Top Chinese Eats and Treats
Introducing some of the top eats and treats that China has to offer!
Lychee’s are a kind of fruit which originated in China and are still enjoyed by the nation. They are about the size of a small plum with a dark red, rough outer shell and juicy white flesh within. The texture is quite chewy and the flavour and fragrance is light and delicate. Lychee’s are best if eaten fresh but they can also be served in deserts or purchased canned.
Moon cakes are eaten all across China during the Mid-Autumn Festival. A thin layer of soft, flaky pastry is wrapped around a dense filling and the top is intricately decorated. How exactly they’re made and what they contain varies regionally. The most common fillings are red bean and lotus seed paste, and there is often a salted duck egg yolk in the centre to represent the moon. Moon cakes are often frequently given as gifts and served in slices with tea. Modern variations on the moon cake include mini, fat free and chocolate flavoured.
Zong Zi is another traditional Chinese special occasion food, eaten during the Dragon Boat Festival. They are little sticky rice dumplings which are filled with a variety of flavours and then wrapped in bamboo leaves before being steamed. Common fillings include chicken, pork, duck eggs, jujubes, mung beans, red bean paste and Chinese black mushrooms. In Southern China they are quite triangular in shape but in the North they are usually more cylindrical. Whether you eat them on their own or with a dipping sauce is entirely a matter of personal taste!
In Chinese culture if an animal is slaughtered for its meat than every part of it should be eaten. In China offal of both the red (heart, liver, kidneys etc) and green (stomach and oesophagus) varieties is served in restaurants across the country. When it comes to pigs the tails are a very popular cut of meat. They usually go into soups or stews but can also be braised or deep fried. Pig tails are full of bones, but if cooked slowly then the meat should come away from them fairly easily.
This unusual snack food really is popular in Shanghi, and deep-fried honeybees with salt and pepper is a traditional Yunnan dish. They have a naturally sweet taste and locals will risk treacherous night climbs to find nests and procure this delicacy.
Boiled Cow Stomach
This dish isn’t one for the faint hearted. Cow stomach lining can have a tender texture if cooked correctly but a rubbery, chewy texture if cooked badly. When served as a cold dish the texture can even become crunchy! As it doesn’t have a strong flavour of its own it’s usually used as a carrier of flavours and is often paired with intense spices or served with sesame paste. Cow stomach lining boiled in chilli soup is particularly popular.
White Rabbit Creamy Candy
Don’t worry – this one isn’t actually made out of rabbit. These are chewy sweets (with a similar texture to nougat) wrapped in edible rice paper. The original flavour of these popular Chinese sweets was vanilla but you can now get flavours like bitter plum, red bean, coconut, lychee, chocolate, toffee, peanut, corn and yogurt. Because of the high concentration of milk powder used to make them they were advertised as a nutritional product as well as a sweet treat and sold with the slogan ‘Seven White Rabbit candies is equivalent to one cup of milk’.