We’ve been diligently researching for our upcoming trip to China. While Gate1 Travel does an amazing job with all of our travel plans, transportation, hotels, and sightseeing, they still offer a decent amount of free time.
While Chuck’s birthday isn’t until August, technically this vacation is in celebration of his milestone birthday. He’s turning 60!
Any of you who know Chuck know that he is extremely detail oriented, he’s a planner, he likes to research and works to travel so he likes to really do interesting ‘bucket list things.’
He is nearly impossible to surprise, it makes planning anything secretly really difficult to do because at any given time he might be looking into the same thing or worse yet making other plans.
We love exploring a destination through its food. In Amsterdam, we booked an awesome local food tour though Hungry Birds Street Food Tours and it was one of the highlights of the trip.
In Thailand, we ventured off on our own several times, despite the language barrier, and enjoyed the really great street food. We actually followed tuk-tuk drivers to a local spot where they were having lunch and got bowls of noodle soup from a street corner pushcart.
In researching options for local food tours or market tours in China I kept coming across Lost Plate Food Tours. They have an awesome reputation, they originated in Chengdu and grew to offer tours in Xi’an, Beijing, and Shanghai as well. In some cases, they offer a morning market tour and at night a completely different tour.
We looked at our schedule and free time and decided because of travel and other excursions we would, unfortunately, be able to only do the Old Shanghai Breakfast Tour as our flight didn’t leave until late that night.
As with all of their tours they ‘take you were the locals eat’; this is a walking tour where we’ll sample 10 different dishes including visiting a noodle shop connected to a temple, fried beef pancakes (jianbing), Chinese doughnut sticks, fresh soy milk, dumplings and a stop at a wet market where locals shop. PERFECT!
But, I really wanted to surprise Chuck. One of the evenings when we are in Xian there is a nighttime tour by tuk-tuk, they provide you with local beers on the ride, you get to make handmade noodles, try a famous fried burger dish, two stops in the Muslim market and then at the end a local craft brewery.
We have a night free after touring the Xi’an Terracotta Warriors, while some people are headed to an optional dinner theater. But the timing wasn’t right to get to the tour meeting point on time, especially if we are running late getting back to our hotel 30 minutes away.
So, I reached out to Lost Plate via email to find out more about a private tour in Xi’an, just Chuck and I with a guide. I knew this would be perfect as Chuck doesn’t eat lamb and I’m guessing it would be included in at least one tasting in the Muslim market.
They were very accommodating with planning a later start time and I really like the idea of the two of us being able to enjoy Xi’an with a local and ask questions, rather than being part of a small group.
Won’t Chuck see this post? ABSOLUTELY! We went to dinner the other night and I gave him an early birthday card with a description of the tour so he wouldn’t try to make other plans.
Surprise! I can’t wait for his birthday trip!