Food fes­ti­val in Bei­jing of­fers treat to fans of Yangzhou cui­sine

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - TASTE - By LIU ZHIHUA li­uzhi­hua@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Yangzhou is the birth­place of Huaiyang cui­sine — one of China’s four ma­jor cook­ing styles — that is fa­mous for its light, fresh taste and ex­quis­ite knife work.

But you don’t have to visit to en­joy the cui­sine.

The on­go­ing Yangzhou Food Fes­ti­val at the Bei­jing Minzu Ho­tel lets you en­joy a Yangzhou feast in Bei­jing through July 31.

The fes­ti­val menu in­cludes sig­na­ture dishes cooked by chefs from the Yangzhou State Guest­house, one of the most cel­e­brated ho­tels in Yangzhou.

One of the must-haves is wensi tofu, a dish which rep­re­sents the knife skills of Yangzhou fare.

It is said that the dish was cre­ated by a monk called Wensi dur­ing the Qing Dy­nasty (1644-1911).

To pre­pare the dish, a small block of soft and ten­der tofu is shred­ded into more than 5,000 pieces.

Chefs feel rather than see what is be­ing cut, es­pe­cially be­cause when they cut the tofu, they must do it with same fre­quency and at a fast speed, so that the cuts sound like a monk us­ing a wooden fish dur­ing Bud­dhist rit­u­als.

The shred­ded tofu, which can pass through the eye of a nee­dle, is placed in wa­ter to fan out like a flow- er, and then poached in chicken stock be­fore be­ing served.

An­other must-have is a gi­ant meat­ball known as shiz­itou, or the Lion’s Head.

The dish is made with fatty and lean pork.

The pork is hand cut, not minced, and then shaped into meat­balls and sim­mered in stock for at least four hours.

Squir­rel fish is also a must-have. Here, chefs fil­let a whole man­darin fish, and then fry it in boil­ing oil so that it curls up like a squir­rel’s tail.

The crispy fish is served with a home­made sauce.

Ji­cai tangyuan, or shep­herd’s purse rice dumpling, is also very de­li­cious.

The rice dumpling is soft and ten­der, with a strong fra­grance.

The city’s famed baozi (steamed buns with stuff­ing), and its name­sake fried rice are also on the fes­ti­val menu.

PHO­TOS PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Salt-wa­ter goose; squir­rel fish; wensi tofu.

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