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Alvinology goes to Shantou – Day 4 of 5

Alvinology goes to Shantou – Day 4 of 5

Our fourth day in Shantou (汕头)was our last full day there. Hence we wanted to make the most of it. Instead of following the official itinerary with our contingent, Rachel and I decided to tag along with Nicholas who will be hosted by his Shantou relatives. In this way, we get to have the real local experience as opposed to lavish banquets and staged events, catered for tourists.

In the morning, Nic’s uncle drove to pick us at our hotel. He brought us to a famous stall near his place to have beef ball kway tiao for breakfast. The stall is said to serve to best beef ball in all of Shantou and one of the few left that still hand-made their beef balls. Rachel and I enjoyed our breakfast very much and devoured the tangy beef balls quickly.

The best beef ball kway tiao in Shantou

The best beef ball kway tiao in Shantou

The stall

The stall

Nic and Rachel enjoying their beef ball kway tiao

Nic and Rachel enjoying their beef ball kway tiao

Hand-made beef balls

Hand-made beef balls

Close-up of the super fast beef ball "pulling"

Close-up of the super fast beef ball “pulling”

After breakfast, Nic’s uncle brought us to walk around a local wet market and introduce us to some local food delights. The market was reminiscence of Singapore in the 80s. When I was a little boy, we had wet markets like these too where the fish and poultry are slaughtered live on the spot.

At the local market

At the local market

Fishmonger

Fishmonger

Close-up of the fish

Close-up of the fish

Another fish stall

Another fish stall

Live chicken waiting to be slaughtered

Live chicken waiting to be slaughtered

Noodle stall

Noodle stall

Vegetable and cockles

Vegetable and cockles

Cockles and all kind of shell fish

Cockles and all kind of shell fish

Pork vendor

Pork vendor

Another butcher stall

Another butcher stall

We then went to Nic’s uncle’s condominium for a quick visit. Nic’s uncle and aunt lives on the top floor of the condominium. There’s no lift, so we had to climb all the way up – a harrowing task for Singaporean brats like us, used to modern convenience.

Nic at his uncle and aunt's condominium

Nic at his uncle and aunt’s condominium

Nic with his uncle and aunt

Nic with his uncle and aunt

Their home has a nice view of the city and the sea. The roof-top floor also belong to them and they have spent much effort converting it into a cosy little garden. There was a pet cat and some chickens kept in the garden. There’s also a tidy indoor area to sit down, smoke and sip tea.

Beautiful rooftop garden

Beautiful rooftop garden

Nic's aunt cajoled Rachel to take a photo with her beautiful rose

Nic’s aunt cajoled Rachel to take a photo with her beautiful rose

There's even a small papaya tree

There’s even a small papaya tree

Well-kept greenery

Well-kept greenery

Garden view

Garden view

Rachel and I

Rachel and I

Nic and his aunt, enjoying the view

Nic and his aunt, enjoying the view

Rooftop view

Can see the sea

Pet chicken

Pet chicken

Pet cat

Pet cat

The cat does not like to be carried

The cat does not like to be carried

The three of us together

The three of us together

Nic sipping tea with his uncle while deep in conversation

Nic sipping tea with his uncle while deep in conversation

Rachel chatting with Nic's aunt

Rachel chatting with Nic’s aunt

Home-grown hulu

Home-grown hulu

Shantou mini mango

Shantou mini mango

One thing we observed about Chinese homes during this trip is that they always have a large tea-set in the living room. Guests are always served with tea and most Chinese men smoke too when enjoying their tea.

You will see one of this in practically all Chinese homes

You will see one of this in practically all Chinese homes

After seeing Nic’s uncle and aunt’s home, they drove us to the city outskirt to visit Nic’s family ancestral home and also to visit more of his relatives.

Pumping petrol for the long drive. We were surprised by the steep fuel price.

Pumping petrol for the long drive. We were surprised by the steep fuel price.

We had a sumptuous home-cooked lunch, choked full of Teochew delights at one of Nic’s relatives’ home. After lunch, we followed Nic as his uncle brought him house hopping. One of Nic’s relative owns a large ceramic and glaze factory. They gave us a tour of their factory and showed us the production process.

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The Chinese were really hospitable. Even though Rachel and I were strangers, Nic’s relatives made us felt like one of them and we enjoyed ourselves very much that day.

At the countryside

At the countryside

Nic's relatives enjoying a puff with their tea

Nic’s relatives enjoying a puff with their tea

Very friendly pet dog

Very friendly pet dog

A small-scale ceramic factory beside Nic's relatives' house

A small-scale ceramic factory beside Nic’s relatives’ house

Making little pots

Making little pots

Completed pots

Completed pots

Lunch time

Lunch time

Nic with his relatives

Nic with his relatives

"Or Lua" - teochew oyster omelette

“Or Lua” – teochew oyster omelette

Braised duck

Braised duck

Fried carrot cake

Fried carrot cake

Veggie

Veggie

Beef ball soup

Beef ball soup

Steamed eel - a local delight

Steamed eel – a local delight

Turtle soup (甲鱼)

Turtle soup (甲鱼)

Crystal buns for desert (水晶包)

Crystal buns for desert (水晶包)

 Nic's ancestral village

Nic’s ancestral village

Inside the village

Inside the village

You only see kids and old folks. The youngsters mostly went to work in the city.

You only see kids and old folks. The youngsters mostly went to work in the city.

Ads for STDs clinic...

Ads for STDs clinic…

A village provision shop

A village provision shop

In an alley

In an alley

A walk through time

A walk through time

Rachel in the alley

Rachel in the alley

Dried kway chap

Dried kway chap

Basket full of feathers

Basket full of feathers

The feathers probably came from here

The feathers probably came from here

Inside a kitchen

Inside a kitchen

Braised eggs

Braised eggs

Braised pork that had been left simmering for years

Braised pork that had been left simmering for years

Nic's uncle bringing him around his grandfather's old home

Nic’s uncle bringing him around his grandfather’s old home

Inside a room where Nic's mother used to play in

Inside a room where Nic’s mother used to play in

An interesting structure

An interesting structure

The walls of all the village houses were adorned by kids' drawing and certs

The walls of all the village houses were adorned by kids’ drawing and certs

Drawing by another kid in another house

Drawing by another kid in another house

A rain shelter built using donations from overseas Chinese

A rain shelter built using donations from overseas Chinese

Another archway built using overseas Chinese's donations

Another archway built using overseas Chinese’s donations

At one of Nic's relatives' ceramic factory

At one of Nic’s relatives’ ceramic factory

Factory exterior

Factory exterior

Inside the sprawling factory

Inside the sprawling factory

Another picture of the factory interior

Another picture of the factory interior

Display of their ceramic product range

Display of their ceramic product range

Stirring the glaze used to colour the ceramic

Stirring the glaze used to colour the ceramic

Chemical barrels

Chemical barrels

Glaze pools that are over 4m deep

Glaze pools that are over 4m deep

Ceramic powder

Ceramic powder

Checking out the different kind of ceramic products

Checking out the different kind of ceramic products

Rachel looking through the ceramic items

Rachel looking through the ceramic items

Workers going through their daily routine

Workers going through their daily routine

I suppose this is a kiln

I suppose this is a kiln

Some large canisters

Some large canisters

The men sipping tea and smoking as usual

The men sipping tea and smoking as usual

Barren farmland outside the factory

Barren farmland outside the factory

More buildings coming up

More buildings coming up

A pet dog in the ceramic factory

A pet dog in the ceramic factory

Nic with his relatives who own the factory

Nic with his relatives who own the factory

With CCTVs - they get to work from home while watching television

With CCTVs – they get to work from home while watching television

The highlight of the day was scheduled for late noon – to visit a lavish hot spring resort,  Dansuao Hot Spring Hill (潮安县东山湖温泉度假村), highly recommended by Nic’s uncle who drove us there. The resort claims to have an astonishing 99 hot springs! We reached the place at around 4pm and spend around two hours soaking ourselves in the many different types of hot springs there. Heavenly.

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We managed to take a few photos of the place before Rachel got caught and was made to keep the camera in the locker. Other the hot springs, the resort also has massage facilities, a gym, sauna and many other items.

According to Nic’s uncle, this resort was built by a rich Singaporean Teochew businessman. With the advent of Shantou as a modern city, the man has received many offers to buy his resort recently, but he had steadfastly refused, seeing further potential in his investment.

The hot spring resort is big. We have to walk a distance from the carpark.

The hot spring resort is big. We have to walk a distance from the carpark.

We passed an old communist school on the way - pointed out by Nic's uncle

We passed an old communist school on the way – pointed out by Nic’s uncle

The stroll was lovely as the place was rather scenic

The stroll was lovely as the place was rather scenic

Main building of the resort

Main building of the resort

Rachel and I

Rachel and I

At the reception

At the reception

We were surprised to see a grand piano at the lobby

We were surprised to see a grand piano at the lobby

We are here :)

We are here 🙂

Artificial landscaping

A pond

There were many nice rock structures like this

There were many nice rock structures like this

The four elements spring

The four elements spring

Rachel and I dipping in one of the hot spring

Rachel and I dipping in one of the element spring

Heavenly outdoor hot spring

Heavenly outdoor hot spring

Rachel and Nic's aunt in one of the medicinal hot spring (hence the green tint)

Rachel and Nic’s aunt in one of the medical hot spring (hence the green tint)

Another picture

Another picture

Rachel alone in another spring

Rachel alone in another spring

Rachel and I inside a tiny spring

Rachel and I inside a tiny spring

There's newspapers to read and fruits to eat after enjoying the hot springs

There’s newspapers to read and fruits to eat after enjoying the hot springs

Night view of the resort

Night view of the resort

After the hot springs, it was dinner time. Nic’s uncle and aunt brought us to a nearby remote restaurant that we probably won’t be able to find by ourselves. There, we had one of our best meal in Shantou. The fish was slaughtered on the spot and served fresh. The kampong chicken meat was really sweet and tangy. Vegetable was jade green.

Dinner place

Dinner place

Inside the restaurant

Inside the restaurant

We were the only customers that night

We were the only customers that night

The fish was slaughtered live after we have made our choice

The fish was slaughtered live after we have made our choice

Chopping the fish into little bits

Chopping the fish into little bits

Chicken in the backyard where the toilet was

Chicken in the backyard where the toilet was

There were lots of pet cats in the restaurant

There were lots of pet cats in the restaurant

Our lunch coming up

Our lunch coming up

Delicious kampong chicken

Delicious kampong chicken

Liang Teh to go with the meal

Liang Teh to go with the meal

Pig stomach soup

Pig stomach soup

Jade green veggie

Jade green veggie

Very fresh eel

Very fresh eel

Nothing goes to waste - the remaining ingredient were served with kway tiao

Nothing go to waste – the remaining ingredient were served with kway tiao

After a full meal

After a filling meal

We had tea after dinner and Nic’s uncle strike up a conversation with the restaurant owner who was a retired hotel chef.

Nic's uncle sipping tea with the restaurant owner and staff

Nic’s uncle sipping tea with the restaurant owner and staff

Nic’s uncle then drove us to buy some food stuff for Nic to bring back to his relatives in Singapore. We were then taken back to our hotel where we bid farwell to Nic’s friendly uncle and aunt.

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That ended our last full day in Shantou. Tomorrow, we will be leaving early in the morning to Singapore. 🙂

Previous Entries:

Home and away in Shantou (Rachel’s my paper article)

Plane Solemnisation

Day 1 – Arrival, Teochew Opera

Day 2 – Chaozhou, Chao’an and Raoping

Day 3 – Puning, Jieyang

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About The Author

alvinology

Alvin is a marketer by day and blogger by night. He is a 100% geek who spends too much time surfing the web.

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