Alvinology goes to Shantou – Day 4 of 5 - Alvinology

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.

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.

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.

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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