Chestnuts - roasted or steamed
When we were in Liuzhou, chestnuts can be found everywhere. It is either in the roasted form or the steamed type. I prefer the roasted ones as I find them to be more delicious in taste and has a stronger "nut" aroma. The chestnuts are firstly cleaned and slits are made to the nuts for ease of peeling and also them to be cooked in a faster manner. The roasted chestnuts are roasted by frying them over some special black coarse salt. Steamed ones are basically steaming them over hot fire.
Chestnuts are sold by weight. Each kati is about 6yuan to 7yuan
See another pic attached on steamed chestnuts
Chinese Pancakes -"Sau Bin"
The Chinese pancakes called "Sau Bin" - means hot pancakes are sold in alot of stalls along the streets. Some shops will prepare and cook the hot pancakes just right in the shop. You will see a huge hot plate where the pancakes are being "baked". The pancakes are of many shapes and with many fillings. We tried the pancakes with lotus fillings. Love the crust of the pancakes as it's crunchy and flaky - it's like they have made the pastry in paper thin layers ...
The lotus paste is just nice - not too sweet.
Great for snacks!
Price per piece : 1yuan to 1.50yuan (depending on fillings)
Hawkers and Pedlars
Lots of hawkers and pedlars carrying poles with 2 baskets of their goods at each end of the pole to be sold along the streets of Liuzhou. Most of the time, they sell fruits and nuts. They will usually have a small weighing balance with them as most the fruits are usually sold in weight (katis). They will place the fruits on the little pan and then slide the weight to read the scale and will tell you how much the fruits cost.
Card games - different types
Card games are popular among the elders - they usually play these in parks and gardens. You can see these at Yu Feng Gongyuan or the Liuhou Gongyuan. They play the normal 52cards deck and the other Chinese cards which is longish in shape. Usually no monies are involved in these games - they play it to past their time. Kinda of a good activity to stimulate minds of elders.
Liuzhou, the city
In the list of cities of China ordered by size, Liuzhou comes about 250th. Its population is around 1.3 million, depending on where you define the boundaries. It's just another industrial city, in this case in mid-Guangxi province, halfway between Nanning and Guilin.
[As an aside, Guanxi province is about the same size as UK by area, with similar population. There the similarities end.]
There is nothing here to make you want to make a special journey to see it. However if you came here on business, maybe for Shanghai (SAIC) - GM - Wuling Motors, maybe for the Liu Gang Iron & Steel works, then there a few places to see and things to do.
Liuzhou has several very nice parks, but its main claim is on the "Fantastic Stones". (That's how they're usually translated.) To me and to most people they're just rocks hauled out of the river, or sawn off the top of karsts, dodged up, and sold for money, in some cases quite fantastic sums. Maybe that's where they got their name. Apart from the fair, their are several stone markets - phenomenally disappointing for naive punters like me expecting gemstones rather than rocks and pebbles. There is also a gallery in Jian Panshan Park.
Liuzhou is also famous for coffins:
.. be born in Siuzhou
.. live in Guangzhou
.. die in Liuzhou
"Liuzhou - history & lore"
The history of Liuzhou is quite convoluted. Or rather, there are several threads, which have been mangled in translation, and merged to form one incoherent whole.
There is a central figure, a beautiful princess. This is Lady Liu, who also features in the story "Liu San Jie" (third sister Liu), which was an early 1960's hit film. Hardly surprisingly a hit, because it is a revolutionary tale of the underdog peasants rising up to thwart the evil landlord. This film is still widely available in any good pirate dvd (or vcd) shop. In fact it is quite watchable, as long as you plug your ears against the sound of the singing - Chinese female singers usually operate at quite high octaves, and really do sound like cats fighting!
"Liuzhou - street shopping"
Liuzhou is one of the cheapest cities in China, certainly in the south. It is possible to eat adequately well for around 2.5 RMB, although by no means would you mistake your eating place for the Ritz.
I can't really think of a word that fully connotes the roadside kitchens - the usual Chinese word is canteen, but that is somehow far too grandiose. For a lot of Chinese, the words 'maintenance', 'cleaning' and 'repair' are not in their vocabulary. Some of the placenames in Amy Tan's "The Bonecutter's Daughter" are fairly evocative though. Such as Pig's Head Alley.
There are lots of street markets too. In fact until the council drove a new road through the middle of it, Fei E was the largest covered market in South East Asia.