Changzhou, Jiangsu Province, China

What are they queueing for so early in the morning?

烧饼 shaobing, Chinese flatbread

Legend has it that shaobing was brought back from the Western Regions during the Han Dynasty, and is a relative of Central Asian naan and pita.

Dough rubbed with shortening,

Kneaded repeatedly,

Apply a coat of oil,

Dip both sides of shaobing in white sesame seeds.

Place them into an oven.

Hot, flaky, savoury shaobing.

蟹壳黄 crab shell-shaped shaobing

Yuli County, Xinjiang, China

A cousin of shaobing, naan is bigger in size,

And baked in an over dug in the ground.

烤馕 baked naan

Chengdu, Sichuan, China

锅魁 guokui

A type of round, thick, savoury shaobing.

It’s first fried,

then baked in a shallower oven.

Crispy black sesame on the outside,

Soft wheat on the inside.

There’re multiple version of guokui. Some of them contain meat fillings.

Kaifeng, Henan Province, China

吊炉烧饼 shaobing made in a suspended oven

The opening of the oven is horizontal instead of vertical.

The shaobing is baked upside down.

It has a slightly burnt look.

Huimin, Shandong Province, China

马蹄烧饼 Horseshoe-shaped shaobing

Skin and the filling are two separate layers.

Huzhou, Zhejiang Province, China

Woks and pots and ovens are used to make not just wheaten food like shaobing, but also meat.

A big portion of mutton like this,

can only be cooked in a big-sized pot like this.

Mutton is more popular with people who live in the northern parts of China.

Huzhou, in southern China, is an exception.

Pour in condiments.

Throw in some rock sugar.

红烧羊肉 braised mutton

There’s another way of cooking mutton in Huzhou.

Remove all the bones.

But keep the skin intact.

Stew it for a long time, so the meat turns tender and falls apart in your mouth.

酥羊大面 noodles with stewed mutton

Foshan, Guangdong Province, China

Residents here celebrate with a dragon made out of lit incense sticks.

The occasion?

Mid-Autumn Festival, of course.

No festival is complete without its own food.

Old wood from fruit tree is used for intaglio printing.

Each flowery pattern has a Chinese character carved inside it.

The one on the right is a goldfish, and the one on the left looks like one of the nine sons of the dragon.

The one on the left looks like Maitreya, a Buddha who is always depicted as laughing.

Dough with fillings.

Place it into the mould.

Bang the mould against the table.

And the dough is “printed”.

This one says “shredded coconut”.

This one says “double egg yolk”, one of the most popular flavours.

栗子月饼 Chestnut mooncake

双黄白莲 white lotus double egg yolk

This is Cantonese-style mooncake, where they cut mooncakes into pieces.

Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China

Hangzhou was the capital of Southern Song Dynasty.

There’re always local chefs who try to recreate ancient dishes based on written records.

Take an orange.Remove the juice and pulp.

Keep the peel.

Chinese mitten crab

Take the crab meat and crab roe,

Including the meat from inside the leg.

Lightly stir-fry the crab meat with orange juice.

Scoop them into the hollowed-out orange.

And steam.

These dreamscapes are crab meat under a microscope.

蟹酿橙 crab meat in orange

This is a dish invented by people who lived a thousand years ago.

All these dishes are recreated from historical recipes.

Xuanwei, Yunnan Province, China

Before the sun rises and the rooster crows, someone’s already hard at work.

They are making . . .

Tofu.

Tofu is wrapped up in these little packages while it’s still hot.

The packages are piled together, and squeezed to get rid of extra water inside.

They are pressed into square shapes.

Sprinkle some salt.

Then boil them in a pot with turmeric, which turns the tofu yellow, giving it the name—

黄豆腐 yellow tofu

At room temperature, yellow tofu has a shelf life of three days.

They are strung up on strings and sun-dried.

Just an idea: tofu curtain—interior decoration that you can eat.

Tofu goes with all kinds of ingredients.

Ham

云腿炒黄豆腐 fried yellow tofu with ham slices

黑松露黄豆腐 yellow tofu with black truffle

盐水黄豆腐 yellow tofu boiled in saltwater

碳烤黄豆腐 grilled yellow tofu

Kyoto, Japan

绢豆腐 kinugoshi tofu, or, “silk-filtered tofu”

For those who prefer a light diet, tofu can be eaten without much condiments.

It can be simply boiled,

Then add some katsuobushi (dried, fermented skipjack tuna) and soy sauce.

汤豆腐 soup tofu

Chengdu, China

Chinese food has admirers all over the world.

Fuchsia Dunlop, English writer and cook.

She visits a chef in Chengdu, who prepares a special treat for her.

Knead the dough repeatedly until it becomes a translucent sheet.

Cut it with a knife that weighs 1 kg and is 0.5 m long.

Turn the dough into noodle slices about 0.2 mm thick.

金丝面 “golden-thread” noodles

It set the world record for Thinnest Handmade Noodles.

Fuchsia then visits the Pidu District of Chengdu.

This is where the famous Pixian chilli bean paste is made.

Broad beans are fermented.

Add 二荆条, “two vitex” chilli.

Stir to mix the paste thoroughly.

This bean paste is what gives mapo tofu its special flavour.

麻婆豆腐  mapo tofu

London, UK

Once Chinese food reaches different parts of the world, there are often local adaptations that are not available back in China.

Like this

香酥鸭 crispy duck

A thin piece of spring pancake.

Add spring onion and sweet bean sauce.

Then shredded duck.

Roll.

And you have a popular dish in London that’s similar to Peking duck.

辣子鸡 Sichuan deep-fried diced chicken with chilli pepper

Biangbiang面 biangbiang noodles

“biang” is a composite Chinese character that’s almost impossible to type.

That’s all for today, folks.

Dreaming about food . . .

 

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About fmiswriting

One out of 1.4 billion voices.

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