By Liu Jun
BEIJING, Oct. 15 -- I almost swallowed my tongue at the first bite. It must have been decades since I last tasted such fresh and delicious home-raised chicken. We were sitting along a country road beneath a giant poplar tree, hungrily fishing for chunks of the fowl boiling in an old-fashioned hotpot.
Our friend, a native of Lijiang, Yunnan province, had merely told us we'd see some rapeseed flowers in Tai'an, a township famed for enormous peaches and wild cranes.
Local Naxi people hold on to their traditions in Lijiang, a city which has witnessed booming tourism in recent decades.(Photo Source: China Daily/by Liu Jun)
An hour's drive took us across the mountains from Lijiang to slopes aglow with yellow rapeseed flowers. But little did we expect such a mouth-watering treat at a very humble-looking restaurant.
We had plucked some red-skinned potatoes from the fields. They tasted sweet and mild. So did the cabbage we threw into the soup.
It was a highlight of my family's recent trip to Lijiang in Southwest China. We were lucky to spend 10 days with our friend's family, which allowed us to catch glimpses of local life.
As I'm not much of a gourmet, my long years of dwelling in the city has sharpened my yearning for real, natural nourishment.
I've always believed that however globalized we might be, a person's cultural identity is rooted in the food he or she grew up eating.
While the innumerable bars and cafs in Lijiang attract most Western visitors, our friend always led us to inconspicuous eateries where local cuisine offered pleasant surprises.
Jidou, a small bean that looks like a chicken's eye, is a magical specialty here.