Danny Tang, 48 years old, has been the Chef de Cuisine for Viking River Cruises’ Imperial Jewels of China tour for 10 years. It’s a plum job. China’s flourishing inbound tourism has led it to become the world’s second-largest travel and tourism economy. The Asian country has sustained its international fascination, particularly in America, where it has become one of the world’s most-watched bucket list destinations. This rise in interest has opened new avenues of employment for Chinese nationals. Danny’s position also has its challenges…his work keeps him onboard for nine and a half months a year, only returning home to his wife and 12-year-old daughter for two and half months during the winter off-season. The rigorous cruise schedule runs continuously, starting with land tours in Beijing and Xi’an, cruising through the Three Gorges, and ending in Shanghai. In Shanghai, they unload passengers, re-load supplies, and proceed to run the whole trip in reverse.
Viking’s Tour of China
The cruise portion of Viking’s China tour sails through the Three Gorges which are three adjacent gorges snaking around 75 miles along the Yangtze River. The scenery along the river is stunning, encountering towering craggy cliffs, sparkling green tributaries, and often cloaked in mist. The Gorges has received the highest AAAAA rating by the China National Tourism Administration.
In the central region of the Yangtze River, we made a stop at Jinzhou. It was at this port that Danny offered to give me a private tour of the local markets of Jinzhou for a look at the “real China.” I immediately gobbled up the invitation, knowing this would be an eye-opener.
Jinzhou is an ancient city with 2,000 years of history and culture. During the Three Kingdom Period (220-589), the city was the focus of many disputes and wars. Subsequently, the city was established as the capital and political center by 11 emperors and is one of 24 famous historical and cultural ancient cities.
Click on this link to read the rest of the food markets in China, along with eye-popping pictures in Epicure & Culture!