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A few months backpacking in China-- where to go, what to eat?

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Toward the end of the year I'll be taking off a few months to backpack through China. I've previously lived in Beijing and spent time in Shanghai + environs, so I'll be focusing on central, west, and far-west China. Where should I go and what should I eat? I don't need restaurant names, just dish descriptions so I know what to look for! I can speak Mandarin, and I'm not interested in hearing about duck or soup dumplings, unless there's a magical soup dumpling yurt in the hinterlands of xinjiang province that i need to know about. Interested in shanxi/shaanxi (I love wheat bar and noodle loft in beijing), guizhou, yunnan, sichuan, and other cuisines that i've never even heard of. I won't go to HK or Shanghai. Beijing-- curious, when I was 19 years old and living in BJ I was obsessed with drinks at Centro, the lunch special at Alameda, and sushi at Hatsune. Are they still open/popular?
Thank you!

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  1. all those spots in Beijing are still open and popular with the same sort of people they were popular with when you were previously here.

    1. i can help with sichuan if you can be more specific about your destinations and tastes. (the sushi here is terrible.) 'where should I go and what should I eat' is a bit too general of a question, even if you are talking about one city. maybe check back with us closer to your travel time.

      1. I traveled in Yunnan province last year, including a few days in the much-less-traveled Western part of the province: Ruili, Mangshi, Tengchong. Lots of great food, really interesting stuff.....

        Is that a possible destination for you?

        1. PLEASE go to B&N and either buy or drool over

          Beyond the Great Wall: Recipes and Travels in the Other China
          # ISBN-10: 1579653014 # ISBN-13: 978-1579653019

          Which, I think, will give you more ideas than you could eat through, ever :)