City has been dishing up culinary delights for centuries
As the birthplace of Huaiyang cuisine, one of the country’s four major cuisines, Yangzhou is highly respected by Chinese gourmets. The city’s food has been considered a culinary delight since the Sui (581-618) and Tang (618-907) dynasties.
The cuisine is famous for its adoption of fresh food materials and amazing slicing techniques, generally described as “thin as paper, slender as a wire”.
The dishes, which have a “gentle aroma and modest taste that is suitable for both north and south”, were served at the founding ceremony of the People’s Republic of China on Oct 1, 1949.
Both home and abroad, the city’s most well-known dish — Yangzhou fried rice — can be seen in many Chinese restaurants. During the Beijing Olympic Games, Yangzhou fried rice was one of the most popular Chinese foods among the athletes.
The fried rice dates back to the Sui Dynasty and over the years has become one of the most famous Huaiyang dishes. It has special ingredients, refined cooking and delightful colors.
There are many different versions of the dish, some with eggs, some with shrimp and eggs, and some with expensive food material such as sea cucumber and abalone.
Crab meat with large meatballs, generally known as “Yangzhou lion head”, is a dish that wins nationwide praise. It is fat but not greasy and can just melt in the mouth.
According to the legend, Emperor Yang of the Sui Dynasty found a dish with big meatballs like the heads of male lions, so he named it “lion head”.
Thanks to A Bite of China, a popular documentary in China, Wensi tofu is known for the delicate knife skills that are required. To make the dish, square tofu is cut into more than 5,000 shreds, making the whole piece look just like a chrysanthemum in bloom.
The dish, named after its inventor, dates back to the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).
Huangqiao sesame cake, the fillings of which include dried meat, ham, small shrimps, diced chicken, sausages and scallion oil, has a golden color and crispy flavor. Many people love its crispness and it is one of the popular purchases in the scenic city.
Soup dumplings with crab meat are wrapped in extremely thin dough and steamed to perfection.
Special care needs to be taken to make sure the skin remains intact before eating to keep the soup inside the skin.
Straws are usually used to drink the soup first before people eat the dough and the fillings are generally made of pork and crab.
Left: For soup dumplings with crab meat, a straw is often used to drink the soup before eating the fillings. Right: Yangzhou lion head, or crab meat with large meatballs, gets the name because the shape is similar to the head of male lions.