Food

10 Epic Photos Of China

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China is an impressive country and one so varied it’s difficult to try and summarise it in only 10 photos.  But picking our favourites is one job in running a blog so here it is. You will quickly spot that most of our favourite snaps explore China’s expansive landscapes. From the snowy peaks of the Tibetan border to the neon clad temples of the modern cities, China is all about contrasts! Grab a cuppa, or a noodle soup, and observe our 10 epic photos of China...

 

1. Yubeng

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There is one spot that will forever be one of our favourite places in the world. Let us introduce Yubeng, a place where photographs don’t do justice. We entered in early December as the first snow was falling and there were only a few tourists who made it up to this sacred valley. Trekking Upper and Lower Yubeng got us as close to Tibet as we could afford and it’s only made us more excited about visiting the gated birth place of Buddhism. Without sounding like a classic traveller, it was really spiritual.


 

2. Huangshan Mountain

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Although the Yellow Mountains are one of the most well trodden national parks in China, it can’t be denied that if weather sides with you the peaks are truly stunning. We were told that Huangshan only gets 50 days of sunrises, sun and sunsets; raining the rest of year. So with that in mind we felt pretty privileged to have 4 days of complete sunshine, rises and sunsets. This photo was taken in the Huangshan Grand Canyon on our first night. Wow the colours were exceptionally deep in colour, changing every few minutes before the darkness fell. It didn’t matter that we were joined by 200 other people, that sunset was the best of the whole trip (so far.)


 

3. The Great Wall

 
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What would a trip to China be without a trek on the Great Wall? We set our sights on the deteriorating Jiankou section which, while crumbling away, did offer us access to 3 days on a vast unpopulated section of wall just north of Beijing. It’s one of the worlds wonders and being able to traverse the ancient stonework was very satisfying. Just look at it, a huge defensive structure that failed on the battlefield but left such an impact on the world through the sheer man power that built it. Remember, it can’t be seen from space as it’s smaller than most roads!


 

4. Xi’an’s Muslim Quarter 

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We love food, which is lucky because when you’re a long term traveller because it’s one of the only things we can afford to indulge in. I mean, a person's got to eat right? Enter Xi’an, a place with one of our favourite food streets in the world. The Muslim quarter is an area of Xi’an with mosques, restaurants and shops that continue a long lineage of Muslim culture dating back to the very start of the Silk Road. But let’s talk about the food, there’s so much variety in the ingredients, cooking processes and skill that you have to imagine hundreds of foods: artisans baking, bbq’ing, smashing, frying, freezing most of China’s indigenous ingredients on a bustling street, apparently UNESCO are in process of giving it extra some leverage too. Our favourite food? Milk and egg soup, sweet, salty and enhanced by some middle eastern magic, delicious.


 

5. Baisha

 
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This is not an obvious choice because only a few people would have heard of Baisha. It’s a small mountainside village that specialises in the craft of embroidery. Ali was in her element here as you can see from this photo as she wore a locals outfit proudly down the high street. We meant to stay in Baisha just a night but that quickly turned into a week, it was so relaxing and the people were so kind, it felt like home.


 

6. Feilai Si

 
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Little explanation needed here, you are looking at the Miancimu peak, the second highest mountain of the Meili Snow mountain range in north west Yunnan, Tibet can be found just behind it. We got up at 6am to watch the sun shine brightly on this peak and this was our favourite shot of the morning. If you ever travel to Yubeng make sure you see a sunrise in Feilai Si.


 

7. Xi’an 

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You couldn’t visit China and not witness a traditional temple. Unfortunately the cultural revolution of the 60s meant that many of China’s stunning temples and monasteries were destroyed. This was an authentic temple modernised with neon lights that make the structure even more dramatic. It’s the iconic Chinese image and one you will see again and again in pictures. It’s so much more breathtaking in real life. We hope this photo does it some justice.


 

8. Dali 

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This photograph symbolises adventuring off the beaten track with the best way being by bicycle or moped. All across China we rented bikes to get out of the cities and towns and explore rural China. Here is Mark on a lane connecting Dali and Lake Erhai, the third largest lake in the country. It’s always good to get away from China’s tourism and renting a bike is the best way to do that.


 

 9. Zhangjiajie

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Although Zhangjiajie was our biggest disappointment after we fought monkeys, flu and fog, we did get this photograph of Ali’s glowing locks against the monolithic Zhangjiajie canyon in the mist. In a way the drab weather we faced made it even more memorable for its sombre tones rather than the brash glowing yellow rocks you’ll see on the internet. We would love to go back and see this national park with better weather but until then we will have funny memories of this place.


 

10. Upper Yubeng 

 
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On day two of our trip in Yubeng we ventured up to a frozen lake found at 4km above sea level. It was cold, slippery but incredibly beautiful. A calm solemn place that is visited by Buddhist pilgrims who walk around the lake 3 times clockwise. If you wait long enough a small avalanches drifts from the glacier above and in that moment time stops as you watch.

 

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10 Epic Photos Of China, By Studio Mali
 

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Video: Beijing

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We spent just over a week soaking up the food, history and culture of this ancient city. Watch us be fools in the Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven and cycling up and down the Hutong. it was our favourite big city in China so we hope you’ll be inspired come visit! Note that the best weather, least pollution, is mid October.

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Naples to (Stoke) Newington

We first tried a L'Antica Pizzeria da Michele pizza in 2009 in Naples on a Italian excursion. We thought the pizzas were so beautifully tasty that we ate there twice on our trip and guess what, we brought a pizza back on the plane to eat at home on the last day, our housemates were bemused we when revealed a mightily squashed pizza from our backpack. Still, the taste reigned supreme and was worth evading customs for! 

In hindsight we overlooked the lore surrounding Da Michele's pizzas. Started in the 1870s in Naples the pizzeria only focuses on only two types of pizzas, Margherita and Marinara, the latter a garlic and tomato combo. You can see from the photos we opted for Margherita every time and so did the tourists and people of Naples who queue heavily, and daily, for the proposed best pizza in the world. Washed down with ice cold Peroni.

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Fast forward 8 years and by some stroke of luck Da Michele's have open only their 4th restaurant in the world in Stoke Newington, London! Preceeded by only Naples, New York and Tokyo. Did it follow us here? If so we are glad it did. It's safe to say the london variation is pretty consistent with its Napolean mother. All the ingredients are imported from Italy and the chefs and waiting staff are all natives. The sun drenched streets of Naples are the authentic home of the pizza and so the very nature of Church streets quaint and minuscule shops are a stark contrast to 4 story apartments of Naples. As a result of it's scale the pizzeria is busy. We were lucky to just walk in but within 10 mins a large lunchtime queue had formed, hardened by some winter rainfall. Inside, we enjoyed two margherita pizzas. They were beautiful; elasticated dough, cooked quickly, with gnarly edges and softened buffalo mozzarella. For us the cheese is killer part as it's so creamy and flavoursome, we recommend it just for that!  There are some excellent pizzerias in the area: Yard Sale, Franco Manco et al but for me Di Michele just about tops the list. Go Eat, pray and then eat another slice!

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L'Antica Pizzeria da Michele, Naples, 2009

L'Antica Pizzeria da Michele, Stoke Newington, 2017

L'Antica Pizzeria da Michele, Stoke Newington, 2017

L'Antica Pizzeria da Michele, Stoke Newington, 2017