Ad­ven­tur­ous visitors can sa­vor rain­bow trout and col­ored tofu

China Daily (Canada) - - LIFE - By LIU ZHIHUA li­uzhi­hua@chi­nadaily.com.cn

If you are in Bei­jing for a short hol­i­day, a visit to the suburbs will en­hance your travel ex­pe­ri­ence with its nat­u­ral beauty, its his­tor­i­cal sites and its dis­tinc­tive del­i­ca­cies.

Among the var­i­ous del­i­ca­cies is the rain­bow trout.

The Huairou district in north­ern Bei­jing, which has moun­tains and abun­dant wa­ter re­sources, pro­duces some of the best rain­bow trout in China, although the fish is not a na­tive spec­i­men. It was brought to the re­gion from the Demo­cratic Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of Korea in 1959.

Nowa­days, visitors can catch the fish and have a res­tau­rant cook it for them.

Chefs in Huairou have de­vel­oped myr­iad of ways to pre­pare the fish.

You can en­joy the fish barbecued, pan-fried or deep­fried. Or go for rain­bow trout soup, rain­bow trout skin salad sided with veg­eta­bles, stewed rain­bow trout, rain­bow trout dumplings or sashimi.

With so many dif­fer­ent ways to cook the fish, many restau­rants in the area also of­fer a rain­bow trout feast, where din­ers can sam­ple dishes all made from the rain­bow trout.

Mean­while, as the only district in Bei­jing with aManchu town­ship, Huairou of­fers you au­then­tic Manchu dining cul­ture.

One of the best-pre­served Manchu dining tra­di­tions is er ba xi, which means two eight-dish feasts, be­cause the dishes must be served in eight bowls and eight plates re­spec­tively.

The del­i­ca­cies in the eight plates are four hot dishes and four cold dishes that change ac­cord­ing to the sea­son.

The del­i­ca­cies served in the bowls are typ­i­cal­ly­madeusing pork, tofu and mush­room, and are a fixed menu. The pork is usu­ally boiled and fried be­fore be­ing cooked to get rid of its greasi­ness.

There is a fixed or­der to serve the dishes, and fa­mous dishes from the feast in­clude “cedar wood smoked pork”, a dish that leg­end says Em­press Dowa­ger Cixi first tasted dur­ing her es­cape from the EightPower Al­lied Forces in­va­sion of the cap­i­tal in 1900.

An­other must-try from among the del­i­ca­cies is tofu from Li­u­gou vil­lage, in Yan­qing district.

The vil­lage is lo­cated in a place which used to house an im­por­tant mil­i­tary fortress dur­ing the Ming Dy­nasty (1368-1644), and thus has a lot of his­tor­i­cal sites, such as an­cient tem­ples and ru­ins of a fortress.

The tofu made there, based on an an­cient method, is very ten­der, but will not break no mat­ter how long it is boiled, fried or steamed.

It is said that Yan­qing tofu tastes bet­ter be­cause the area grows high qual­ity beans, and has wa­ter that tastes slightly sweet.

The vil­lage is now a fa­mous tourism desti­na­tion due to its “tofu feasts”, a meal com­pris­ing dishes con­tain­ing tofu.

The most pop­u­lar tofu feast dish is huo pen guo, which lit­er­ally means fire pot.

Here, cab­bage, fresh tofu, frozen tofu, pork and other foods are boiled in a ce­ramic pot and when the food is ready to eat, it gives off dis­tinc­tive aro­mas and fla­vors due to the com­bi­na­tion of dif­fer­ent in­gre­di­ents in the same pot.

Be­sides com­mon white tofu made from yel­low beans, Yan­qing has tofu of dif­fer­ent col­ors made from black beans and green beans.

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