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Eat Bing Fen in the Hot Guizhou Summer
Zunyi is known by Chengdu folks as a cool getaway in the scorching Sichuan summer months. Every now and then, though, the city has its own sweltering days. One such day I was out walking with one of my college students who is also a good friend. He had just started tutoring a kid from a wealthy Zunyi family and wanted to build up a little guanxi (关系) by getting the kid some hang out time with a foreign teacher. We went to the old town, had some amazing potato snacks, and on our way to Red Army Mountain my friend takes a quick left into an alley on Biyun Road. The alley is filled with tables. We take a seat and he tells me were going to have ice cream. This is exciting. Good ice cream is hard to come by in Zunyi. What arrives instead is a bowl filled with watermelon, peanuts, green raisins, a scoop of purple sticky rice, ice cubes, and clear fen (粉)-a type of jelly made from bean or potato starch-all sprinkled with sesame seeds. The dish is called simply bing fen (冰粉)and comes in many varieties, but this one is the best...delectable, much healthier than ice cream, and the perfect way to cool down on a hot Zunyi day!
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