A Travellerspoint blog

Dinner on the Orient Express

overcast 27 °C

It is no surprise to us that China is full of surprises, but even we were amazed to be having a full blown haute cuisine dinner on board the Orient Express in Guangzhou...
When we left our 'family' on the banks of the Yulong River in rural Yangshuo for the modern city of Guangzhou we entered a sophisticated world of bullet trains and futuristic railway stations, of snazzy shopping malls and fancy hotels.
However, in the midst of this bustling ultramodern city of 16 million on the banks of The Pearl River in southeast China there is an island of calm. The island of Shamian is home to many historic buildings erected by banks and foreign trading companies during the early part of the 20th century when Canton, (as it was then known), was a conduit for trade between China and the rest of the world..large_1-P1110829.jpg.
And nestled in a mansion's tropical garden, surrounded by orchids and banana palms, is an original Orient Express railway coach that once carried well-healed passengers from London and Paris to Venice...
The food served in this historic dining car is absolutely superb. We had breast of duck, cassoulet and grilled prawns – all so superbly cooked, exquisitely presented and professionally served that we would have sworn that we were dining in the most exclusive Parisian restaurant...
Guangzhou, like many Chinese cities, is a conundrum. On the one hand it is as modern and chic as any western city. The young Chinese professionals dress elegantly, dine extravagantly, and leave their Mercs, BMWs and Audis lining the streets...
But just across the road from the Orient Express is a vast hospital devoted entirely to treating people using traditional Chinese methods and it is surrounded by a teeming market of hundreds of stores selling ingredients for traditional remedies...
Herbal medicines by the sackful may appear out of place to us in the 21st century, but judging by the amount and variety on sale here here there are no shortage of believers...
There are huge amounts of dried fruit, flowers, leaves and bark, but most popular seem to be dried fungi and mushrooms, along with all manner of antelope horns which have been sliced, diced and pulverized in a dozen different ways. Dried seafood of many kinds may cure any number of ailments but we couldn't figure out what we should do with a few thousand seahorses...
Guangzhou is still known as a major trading centre and this is where the world comes to buy all manner of manufactured Chinese products in bulk. Today is our last day in China so we will be hitting the shopping malls in search of a Chinese trinket or two for our friends back home – anyone need a genuine plastic back scratcher or two?

Posted by Hawkson 18:46 Archived in China

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Herbal medicines out of place in the 21st Century? No way. They are alive and well on Gabriola I can assure you. Interesting to know how the dried seahorse cure is applied.

by R and B

First again. I really thought that you were going to ride the Orient Express back home to Canada. But dont bring the blue sea horses thank you..
We had a very nice warm sunny day today after it finished raining early this morning. You are both very sun covered...love Jean

by Jean McLaren

I love the poised fork and knife. What an adventure you have been on. Thank goodness we have so many secret places in our beings to store such memories. Your cups must be running over........

by Sue Fitzwilson

As a HuaYi whose elders origanted from this area, and my first visit some 3 decades plus back, including tales of older Huayi visitors, The shaman remains the Taipans' territory.
Guangdong province handles 10% of China's exports.

Great information ;-)))

by kenhuocj

Sighted: Inspector Bliss caught dating Miss Marple on the Orient Express!

by Janet

I've really enjoyed following you on your travels. What a great way to finish in China, dinner on the Orient Express.

All good things must come to an end, and I'm missing my mum. Enjoy your last days and safe travels home! Xx

by Pippa

What a fitting ending to a fascinating trip. We enjoyed following along every step of the way.

by Ginny Miller

You two look terrific. China obviously agrees with you. I was confused at first at how in the hell did you get on the Orient Express. Nice meal.

by keith and helen

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