City has been dish­ing up culi­nary de­lights for cen­turies

China Daily (USA) - - LIFE - — CANG WEI

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.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

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.

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