dried-food specialities


dried-food specialities
The Chinese began to dry foodstuffs for easy storage and transportation 1,500 years ago. Their dried foodstuffs (ganhuo) are abundant and of great variety. Bear’s paw, bird’s nest, shark’s fin, sea cucumber, abalone, fish maw and hedgehog hydnum, traditionally known as shanzhenhaiwei (treasures of mountains and sea), were delicacies for the privileged.
Other dried seafood includes a number of fishes and molluscs. Among dried meat and fowl specialties are Jinhua ham, Guangdong sausage and Nanjing pressed salted duck. Others include beef jerky, pork floss and dried parts of different animals. Juecai (rake) and chongcao (codyceps) are a few of the favourite vegetative products. Fungus products abound.
Black ‘wood-ears’, tremella and the more expensive niushejun mushroom are on top of the list. There are hundreds of dried and candied fruits like dates, kumquat, raisin and longan. In a Bengdou Zhang chain store in Tianjin, one can find nuts, peas, beans and seeds of lotus, melon, pumpkin and sunflowers cooked in innumerable ways. Most of the nuts and fruits are snacks. The others are for cooking, but they must first be soaked and expanded.
Ganhuo has a huge market at home and abroad. In 2000, its sale amounted to 70 per cent of the total sales in Shanghai’s supermarket chain stores. Meanwhile, Nanjing alone consumed 8,000 tons of chestnuts. New products like mushroom extract capsules are manufactured to satisfy customers’ insatiable appetites. Most of the producers are law-abiding, but sporadic food inspections still find substandard marine and vegetative products.
YUAN HAIWANG

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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