pots of wild bird and squirrel tonics
It was quite chilly when I first arrived in Haikou, capital of Hainan, in mid January. It was 17℃ when I stepped out of the airport.
3 days later when I arrived in Qionghai, the temperature was 11℃ after a downpour earlier. As the island got colder and colder, a winter tonic was just what the locals needed. Winter tonic-taking is a traditional Chinese custom. The Chinese believe that tonics can promote a healthy life as well as maintain the balance of yin and yang.
I was the only woman among the group of men, so they took good care of me. When the meats were heaped on my plate, I made an effort to taste them in order not to be rude. Both the meats were tough. I had to give up using chopsticks and use my hands instead. So unladylike. ish.
wild bird - I had a hard time eating it
Unaware, I was given the half the head of a squirrel. To my horror, an eye fell off while I was taking a bite ..... I had to surrender! No way I was going to touch the meats. I just drank the soup the whole evening.
Because the tonics were so potent, I could not sleep the whole night. I was tossing and turning in bed. Fortunately I didn't have a nosebleed.
afternoon tea time in Qionghai
The second day in Qionghai, we had a leisurely hour for tea by the kerb. The weather was refreshingly cool. A local brought us to a roadside tea stall for Chinese tea which cost RMB12 for 4 people, free top up of boiling water. They use local tea leaves which is quite bland. At 4 pm, there were not many vehicles on the roads.
That night, another local treated us to a dinner of snake tonic. It was unavoidable for me as I was the only 'honoured overseas guest', and so I bravely live through another night. hahaha.....
Lucky for me, there was a delicious fried spinach rice and the snake tonic was quite palatable.
Again, I had a sleepless night.... due to the Chinese tea and tonic At 3 am, I woke my husband up in Singapore by calling his mobile. He laughed his head off and lamented he could not help much in such a situation.
The next morning at breakfast, one of the officials informed me that the wife of a senior Chinese official is inviting me to a dinner of wild lizard tonic (野生四脚蛇汤) when I return to Haikou.
sigh. I lost my appetite that day.
由于气温较低, 琼海当地代表们连续两晚邀请我们享用热呼呼的野味补品。野生鸟、松鼠和海蛇补汤, 是进补的良菜佳肴。 在海南, 天气冷进补能提高人体的免疫功能，促进新陈代谢，使畏寒的现象得到改善。