Wuhan, the Heart of China
Hubei Province is positioned geographically in the middle of China’s central plains and its capital is the giant megacity, Wuhan. The mighty Yangtze and its Han River tributary converge in Wuhan, transporting goods and people from the east coast into the heart of China. Wuhan has a long, rich history dating back to the beginning of Chinese civilization and it was upon this stage that China was thrust into modernity. Here, the progressive Sun Yat Sen led the most definitive rebellion against the woefully complacent Qing Dynasty in 1911, which ultimately led to the demise of monarchy rule and the establishment of the Republic of China in 1912.
Today, Wuhan blends the old with the new. European architecture remains, testament to a time when foreigners pried China open by force. New high rise construction is booming on both sides of the river as the sprawling city now expands upward. Entire neighborhoods of old, single-story homes are demolished in the name of efficiency and progress. Within the glitz and dazzle, copious public spaces and exceptional public transportation make it easy for residents to socialize and enjoy a leisurely lifestyle. We were in Wuhan for one week and could easily have stayed a month.
Despite a heat index of 100 degrees Fahrenheit when we visited Wuhan in June, 2018, we still enjoyed the walkability of the city and its many active, vibrant parks. What really stole our hearts, though, was the food! Hubu Alley is a famous food street with cuisine unique to Wuhan. Two foods in particular will haunt our dreams and have us drooling in our sleep for years to come: hot dry noodles (热干面 regan mian) and soup dumplings (小籠湯包 xiao long tang bao) -- click to learn more about these two delicious foods. Nom nom nom....
Another food famous in Wuhan is called doupi ("dope-ee"). A thin pancake/crepe batter is spread on a wide pan. As it becomes firm, a cracked egg is spread across the top and then a thick layer of sticky rice is added. Meat, tofu and/or vegetables top the rice. The cook then flips the whole ensemble over in the pan and slices the doupi into squares for serving. We tried it, but thought it lacked flavor. Dipping it in soy sauce or drizzling some red peppercorn oil over the top might add more taste. Or maybe some ground scorpion might kick it up a notch! #no-regrets