Doufu is the Chinese word for Tofu. It is sometimes used metaphoricallyto describe something that, like tofu, looks strong and hard on the outside, but is soft and weak on the inside. Following the huge earthquake in Sichuan and the subsequent collapse of so many shoddily built schoolskilling thousands of school children and students, the local press in China has been labelling the schools, Tofu buildings (doufuzha gongcheng). The actual meaning implies a complete botch job, combined with official graft.
With the expression doufuzha gongcheng flying all over the Chinese media, it now seems that the government has had enough of this open criticism and is reining in the local press, most likely because the truth hurts. In the people’s minds there is no doubt that official squeeze in collusion with business interests led to those poorly constructed state schools. The extent of the repercussions of local party corruption for the Chinese Communist Party as a whole will be known much further down the line. For now it is a case of damage limitation.
Also close to Chengdu is the town of Huanglongxi. Though not on the foreign tourist map, it is definitely a must for domestic tourists. Huanglongxi has been the stage set for many of China’s most famous soap operas, TV series and historical dramas, as well as some of Hong Kong’s biggest Kung Fu blockbusters, and more recently the box office hit ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’.
The journey to Litang takes about 7 or 8 hours and takes you through some pretty rural scenery. For the first two hours or so, the bus goes through farming land and past some gorgeous two-or three-storey Tibetan farmhouses; these are sturdy stone and wood dwellings with a courtyard and….
The authentic Chinese Restaurant Nihao XiaoChi, located in Calle Silva Just off the Gran Via in Madrid, closed down a few months ago. It has since resurfaced as Nihao Huoguo in the same street. The food is still great with the added plus that real Sichuan dishes have been added to the menu.
The Chef is from Chongqing and will happily make the authentic fiery Sichuan Huoguo (Sichuan hot pot). See you there!
Huo Guo, the fiery hot pot from Sichuan and Chongqing, is undoubtedly one of those great culinary experiences you should try when you visit China. It’s not a meal to have on your own, but something to share and savour in the company of friends. I’ve found that between 4 – 6 diners is about the perfect number, but on many occasions it’s simply a case of ‘the more the merrier’.