This episode is about preserved foods.
Suihua City, Heilongjiang Province
paocai (pickled cabbage)
The ideal material for pickles is the napa cabbage
Only the tenderest parts of the cabbage are used, and they must be harvested before they start to flower.
The head of the cabbage is removed and the leaves are submerged in salt water.
A big piece of rock is used to compress the cabbage leaves.
Ingredients for making spicy pickled cabbage include chilli (of course), apple, white pear, fish sauce, and shrimp.
It’s a tradition of the Korean people to eat tteok, a type of rice cake made with glutinous rice, which is pounded and compressed with mortar and pestle.
The sweet tteok complements the spicy and sour pickled cabbage.
It takes about half a month for the cabbage to ferment.
Paocai with tofu
Pork stewed with paocai
Braised fish with paocai
Here, people preserve meat in a different way.
Baozaifan (claypot rice) uses rice that has been harvested for 3 to 6 months.
Raw rice goes into a container made of clay, set over a roaring hot fire with licking flames.
After the rice is cooked, the claypot is transferred over charcoal fire.
Simmering allows the juice from the sausage to mix with the rice.
Nan’an cured duck
Ideal for making claypot stew with taro
The most popular cured meats are still the sausages.
Wo Hing sausages are handmade.
The sausage skin, made from animal intestines, has to be stored for one year before using.
After the filling is stuffed into the skin,
A handheld rake is used to pierce the sausage skin, getting rid of air inside the sausage.
The sausages will be hung on bamboo poles to dry for a week.
Salty and savoury sausage goes well with both rice and bamboo shoots.
Jingzhou County, Hunan Province
Home to the Miao and Dong peoples
Cured fish has to be made with hehua fish, a type of black carp kept in paddy fields. They like to eat the rice flowers floating on the water surface.
Kids flock to the fields to catch fish.
Stir-fried glutinous rice is needed to make cured fish.
Also, chopped chilli bits, fresh from the field.
Ginger slices, to get rid of the fishy smell.
A big bowl of mixed condiments
Condiments are spread over the fish slices
The fish is then kept in a wooden bucket.
The lid has to be closed, to guard against the fish thief loitering nearby, who’s just waiting for an opportunity to strike.
The lid won’t be opened for another month.
Once it’s ready, the cured fish can be simmered, with a bit of oil, and chilli.
To make cured pork, salt and homemade rice wine are added.
Then it’s smoked over an open fire. Pine cones, tea seed shells, and orange peels are added to the fire. Their aromas will be smoked into the cured pork.
Cured pork, once it’s ready, is roasted over charcoal fire to get rid of its outer layer, then washed with water left over from rinsing rice.
Cured pork is stir-fried with dried radish strips.
Or served in slices.
Yi County, Anhui Province
Mandarin fish are caught during March and April, then made into stinky mandarin fish (like stinky tofu, but tastes much better).
Laba tofu (laba is the 8th day in the 12th month on the lunar calendar). The tough-as-discus tofu can be kept for a long time.
I can only say the taste’s not for everyone.
Daobanxiang (“fragrance on the cutting board”) is a dish made with cured pork.
The pork must be cut on a cutting board made out of camphorwood, allowing the fragrance of the wood to offset for the greasiness of the fatty pork.
And it’s served directly on the cutting board.
Jinhua City, Zhejiang Province
It’s often separated into five portions.
The portion with the finest quality pork is used to make the famous dish of Jinhua ham with honey.
The middle portion is often cut into slices,
And stir-fried with beef tendon and sea cucumber.
The remaining three portions are used to make stews.
Xiapu County, Fujian Province
Yunlin County, Taiwan Province
Flathead grey mullet
Karasumi (cured mullet roe)
Mullet roe with seaweed, lettuce, and tomatoes
Tai O, Hong Kong
Waiting for Chinese New Year feast to come . . .