VOC's Travel BLOG
Our Travel Blog is the place to share our real life, travel experiences in China with you. Besides, we will provide information related to Chinese culture and China travel guide. "A bosom friend afar brings a distant land near." Traveling makes us to be closer, let's discover China together!
A bite of China- Power of Time on Cured Meat
When autumn comes to South China, people there will be tempted by another taste of time – different from the taste of Kimchi in North China. People have their own way to preserve food that is contrast to that of North China as the weather and natural environment is quite different. With the intention of better preserving fresh meat which easily goes bad in humid and hot weather of the south, people created a way which can sometimes be a combination of salting, air-drying and fumigating. The unexpected bonus is they gain a different and even more unforgettable taste. Bacon is a traditional winter necessity for southerners in China. Today, bacon can be seen on family table as well as on the table of top restaurant. Hot Pot Rice (Bao Zai Fan) is a typical way to eat cured meat. Cooking Hot Pot Rice is a both sophisticated and painstaking task. The most difficult thing is timing. Fresh rice and a clay pot are needed to cook a good pot of rice. Rice is to be done with big fire and then be baked on charcoal stove to allow the gravy slowly seep into rice. Warm, fragrant and sticky Hot Pot Rice is always a mouthwatering food right to be eaten in winter.
The eighth month of Chinese lunar calendar is final growth stage of rice and the best time to make salted Hehua fish (scientific name: Procypris merus) as well. It is essential to make a good wooden bucket, the major material of which is a bunch of China fir. The bucket will eventually be fastened with bamboo splits to avoid erosion of salt. In fact, a Hehua fish is a carp growing in rice paddies and got its name as it likes eating standing grains. The Hehua fish tastes sweet and tender as thriving rice contains high sugars and nutrition. Catching fish in rice paddies is do the most enjoyable and exciting thing for boys and girls in rural areas of Jingzhou. Although these simple boys and girls are short of modern toys, they do not lack fun. The first step to cure the fish is to fry the sticky rice with oil, which is an indispensable condiment. Fresh red peppers, gingers, Shan Nai (Rhizoma Kaempferiae), Mu Jiangzi (Litsea cubeba) and salt are mixed together with fish. Clamp the fish layer upon layer and finally cover the bucket with heavy staffs. Salted fish is edible one month later and usually served along with beans. Bacon is usually served with radish slices. For simple Miao people, Cured meat is not only food but also unforgettable memory in life.
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