驴肉火烧 donkey burger
Baiyang Lake, Baoding, Hebei Province, China
卤水 (“master stock”) refers to a type of soup with salt and spices.
Donkey meat is boiled in master stock to get rid of its gamey smell.
After 8 hours of boiling, the aromas of the spices have saturated the meat.
火烧, a type of baked wheaten cake, is often eaten together with donkey meat.
Leaves, roots, seeds . . . anything can be used as spices.
One of the most important spices comes from Guangxi Province.
They grow on trees about 15-20 metres tall.
Local residents climb up tall and thin trees to harvest star anise.
About 40,000 tonnes of star anise are produced every year worldwide. More than 70% come from Guangxi.
Star anise is harvested in September and October, and must be processed immediately.
Star anise is boiled in water first.
Then sun dried.
Star anise contains a chemical called anethole, which makes it 13 times sweeter than sugar.
The Chinese name of star anise is 八角, which means “eight-pointed star”.
Star anise can be used on its own, or be processed as part of Five-spice Powder (star anise, cloves, Chinese cinnamon, Sichuan peppercorn, and fennel seeds).
Chaozhou, Guangdong Province, China
Meat (duck, chicken, goose; wings, feet, entrails) boiled in master stock.
卤味 lou mei
Wuzhi Village, Raoping, Guangdong Province, China
Some villagers are busy picking tea leaves.
While others do a spring cleaning in preparation for the Chinese New Year.
A lot of spices used in Chinese cooking can be bought from the pharmacy. (For example, star anise can be used to treat flu.)
The spices are ground into powder.
Galangal is essential in making lou mei sauce in the Southern style.
Add soy sauce and fish sauce.
Soup stock made with dried scallop and pork bones, as well as fried spices.
Add in an entire goose and more galangal.
卤鹅 goose in lou mei sauce
Tianmen, Tongling, Anhui Province, China
In October, crabs living in the Wan River are at their fattest.
Steamed crabs are eaten with diced ginger and vinegar.
清蒸蟹 steamed crab
There are at least 14 different varieties of ginger.
Ginger farmers gather in a farmhouse to sell their harvest.
Ginger is grown in ditches like this.
Sprouted gingers are buried in the soil in spring.
In autumn, the ginger field looks like this.
This type of ginger is called 白姜, “white ginger”.
More than 90% of the ginger is water.
It’s first marinated in salt.
Then marinated with soy sauce and broad bean paste.
酱姜 ginger in soy sauce
Or you can add sugar and white vinegar.
糖醋姜 sweet and sour ginger
Having spices in your food is important, because otherwise, no one (human and animal alike) wants to eat it.