of tender tea shoots. They are very small, no larger than 2 cm. One kilogram of tea can have over 80,000 shoots. The best Dragon Well Tea is picked very early in the spring. There is only a 6 week time period to harvest them.
Guided by your English speaking host, you will hike through tea fields and watch tea leave picking; visit tea farmer’s house in Dragon Well village, taste the famous tea in fresh, and watch tea-roasting process. If you like, you can also buy some to bring home.
Lunch will be in a restaurant which uses the best seasonal local produces to cook healthy, elegant, delicate and tasty dishes of their own invention.
After lunch, you will visit the National Tea Museum, which is the only one in China with tea theme. It is located on the west of West Lake, surrounded by tea trees. A nice place to discover the Chinese tea history and culture through various exhibitions. You will also have the opportunity to see tea ceremonies. For more information about the museum, go to http://english.teamuseum.cn.
Day 6: Hangzhou Discovery
In the morning, you will go for an excursion to visit Lingyin Temple (optional). The temple is one of the most significant and beautiful Buddhist monasteries in China. For more readings, please go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lingyin_Temple or http://scenery.cultural-china.com/en/128Scenery483.html
Lunch will be the experience of Hangzhou food. The restaurant we have chosen is one of the best restaurants specializing in Hangzhou cuisine and top 50 in China 2011. With several Chinese cooking masters and famous chefs, it offers not only the famous local traditional dishes but their own created food with style, originality and delicacy.
After lunch it’s your free time. You can take rest or walk around the beautiful West Lake.
In the evening, your guide will take you to a walking excursion around Hefang Street. This historical and cultural street is the epitome of old Hangzhou. Shops selling art crafts, souvenirs, silk, teahouses, and restaurants line on both sides of the street.
Day 7: Hangzhou – Chengdu
Leave at 10 am to Hangzhou Airport and fly to Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province. Will arrive in Chengdu late afternoon. There will be 2-3 hour free time before dinner.
As a starting point to explore Sichuan cuisine, you will be dining in a restaurant famous for authentic and refined Sichuan food. They make the traditional dishes with style, complexity and delicacy. Most importantly, it tastes delicious.
Day 8: Chengdu - a day-trip to Pixian
On a day-trip to Pixian - the birthplace of chili bean paste, the indispensable, secret ingredient of Sichuan cuisine, we’ll see how it made on a private tour to an original producer. We will also visit The Museum of Sichuan Cuisine. Apart from the collections of culinary related items, the museum has a restaurant with open kitchen. You will have lunch there and observe the cooking process at the same time.
Medicine cuisine as a special branch of cooking can be found only in China. The Chinese way of looking at health lies in its philosophy of “food and medicine sharing the same roots”. This firm belief has led to the introduction of many edible plants and herbs. With the effects of disease prevention and health preservation, they have become regular dishes in Chinese cuisine. At the same time there is the pursuit of refinement in cooking. To experience these unique Chinese foods, we have chosen a restaurant specializing in medicine cuisine for today’s dinner.
Day 9: Chengdu - Flavor of the city
In the morning you will be guided on a short visit to the wholesale condiment market to have a feeling why Sichuan cuisine has the reputation as the "heaven of the flavors", then tour around a local wet market.
Tea and lunch in a traditional teahouse for well-known local snacks and experience Chengdu teahouse culture.
For your free time in the afternoon, we suggest you take some leisure time at Kuanzhaixiang (literally means "wide and narrow alleys") - the rebuilt Qing style streets, full of cafe's, bars, teahouses, shops and restaurants.
Dinner will be in a restaurant named by some food critics as the best Chinese restaurant. It demonstrates how the traditional Chinese cooking can be modern, innovative and creative. The food is not only delicate and delicious but the work of art.
Day 10: Chengdu - Beijing
Free in the morning or visit Qing Yang Gong, a Daoist temple, on option. Lunch will be late. As farewell to Chengdu, you will be tasting the typical Chengdu dish in a restaurant famous for it.
After lunch, we will heading for the airport and fly to Beijing, the capital of China and an ancient city with modern touch.
Day 11: Beijing Walk - Taste of the people’s life
Hutong is the true representative of old Beijing life. It is alleys formed by lines of siheyuan, traditional courtyard residences. For more information please go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hutong. During the excursion, you will visit a local family living in siheyuan, learn how to make Chinese dumplings and eat with the family together.
For the first dinner in Beijing, we will take you to a restaurant famous for refined Northwestern cuisine. They have brought back some ancient recipes on their menu and lifted the traditional northwestern dishes to a completely new level of fine dining.
Day 12: Beijing - Flavour of the imperial life
The Forbidden City had been the imperial palace for almost 800 years. Rectangular in shape, it is the world's largest palace complex and covers 74 hectares. Surrounded by a 52-meter-wide moat and a 10-meter-high wall are more than 8,700 rooms. For more reading, please see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forbidden_City.
The Temple of Heaven, founded in the first half of the 15th century, is a dignified complex, which was visited by the Emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties for annual ceremonies of prayer to Heaven for good harvest. It symbolizes the relationship between earth and heaven - the human world and God's world - which stands at the heart of Chinese cosmogony, and also the special role played by the emperors within that relationship. For more reading, please go to http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/881.
To get a feeling of what the imperial food looks like and tastes, you will be dining in a restaurant with set menu of 8-10 dishes prepared by chefs who are highly skillful in imperial cuisine.
Day 13: Beijing – The Great Wall
Mutianyu is a section of the Great Wall of China, 70km northeast of Beijing. Watchtowers are densely placed along this section of the Great Wall - 22 watchtowers on the 2.25km-long stretch. For more information, see http://www.mutianyugreatwall.net/index.php.
Today you will explore the Shandong cuisine. In China’s 8 major regional culinary schools, it is the earliest and one of the most influential and popular cuisines in China. Shandong Province is the birthplace of Confucius, and Shandong cuisine embodies the dining concept of "Eat no food but what’s of the best quality; eat no meat but what’s finely minced". It emphasizes purity of the seasonings and is a little salty. It features freshness, tenderness, aroma and crispness. There are over 30 kinds of common cooking techniques, of which, "bao (quick stir-frying), chao (frying), shao (stewing), ta (boiling) and pa (braising)" are outstanding.
Day 14: Beijing - Cooking Class
Peking Duck is the most famous Chinese dish in the world. To complete the trip with a lasting and unforgettable memory, we have selected one of the best restaurants in China for Peking Duck. Besides this wellknown dish, you will enjoy many delicious mouth-watering dishes - all with duck!!
Day 15: Departure
Please note that the price is based on double occupancy. It is indication at the moment. It depends on the exchange rate between Euro and Chinese RMB, number of persons travelling and domestic airfares.
Minimum 2 people
Any time of the year
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