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Yangshuo Beer Fish – Pijiu Yu

The food in Yangshuo doesn’t disappoint. The local specialty, pijiu yu or beer fish, is a tasty concoction made with local river fish, usually catfish. The clean waters around here make for very fine fish which are fried first with ginger and garlic, then a good slosh of the local LiQuan beer is added, along with tomatoes, red and green peppers, spring onions and in this case, tofu. It’s lip-smackingly good, particularly if taken with a glass of afore-mentioned LiQuan.

The restaurant where this was served sits right on the banks of the YuLong River, a smaller, impossibly picturesque tributary of the Li River. The ‘dining room’ is a series of open air pavillions perched over the water, and the ‘kitchen’ nothing more than a shack with a few gas bottles attached to a giant wok. The fish are kept fresh and alive by the continuous stream of river water from the water wheel, handy for washing the vegetables too.

The kitchen with its water wheel

The tasty little catfish
The view from our dining room

We ate the fish with another local specialty, a soup made from pumpkin flowers and stalks with a light and subtle flavour. When lunch was over we stripped down to our swimming togs and jumped through the ‘window’ and straight into the river for a swim. What a genius idea to combine the two things I most love – eating and swimming! Open air dining reaches a whole new level.