River City, Wine City by Christopher
Luzhou is a pretty great little town rolling over the hills around and between the Yangtze River (Chang Jiang) and the Tou River – they meet up on the north side of town, and local culture seems to circulate in and around this mother river and its smaller companion, giving it one of its nicknames, River City.
Its other nickname, Wine City, comes from its claim to fame of producing 2 of China’s 5 great liquors. There’s one street, in fact, where a lot of it is produced that reeks of the sweet scent of fermentation (yum). Try the local dou hua, a really soft warm bean curd you dip in a spicy, really tasy little sauce they whip up with la jiao. I recommend getting the hun dou hua though, the mixed kind, because the pure veggie kind is pretty flavourless if you’re not used to it. On the ‘wrong side of the Yangtze river,’ across the banks from the main part of town, you can visit a little park hugging the cliffs with a few ancient Buddhas and a few more they’re still working on building. Then take a walk through the gui fruit tree orchard and spend an afternoon at a nong jia le, the farmer’s houses that get opened up to visitors for a restful day of eating, drinking tea and cracking melon seeds.
You will definitely be a curiosity if you look like you’re not Han Chinese, but it’s definitely worth a visit. The local dialect is great, the climate is even sweatier than Chengdu, and even though every other city in China claims to have been voted ‘Best Tourist City in the Country’ five times running, you won’t regret the four-hour bus ride from Chengdu or two-hour trip from Chongqing.
Also within striking distance of the Shu Nan bamboo sea in neighbouring Yibin, which we did not get to visit but whose beauty is the subject of much wandering and a lot of filming, including several scenes that made their way into Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.over 5 years ago