Wednesday, May 9, 2012


We were surprised when the receptionist told us that breakfast was included. We were told that breakfast will be served on the 8th floor at 7.30 am. and we were early and had to wait for them to open the door. It was just a room set up with tables for the breakfast- not even a proper dining room. We were told to sit down and that they will serve us with the set breakfast.
What a disappointing breakfast or is it just a typical Chinese breakfast?
Typical Chinese breakfast- corn, hardboiled egg, bread, plain porridge with a spicy condiment and they do served us coffee- thank God.

Lai Ying came with her hubby to pick us up and we were on the way to TaiSun - balik kampung to our roots in China.
We took the highway and it was a 2 hours drive from Guangzhou.  We meet up with another cousin Lee Chong Sing.  He was waiting for us at the bus stop and directed us back to his house first.
Met his wife aka as "his cook".

    They had a small vegetable patch outside their house.

Tapioca leaves and yau mak choy.

Rows of french beans
Did not see any pigs around but these baskets which are used to catch the pigs for slaughter were placed around the vegetable patch.  In the ancient times, if anyone was found to behave or done something adulterous, they could be caught and bundled into the pig basket and then thrown into the sea!

May said these are celeriac roots
flowering flat leaf parsley
Lee Chong Sing is the son of  another Ku-cheh (deceased).  He is a learned man - see his books behind.  I remember when we were small, our father used to encourage us to write to him (in English).  He still writes essays  for some Chinese Association.

We went to the market place to meet another cousin  and his wife.  This couple were staying at the ancestral house before and now are  in charge to keep the house clean and to offer incense during the festivals and the New Year.

Both of them are camera-shy.  She can speak the Taisun lingo very fast that I cannot understand.

We met them at the fish market and they helped Lai Ying to get some fresh fish for our lunch.  Here, you are supposed to buy whatever fish, prawns shellfish etc and then go to the nearby restaurants which then cook them for you.
Sorting crabs

Shucking oysters.

After getting what they wanted, we went over to the adjoining restaurant to wait for our lunch.

Blanched fresh prawns

Also blanched "snails"- chewy texture

 Fish slices and Spinach soup - very delicious and "sweet".
seems to be some sort of delicacy here
The Chan Family village from afar.

 My grandfather house - No. 17
The house is now vacant.  There were actually 2 families staying  here before- my grandfather and his brother's family.  Grandpa had later migrated to Thailand and from there to Malaysia while the brother stayed on.  My father and his sisters had stayed here before.   Lai Ying was telling us how excited Ku-cheh was the first time  she came back for a visit. 

  May trying to get water from the underground well.  Every family has their own well for water.
The altar in the courtyard. This is a square open space courtyard in the middle of the 2 houses - kind of common area for the 2 families quarters.
Imagine finding this photo here as we also have a similar photo in Kuala Lumpur.  The man in the suit is my uncle- the son of my grandfather's brother -huh.. confusing?
My grandmother's bed

Could this be her wedding chair?
Her wardrobe?

We found some beautiful octagon-sided  porcelain bowls- you cannot find them in KL.  We intended to bring them back with us but our luggage were overweight so they are left with Lai Ying.  However, I did took back the green chopstick holder.

The ancestral tablet- it is built half way up from the floor.   

May climbing up the ladder to offer incense to the altar.
 Simple food offerings

This is used to  remove the husk from the rice.

 Fire crackers to frightened away the evil spirits and to announce our return.

The backlanes
What's outside? trying to open the window up in the loft.

View from the window. Every house would have these stone creatures at the corners of the roof as guardians against evil.
the opposite side of the loft- ku cheh and our father used to play up here.

the door separating the 2 families.
How I wish I could bring this back too.   I did mentioned in my earlier post how my grandmother could used the neighbour's mill for  fresh rice flour for the Nine-Layer kueh. Now I know that her's was left behind here when she joined my father in Malaysia. 
 Telling us about those days.
Answering our queries about our forefathers.

Taking a walk around the village

 As we walked around the village, a few of the older villagers seems to recognise our cousin.
He told us that this tree was planted by him 60 years ago- fancy that. 
 There was a huge plaque where the names of those who came back and who must have contributed towards the building of the village were inscribed. My grandfather's name is on the extreme left.

The name of the village- Tung Zhou Li - the character "tung" is half the character of "chan".

May went up the small loft. There were some men resting up there.  She told them "my surname is Chan" and they replied her "so is everyone here" What a joke!

rustic village scene right here in front of us.
one last photo before we left for Guangzhou.  Many villages have this type of structure before entering into the village itself.

On the way back it started to rain and we were caught in a massive traffic jam. 

We went to Jiang Nam Cai Guan for our dinner.   It is just opposite the Pearl River Cruise.

This is Choy Sum seeped in fungi soup. If I am not mistaken these are morel mushroom- the earthy and woody aroma of the soup is very tasty and light.  The Choy Sum of course are crunchy and sweet.

Pig intestines baked in foil with garlic and coriander

This is my favourite soup for this trip.  Lotus roots stuffed with green beans and boiled with salted pork ribs.  the pork ribs have been salted overnight before boiling. 
The lotus roots are soft and the green beans turned into a paste! very clear and delicious soup- hardly oily. Bookmarked this  and must  try at home.

Last but not least - sizzling hotplate taufoo.

Dessert- this is not a porcupine!

Its purple sweet potato ball with a peanut paste filling- yummy.
By the way, dinner here is normally eaten without rice- just the dishes are enough to fill you up without the rice.

After dinner, we took a short walk along the Pearl River to see the sights- the Asian Games stadium- the Sails and Canton Tower.
 The Canton Tower at night- dazzling!

We decided to call it a day, Lai Ying's husband has been driving the whole day, he looked so tired.
We had another day of travelling tomorrow.


  1. Your account of your 'balik kampong' is very interesting. I too went back to look at my roots last year, at Foshan, home of Wong Fei Hoong. But my kampong wasn't as pristine as yours, it's just a few rows of houses right behind some shops.

    1. Hi, good morning. Thanks. I wasn't not sure what to expect but am totally surprised! But then there is still the communal toilet! Sure good to know how our parent grew up!