Ling Shang Restaurant Village, November 2017. Having spent the afternoon hiking around the wonderful Yongjia Shu Yuan National Park, I had naturally built up quite an appetite. I could have just gone to a local hole-in-the-wall and filled up on cheerful cheapness. But then I’d have been missing out on this wondrous four hundred year old restaurant village, seemingly engraved into the side of a mountain overlooking a babbling brook.
Ling Shang Restaurant Village, November 2017. The village is located deep in the heart of rural Zhejiang province and is not easy to reach via public transport. Ideally you’ll need your own set of wheels and some serious GPS assistance, but in the end all your efforts will be worth it. Home to around fifty families, this huddled collection of traditional homes is framed by gorgeous green mountains. And the air is invigoratingly fresh, with many in Zhejiang province referring to it as “the natural oxygen bar”.
Ling Shang Restaurant Village, November 2017. All the families here own either a restaurant, teahouse or guesthouse, so you can just wander the streets and choose a place that catches your eye. This woman runs a spice and herb market directly outside her restaurant. Of course she tried to cajole me inside, but I was holding out for a joint with balcony views.
Ling Shang Restaurant Village, November 2017. The village is particularly famed for its goat and lamb dishes. A whole lamb like this one goes for around 400RMB (£45/€50/$60). The smell was incredible and for a second I was actually tempted, but couldn’t justify such an ostentatious splurge.
Ling Shang Restaurant Village, November 2017. In the end I settled down in a corner restaurant with a large balcony terrace. Dinner was great too, a proper feast with fried stir-fried eggplant, herb Omelette and mixed rice noodles augmented by chunks of juicy pork. Damn good!