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Where bean curd and beauty conspire to conjure allure

Erik Nilsson
Updated: Dec 19,2016 10:13 AM     China Daily

A wind-and-rain bridge in Lujia village in Yangshuo.[Photo by Zhan Weike/China Daily]

Terrific tofu and serene scenery are mutually reinforcing appeals that propel an appetite for Lujia village as an ecotourism destination.

Both largely flow from the Taohua River.

Its water bestows the settlement of about a hundred households in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region’s Yangshuo county with lovely landscapes and bountiful bean curd.

The pollution-free production of the handmade foodstuff ensures the waterway’s purity, which, in turn, guarantees the curd’s quality.

And the brook buttresses the appeal sired by the area’s geology.

It’s believed the water makes the tofu tasty and contributes to the residents’ abnormal longevity. Lore holds washing your face with it enhances your looks.

It also supports a healthy ecosystem beyond the human dimension.

A sculpture showcases the process of making tofu in Lujia village.[Photo by Zhan Weike/China Daily]

Many of the ethnic Han and Hui villagers run shops, stands and restaurants that sell over 100 snacks and dishes crafted from tofu.

The two most popular incarnations are respectively sweet and runny, or salty and deep-fried.

The soggy, saccharine kind is piled with sugar.

The savory variety is sprinkled with peanuts and chili peppers, and drizzled in soy sauce. It’s typically washed down with tart wild-grape wine produced in the area.

Visitors can watch families-multiple generations, that is-process soybeans by hand in their courtyards on their way to the tofu exhibition hall.

Travelers enter Lujia via a covered bridge that runs over the Taohua River. They’re greeted by lion dances upon arrival.

The 300-year-old settlement stands in the shadow of the Wudiyan Mountain and is less than a kilometer from the famous Reed Flute Cave.

Its landscape enticed the producers of an old Journey to the West TV series to film scenes here.

But the Lujia’s appeal extends beyond its outlying terrain to its downtown’s layout.

It’s as if a garden replete with flowers, bonsai and vegetable plots was poured in the spaces between houses built according to traditional style, with white walls and black shingles that plate swooping eves.

Bamboo spurts from thickets along flagstone streets, while vine clusters clasp any structure they can. Ponds bob with lilies and lotuses.

The local square features over 100 stone inscriptions that reference longevity.

And nearly 100 heads of state, including former US president Bill Clinton, have visited the hamlet, which is hailed among “Guilin’s eight top attractions”.

That’s not to mention a million ordinary travelers who arrive annually.

The Yipin Tofu stand proudly displays photos of former Afghan President Hamid Karzai sampling its fare during his visit.

The village chief says future plans include devising delicacies beyond tofu while also inventing more bean-curd dishes.

This, authorities hope, plus green landscapes, may prove a new recipe for success for Guilin’s “tofu village”.

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