Culinary tour 2019: Join me and taste the essence of China

A fourteen day Culinary Tour of China, with an enthusiastic native Chinese food blogger, exploring some of China’s most diverse gastronomic traditions and culture. 

Organising a Culinary Tour of China in 2018 was one of the best decisions of my life. I really enjoyed my May 2018 tour with fellow travellers all of whom showed great passion and curiosity for Chinese cuisine. Along the way, we’ve tasted many outstanding dishes, went behind the scenes to witness the amazing skills of master chefs and immersed ourselves in the distinct character of Chinese regional cuisines. The positive experience and feedback I received from my 2018 tour has encouraged me to set off on another journey in 2019.

The program for my 2019 Culinary Tour of China embraces my original desire to provide each tour participant with the opportunity to experience Chinese cuisine in its regional context. I will be your guide and fellow traveller throughout the 14-day journey and we will explore six of China’s most culturally and culinary diverse cities. As well as a variety of culinary activities which the ordinary visitors to China would rarely encounter, I will also introduce you to China’s most unmissable historic sites. 

To learn more about my 2018 Culinary Tour of China, please click HERE to read my tour members’ real experience. You may also check my Instagram account red.house.spice (or search #culinarytourofchina ) to view photos and videos that I took along the journey.


TOUR DATES

From 5th May 2019 to 18th May 2019


GROUP SIZE

Maximum 10 persons


DESTINATIONS & ROUTE

Beijing — Lanzhou — Xi’an — Chengdu — Hangzhou — Shanghai


TOUR COST

$ 4950 USD per person (Double occupancy)

$ 5650 USD per person (Single occupancy)


ITINERARY

Our exclusive culinary tour of China will start in BEIJING, where I spent several years as a local journalist and a city I know intimately. We will explore the culinary delights of this ancient capital and visit some of its most important cultural heritage sites.

▲ DAY ONE · BEIJING

  • I will arrange for you to be collected from Beijing Capital Airport and taken to your hotel. You will be free to discover the surroundings or to have a rest to ease the jet lag.
  • In the evening I will host a welcome dinner at a sought-after restaurant where we will witness a Peking Duck serving demonstration.

▲ DAY TWO · BEIJING 

  • Visit Tiananmen Square which has great cultural significance as it was the site of several important events in Chinese history.
  • Explore one of China’s most important historic sites, the Forbidden City, the imperial palace for some five centuries which houses numerous rare treasures and curiosities.
  • Visit Jingshan Park, an imperial landscape garden which overlooks the Forbidden City.
  • Have a meal at a family run restaurant. We will meet and converse with the master chef specialising in Northern Chinese cuisine who will cook his signature dishes on a private menu not available to the general public.

▲ DAY THREE · BEIJING

  • Visit the Temple of Heaven, an imperial complex with historic significance, grand architecture and unique layout.
  • Discover the charming Hutongs, typical Beijing style alleys formed by lines of traditional courtyard residences. This offers us a glimpse at the traditional lifestyle of Beijing natives which is slowly disappearing under the influence of the city’s fast growing economy.
  • Engage in a private cookery class in a typical Beijing style courtyard house. We will have the opportunity to learn a number of classic stir-fry dishes, then enjoy the fruit of our efforts in this beautiful venue.

▲ DAY FOUR · BEIJING

  • Travel to the northern suburbs of Beijing to visit the Great Wall of China and its picturesque surroundings. I’ve chosen Mutianyu, a less crowded section of the Great Wall with cable car service to make your visit more enjoyable and less tiring.
  • Have a rural feast of fresh fish prepared “country style” in a nearby village.
  • Say goodbye to Beijing and take a flight (2.5 hours) to the north-western city of Lanzhou, historically a major link on the northern Silk Road.

LANZHOU, the capital of Gansu province, is where I grew up and a place which holds many happy food-related memories for me. Being the home to many different ethnic groups, Lanzhou is an excellent spot to sample the delights of Chinese Silk Road fare.

▲ DAY FIVE · LANZHOU

  • We will have a private audience to view the making of Lanzhou beef noodles, the culinary art which the city is most famed for. Afterwards, we will queue up in front of the beef noodle production line (just like the locals do) to get a bowl of delicious beef noodles.
  • Experience the local custom of floating down the Yellow River on inflated sheep skin rafts, passing by Zhongshan Bridge, one of the first modern iron bridges over the Yellow River constructed by German engineers in 1907.
  • Visit Lanzhou’s Watermill park on the banks of the Yellow River and enjoy Eight Treasure Tea, a local speciality, while watching the world go by.
  • Explore the buzzing night market to absorb Lanzhou’s food culture and try some local street food delicacies.

▲ DAY SIX · LANZHOU

  • Take the cable car to the top of Lanshan Mountain, overlooking the interesting geographic features of Lanzhou: a city built between two mountain ranges, with the Yellow River flowing through the valley.
  • Have a group meal in one of Lanzhou’s most popular restaurants specializing in exquisite lamb dishes, north-western style.
  • Take a High-speed train (3 hours) to the historic city of Xi’an, the oldest of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China.

The third stop of our Culinary Tour of China is XI’AN, the starting point of the Silk Road and home to the Terracotta Army. It’s also an unmissable location on the culinary atlas of China. 

▲ DAY SEVEN · XI’AN

  • Wander around one of Xi’an’s most vibrant markets where we can explore some of the most unusual vegetables, spices and condiments found in Chinese cuisine.
  • Visit the Old City Wall of Xi’an, the most complete city wall remaining in China. A unique experience and a great way to view the splendour of this historic capital. 
  • Visit Xi’an’s Muslim Quarter where you will encounter a diversity of local street foods as you wonder around the narrow alleyways which make this area so unique.
  • Have a dumplings banquet which will give us an opportunity to sample various sorts of dumplings in one go.

▲ DAY EIGHT · XI’AN

  • Visit the Terracotta Army. Have a close look at more than 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses and 150 cavalry horses.
  • Dine in a popular restaurant in Xi’an city which serves high quality local specialities.
  • Take a high-speed train (4 hours) south to Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province.

Here comes the “hottest” part of our culinary tour of China: In CHENGDU(UNESCO City of Gastronomy) is the capital of Sichuan province, the land of spices and the home of China’s most famous cuisine.

▲ DAY NINE · CHENGDU

  • Visit Chengdu Research Base for Giant Panda Breeding and meet adorable pandas in a beautiful parkland setting.
  • Visit the People’s park, a perfect spot to witness Chengdu natives’ leisurely lifestyle: hobby groups performing with an enthusiastic audience, family and friends playing Mahjong while sipping local green tea. 
  • Have an authentic Sichuan style hotpot meal in one of the most reputable restaurants in the city. The numerous choices, the buzzing atmosphere and the special serving procedure will give you a great opportunity to taste the local food culture.

▲ DAY TEN · CHENGDU

  • Visit Sichuan Cuisine Museum where we will be guided to learn about local food history, experience ancient cookery tools, identify special ingredients and sample many typical street foods of Sichuan.
  • Participate in a cookery class to learn three classic Sichuan dishes. After receiving a Rookie Master Chef Certificate, we will enjoy the meal together with fellow participants.
  • Take a flight (3 hours) to Hangzhou, the provincial capital of Zhejiang province, home of the famous West Lake.

HANGZHOU is regarded as one of the most liveable cities in China. Marco Polo wrote of Hangzhou as “my heavenly city”.

DAY ELEVEN · HANGZHOU

  • Visit Longjing (Dragon well) tea village which grows the most prestigious green tea in China. 
  • Have a Hangzhou style meal in a restaurant surrounded by rows and rows of tea trees, along with green tea produced in the village.
  • Visit National Tea Museum which holds more than 300 types of tea. It’s a wonderful place to gain in-depth knowledge on the history and culture of Chinese tea. We will have a chance to see a tea art performance and taste several different kinds of tea.

▲ DAY TWELVE · HANGZHOU

  • Strolling along West Lake (UNESCO World Cultural Heritage) is a must for all travellers to Hangzhou. Since ancient times, West Lake has been associated with China’s most revered writers, poets, philosophers, national heroes and heroines.
  • Have a Hangzhou-style feast featuring the most renowned dishes of this region.
  • Take a short journey on the high-speed train (1 hour) to Shanghai, the largest city in China.

As the heart of China’s economic development, SHANGHAI is also renowned for its cultural heritage and for its outstanding local cuisine which is commonplace throughout China.

▲ DAY THIRTEEN · SHANGHAI

  • Visit Yuyuan Garden, an excellent example of a Chinese garden built in the Ming dynasty.
  • Explore the surroundings of the garden, an area where we will encounter numerous gastronomic specialities of Shanghai. 
  • Taste Sheng Jian Bao, the famous Shanghai style dumplings at a time-honoured restaurant.
  • Explore The Bund, a waterfront area where you will encounter both the historic colonial architecture of the city, as well as the towering skyscrapers of modern China.
  • Have a farewell dinner featuring Shanghai’s finest cuisine to draw our culinary tour of China to a close.

▲ Day FOURTEEN · SHANGHAI

  • After breakfast, say goodbye. Either continue your adventure in Shanghai or head home from Shanghai airport.
  • Receive a farewell gift that I have personally selected for you to take home and continue your Chinese culinary adventures.

Hi! I’m Wei, your guide & fellow traveller

I grew up in China and am a native Chinese speaker. I’m also fluent in English and French. A journalist for several years in Beijing, I currently reside in England.

I inherited my family’s passion for food and this led me to develop my own recipes, as well as to write and photograph for my blog “Red House Spice”.

Living in Europe has given me a new perspective on Chinese cuisine and has spurred my interest in researching the many delights of China’s regional cuisines.

In planning this private Culinary Tour of China, I have drawn on my extensive network of local contacts in order to gain access to some exclusive experiences which are included in the tour itinerary. I look forward to your company as I explore the many and varied culinary delights of China.


BOOKING PROCEDURE

Use the form below to contact me regarding availability on my 2019 Culinary Tour of China, or to receive further information regarding the tour. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Should place(s) be available, I will send you the booking form and Terms & Conditions.

The booking deposit is $500 USD per person. The tour cost (including booking deposit) is fully refundable should a written cancelation be received 60 days prior to departure.


The price includes:

  • Transport: Airport collection upon arrival / 2 domestic flights (economy class) / 3 high-speed train journeys (first class) / Private minibus with chauffeur / Public transport in city centre
  • Accommodation: 13 nights in 4-star hotels or high-quality guest houses
  • Meals: 13 breakfasts / 9 lunches / 6 dinners (Each lunch & dinner includes free flow tea, a soft drink or local beer per person)
  • All admission fees to sites mentioned in Culinary Tour of China 2019 itinerary
  • Cost of all the activities mentioned in Culinary Tour of China 2019 itinerary
  • Interpretation and guide services throughout the journey
  • A farewell gift

The price does not include:

  • International flight (and domestic flight if necessary) arriving in Beijing
  • International flight (and domestic flight if necessary) leaving from Shanghai
  • Chinese tourist visa fee (required by most foreign nationals)
  • Travel & health insurance
  • Expenses of a personal nature
  • Transport to airport at the end of the tour (can be arranged with a surcharge)

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