The name “Nanyang” doesn’t conjure up as many iconic associations or images as “Beijing” or “Shanghai” does, and I didn’t know what to expect as we made the journey from Guilin. We were, however, pleasantly surprised… It didn’t help that we were taken to this slightly rundown barbecue place for our first dinner in the city. If you’ve lived in China, then you know that places like these are for those students or natives who like their beer with tasty food that go well with it. Not exactly the poshest place, but sometimes these places have the best guilty pleasures. Alas, I was right: Just look at those pork legs! (Do you even call them that?) All I know that they are big slabs of tender meat on big bones, and they are delicious. Slipping on the plastic gloves and attacking them with your hands delivers maximum satisfaction. It was then that we understood why our hosts brought us here. Seriously, look for this when you’re in Nanyang! The wild herbs definitely have their unique flavor, not necessarily something I’d go for, but good to try. What I liked above the rest (yes, above the pork legs even) were these lamb ribs. Flavored and fried to perfection, I didn’t mind how high my cholesterol level was shooting (or what my reputation was looking like) as I devoured rib after rib. They’re so good, I’m literally salivating right now while typing! The lesson one constantly needs to be reminded of: never judge the place to eat just by its appearance. 😀 Right in the heart of the city is Jinjiang Inn, which looked pretty decent from outside. Allow me to sidetrack a bit with this story: a few months after this trip, our car was going around in one of Manila’s business districts when – guess what – I saw Jinjiang Hotels constructing a hotel! The very same name and logo – now that’s interesting. Turns out we stayed in a hotel that was going international! Everything looks clean, crisp and pristine, just the way I like it. Now our experience, however, is a whole other story in itself. Literally seconds after I had been admiring the crisp white sheets and cool air, my more observant companion noticed that there was still a hunk of stuff lying around the room. You know, things that shouldn’t be there such as the previous guest’s used toothbrushes, paper cups, hotel slippers (le gasp) and even sliced, uneaten watermelons lying on the table! How things such as WATERMELONS escaped my attention, I have no idea. But when she pointed all those things out (plus a lingering, urine-like smell on the restroom), it definitely jolted me back to reality. Of course, we called room service and asked them to clean it all up (with much indignity for extra emphasis), but the one thing which wouldn’t go away was the smell in the bathroom. We had to live with that for a few days…
Putting it in context, this hotel is still a luxury compared to a whole other lot of places we could have stayed in. However, if you pay good money for accommodations like these, then at the very least quality of the same caliber should be expected, no?
I can’t show you all the pictures of the places we were in on Nanyang, but these relics deserve to be seen. An old Bible and little samples of the sacred things from Jerusalem… always worth a picture.
We were promised a rich, delicious dinner, and we were not disappointed. In our excitement pre-dinner and food coma post-dinner, I didn’t get to take a picture of the restaurant’s name. All I got was this…
…which I’m pretty positive any Nanyang native would identify for you if you show them. 🙂 Showing you more photos of the place, and – dum dum dum – the food. All amazing amazing amazing!
It’s a pretty big place – no, scratch that, it’s a whole BUILDING. There are spacious floors not only for tables, but also for events such as weddings and birthdays.
Our host being a sort-of-VIP in the area, we were treated to the VIP room (a very common thing in Chinese restaurants, actually). Oooh, you could know that only good things are coming ahead!
THESE MOUTHWATERING LAMB RIBS. I am willing to endure the almost six-hour trip (from the Philippines, of course) to Nanyang another time if it means that I get to go into a food coma with these ribs again! Once again, I reiterate – GET THESE WHILE YOU’RE AT NANYANG.