Yunnan Non-material Cultural Heritage List of Food
Recently, Yunnan has announced the fourth batch of provincial level representative non-material cultural heritage list of food, among which the most eye-catching ones are the cooking skills for a large number of Yunnan food.
Qiaojia Small Bowl Brown Sugar is also called “bowl sugar” by local people and is produced in the area along Jinsha River in Qiaojia County.
It is made from the selected sugarcane through traditional process since the late Qing Dynasty, and is of high reputation in the domestic market. Qiaojia Small Bowl Brown Sugar uses 18 working processes and firewood. The plain small bowl has a good-looking sugar color – translucent reddish yellow. The cane sugar fragrance lingers around, and the sugar melts immediately in the mouth, with a rich and mellow taste. Small bowl brown sugar retains the nutrient content of natural sugarcane, plus multiple trace elements that are beneficial for physical health, thus it is known as the “Oriental Chocolate”.
Jianshui Steam Pot Chicken
Jianshui Steam Pot Chicken enjoys a long history and a good reputation. As early as in the period of Emperor Qianlong in the Qing Dynasty, the steam pot chicken was popular in south Yunnan.
“Fire makes sweet malt” – these words fit for the cooking of steam pot chicken. Clean and cut the chicken into pieces (about 5 – 10 cm), and put them into steam pot (no water), then add some onion, ginger and salt. Choose a pot that fits the steam pot, and put boiled water in the pot, then put the steam pot into the pot. Last, seal the gap by cage cloth or similar material. Steam it for 2.5 – 3 hours then it is ready to serve. The way of cooking this dish is original, and the taste is super delicious.
You can taste a special flavor if you add some Chinese matrimony-vine, shiitake mushroom, Chinese angelica and codonopsis pilosula, forming the “nutritious steam pot chicken”. Among the tens of thousands of cooking utensils, Jianshui people use a unique local cooker – steam port to make the steam pot chicken. Unlike other cooking utensils, the steam pot is oblate with a trumpet-shaped steam import at the bottom connecting with a conical tube nozzle that goes straight to the top center of the pot, and a well-sealed pot lid, forming a very unique shape.
Steamed Rice Cake (Ersi)
Ersi is a special local food in Yunnan. There are various cooking methods for it in Yunnan, and among them the most famous ones are Qujin Steamed Ersi and Weishan Steamed Ersi with pork.
The main raw material for Qujin Ersi is the local quality paddy rice, which is made into rice block and cut into noodle-shaped Ersi. In the past the cutting process is done manually and now by machine. The flavoring and the ingredients are simple and rich, and the making method is elegant.
Fresh chives and mung bean sprout, plus the unique soy sauce and carefully making meat sauce with spices, salt and sugar. The meat sauce is made from fresh hind leg pork. Chop the pork into sauce and stir fry with shiitake mushroom sauce, adding some souse Chinese sauerkraut and oil hot pepper (called as chilli oil in some northern China area). Then the sweet-smelling Ersi is ready to serve. It leaves you an aftertaste that lingers with a bowl of pig bone soup after you finish the noodle.
Lijiang Baba is a special local food for Naxi people. It is of a long history and recorded as early as the Ming Dynasty in “Xu Xiake’s Travel Notes”. It is with good appearance, flavor and taste. The main raw materials are the fine wheat produced in Lijiang with water going down from Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. Use the two to form a dough, wipe vegetable oil on the marble flagstone, roll the dough to flat and thin slices, spill some ham tips or white sugar, coil it and put both ends into the middle and press it with sesame and walnut kernel inside the coiled slices. Use flat pan and soft fire to roast it until it shows a color of golden yellow.
In Yunnan, Han people is good at making ham and bacon, and Hui people is good at making dried beef.
Dried beef is a local food using fresh beef as raw material and soused through multiple processes. Yunnan Xundian Dried Beef enjoys a good reputation around the country for fresh flesh, good looking appearance and delicious taste. The entry of “Dried Beef” in “China Hui Dictionary” states that: “Dried Beef – a special food for Yunnan Hui people, and Xundian produces the best ones.” Dried beef has various making methods, and the most common ones are deep-fried and stir-fried. The deep-fryied dried beef is the most common. If you want to chew it longer, choose the tender deep-frying ones, and if you want crispy ones, choose the longer deep-fried ones. In addition, the dried beef matches with many food collocation, such as green pepper, dried chili, and can be stir fried with some Yunnan wild fungus such as bolete, which is absolutely a unique food in Yunnan.
Marinated Tofu is an important variety of cured meat products in Yunnan, and the making method, variety category and taste are among the front ranks in the country’s marinated Tofu industry.
After one hundred years of praises passing from mouth to mouth, Qidian Marinated Tofu has now become a brand of Yunnan’s marinated Tofu. Qidian Marinated Tofu inherits the traditional process, and on the basis of traditional flavor, improves the modern food safety production process under strict accordance with the requirements from the quality supervisor department. Selected raw material, grind carefully, completely boiled soybean milk etc. The cooking of Qidian Marinated Tofu has strict requirements on every single process. Tofu pudding is made into Tofu after hours of water filtering, and Tofu is only the predecessor of marinated Tofu. Two days later, put it under the sun for air-dry. Then pad water-cleaned and air-dried rice straw under Tofu, which helps Tofu ferment. Tofu needs sun-dry for every 1~2 days, and 3~4 times of sun-dry will get it ready to souse. The worker will weigh and take chili powder and salt, mix them in the Tofu souse workshop. Weigh and mix liquor with Tofu and ingredients, put them into ceramic pots and seal the pots. Add liquor after one month and after four months, the product finally gets done after half year’s souse.
Yong Xiang Zhai Rose Rutabaga
Rose Rutabaga is a special local product of Yunnan. It was founded in the period of late Ming and early Qing dynasties, and it won a prize in Panama World Fair in 1915.
Rose Rutabaga is in brown red color, crispy and moist with a lingering flavor. It uses the local mustard as raw material, matched with salt, red rose sugar, malt sugar, cream sauce, after souse, sun-dry, it is sealed in pool for fermentation. Cut rose rutabaga into shreds for stir-frying meat (or mince meat), or cut it into slices for stir-fried green pepper; or chop it into small pieces for stir-frying with chopped green pepper and chopped meat.
Yimen Fermented Soybean is famous in Yunnan for its appearance, flavor and taste. Yimen Fermented Soybean is classified into two category: the green beans and the dry beans. Among them the green beans fermented soybean is most popular. Bright red chili and fresh green soybean kernels, forming a red-and-green picture, which improves the appetite. It is sweet and tender with aftertaste. Use it as a batching for cooking fish flesh will add a special flavor.
Yimen Green Fermented Soybean is featured by “green”. Choose green soybeans when they grow to seventy or eighty percent mature, peel out the soybean and use it immediately, thus to make the fermented soybean to have a fresh and tender taste. The time to make green fermented soybean is every July and August. During that period, people take the green soybean stem back to home. Neighbors sit around on streets and lanes, everyone – men and women, and the old and the young – is peeling out soybeans.
Water Crispy Cake
Water Crispy Cake is the moon cake in Yongsheng, Yunnan, and has a history over one hundred year.
Water Crispy Cake tastes good and looks good, easy to digest and absorb, good for both young and old, crispy and smooth, not greasy. The texture is soft and delicious, so it is loved by people. Water Crispy Cake has exquisite, unique and multiple cooking processes. They include: selection of material, dough making, pie making, soaking, baking, and packing. Among them, the most important ones are soaking and baking. Water Crispy Cakes are divided into various categories: ham, sugar, honey, rose, five kernel, red bean. It is a popular sweet snack in daily life.
Cultural heritage is a time memory for human, a valuable spiritual wealth passing from generation to generation. If you are a “foodie”, you can start right now to cook the snacks listed above, to pass Yunnan’s precious wealth down to the future generations.