THE WONDERS OF LOCAL CUISINE, Introduction

Audio File length: 2.30
English / USA Language: English / USA

Hi, my name’s Rick, and I’m your personal guide. Along with MyWoWo, I’d like to welcome you to the wonderful flavors of Beijing.

The cuisine of Beijing, also known as Mandarin or Jing, meaning from the capital, comprises hundreds of dishes, especially sold in the numerous stalls around the city. I’ll just mention a few of the best known.

Among the most popular starters are vegetarian spring rolls, chūnbǐng juǎncài, filled with mushrooms or vegetables, and there’s also a Beijing version of the famous wonton Chinese ravioli: they’re filled with meat, shrimp or vegetables, but instead of being steamed, they’re fried, according to a recipe believed to date back to the empress Cixi.

Another interesting starter is the rolling donkey, which has no relation to the animal, and is in fact a rice rolls filled with red bean paste and fried.

In Chinese cuisine, meals are always preceded by soup: the most common is the hot, spicy and slightly sour suānlàtāng, made with meat and vegetables. Another typical Beijing dish is qīngtāng wánzǐ, made with pork meatballs, mushrooms and spices, or wonton soup.

If you fancy trying some noodles, I suggest zhajiangmian, or "fried sauce noodles":  thick wheat noodles topped with zhajiang sauce, made by simmering stir-fried ground pork with fermented yellow soybean paste.

The most famous main course is undoubtedly Peking Duck, běijīng kǎoyā, prepared since the Imperial Age. In the original recipe, only the skin of the duck, with little meat, is served, and the cook cuts it directly in front of diners. The ducks are raised specifically for the purpose, and are killed at least two days before being roasted in the oven.

The recipe for beggar’s chicken, fùguì jī, is even older, dating to 200 BC: stuffed chicken, wrapped in clay and cooked slowly over low heat for about six hours.

Another famous dish is Mu Shu or mùxūròu, meaning “meat shavings”: strips of pork stewed with vegetables, which you’ll often find as street food, served in a pancake.

 

An interesting fact: if you order a dish in a restaurant, a portion will be brought for everyone at the table, so remember to specify it’s just for you.

What else can I say but…Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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