Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Today's itinerary 17/4/2012 - Kaiping Diaolou Heritage site.

I am an early bird - no matter how tired I could be the day before, I just cannot just sleep late! As I was moving around the room, I woke up my sister too.  Both of us felt that we cannot stand the set breakfast given by the hotel and decided to try out the dimsum next door. It was a strange scenario that greeted us- most of the customers sitting there seems to be senior citizens- of course including us!
It was self-service- you take the card along with you to the open-kitchen, take what you want and the staff would then stamp the card. Since there were only 2 of us, the other 2 were still sleeping, we cannot ordered much.  The dimsum was pretty ordinary and we left rather hurriedly as the men who shared the same table with us started to smoke in the restaurant- they really have no regard for the No smoking sign!

Har Gow- big pieces of shrimps 
Steamed Rice in Lotus leaf- one of my favourite dim sum and this did not disappoint.
We ordered a dish of Cheong Fun with Prawns which was not so nice- better ones can be found in KL.
We went back to the hotel to look for my other sisters.  They were having breakfast in the hotel- just coffee and eggs only.

Lai Ying's husband is the driver again today.  He came with Lai Nah and Har Liu and her husband.  Lai Ying was staying behind to look after Ku Cheh.

Kaiping is about 2 hours drive from Guangzhou. 
The best time to visit Kaiping is around March when the fields of golden Kale flowers are in full bloom. It must be a beautiful sight then- we just miss the season.

We had passed this place yesterday  to Tai Sun.  These Diaolous are Guangzhou Cultural Heritage site.  These are western style buildings in the ancient village. The Chinese who left for overseas came back to the village when they had made their pot of gold. They then built these villas/houses along the western style architecture and furnished them with imported western furnishings and decorations.

There are a few cluster of the diaolous but the most famous are in the Zili Village and the Li Yuan Garden- the home of one of the richest man back then, Mr. Xie.

Entrance to Li Yuan Garden-

These are 4 houses built by Mr. Xie for his sons - all in a row.

This diaolou built for his 2nd wife who had died giving birth. You can see that the building is truly a stronghold- the windows are made of  iron  and so is the front door.
Another building on the grounds.

This is outside the kitchen - these outlets are for the dog (right) and the chickens (left).

It started to rain while we were up in the building.

Waiting for the rain to stop- all the nurses in a row- my cousin Har Lui is a midwife in Guangzhou hospital, my sister Yoke Mea- a O.T. (operating theatre) nurse and May, Unit Manager, Cardiac Department in Royal Children Hospital in Melbourne.
After the rain stopped, we decided to walk around the garden.

This place is truly a man of wealth.  This canal is built around the whole house.   It is purported that Mr. Xie got the building materials from over the world and bought them in from Guanghzhou using this canal which goes all the way to the Pearl River in Guanghzhou.

There is a long passage
Walking along the passage- the beautifully decorated passage-way, each telling a different story.

The story of Concubine and her pi-pa. The passage leads us to the entrance.  From here, it is a short distance (by car) to the Zili Village to see more cluster of the diaolous.

 These are water-lilies not lotus plant

walking on top of the rice fields towards the cluster of diaolous.
 Rice seedlings. My cousin Lai Na was telling us how she had participated in rice-planting when she was young.  It was truly back-breaking work as each seedling has to be planted into the soil by hand.  So as I always tell my children - DO NOT WASTE ANY RICE.
Another  huge diaolou.
The diaolous here seems to be bigger.  Notice the way that these 2 buildings are leaning away from each other.

Some of the location sites for the  movie "Let's Bullets Fly" was filmed here.
The village
 These diaolous stand among the rice fields

May is also swaying as these 2 diaolous!

 The special sliding wooden door.  We had this too in our former house in KL -a 1924 pre-war house. The mechanism to open this door is amazing - just a small piece of wooden knob that pushes up to release the door.

Before we made our way back to Guangzhou, we stopped by a restaurant near the petrol station for lunch.  This restaurant served organic vegetables. We also ordered an organic chicken- after bargaining for the price -it was slaughter right away! May could  not partake this chicken of course! It was cooked 2 ways- in a soup and remaining steamed with mushroom.  Pretty normal.

This something new for us- Steamed Luffa gourd with minced garlic. Taste light and brings out the sweetness of the vegetable- maybe it organic. Of course, when I reached home, I tried out this dish.....
this is what I cooked- vast difference in the colour of the gourd! Being Malaysian, have added some chopped chilies and less garlic.   Sarah likes them. That's what I love about travelling- get the chance to try something new every time.

This Claypot Yam is so delicious too- the green veggie is actually the stem of the yam plant.

We reached back to the city with time to spare before  dinner.  We did some shopping along the streets nearby our hotel.

We went for dinner at restaurant next to our hotel (the one that I had the dimsum this morning).  This hotel is close to Ku-cheh's house.  Again they had ordered almost 10 dishes!
   Vegetarian dish- favourite of May and myself.

This is eggplant  deep fried in batter and served on a sizzling hotplate. The sweet sour sauce makes the dish extra delicious.
Roasted quails.
"You must eat more" said Ku Cheh.

Farewell photo.


  1. I like to try many new foods when travel, then comeback home i will try to cook it too..Your version of Steamed Luffa gourd with minced garlic look better than the original one, next time i must try this too.

    1. hi, good morning,
      Thank you- Yes that's what I always try to do so that my children can try them too.