A Bite of China English Version “The story of Chinese staple food“

Chinese staple food

In autumn, the ripe wheat decides the basic color of the land in North China.
Wheat was introduced into the Central Plains through the Hosi Corridor.
As it contains rich nutrition, it has been the most vastly planted crop in North China after a localization process of over 4,000 years.
This species originated from West Asia and has become the most important staple food for the Chinese.
After the wheat flour ferments, people bake them in a specially-designed fire pit.
This type of round pancake contains little water and can be preserved for a long time.
They’re the indispensable staple food for Uyghur families in all seasons.

round pancake

In Kuqa, Xinjiang, people celebrate the Corban Festival with delicacies.
Naan is the most favorite staple food for Uyghur people.
The name originated from ancient Persian and has a history of over 2,000 years.
When they first emerged, steamed buns were called Chui cakes and steamed cakes.
They are the most popular staple food in the Central Plains.

bun

Ancient Chinese people were inspired by the water boiling food theory.
They made China the earliest country to cook with steam.
Five cereals in China have always been a changing concept.
Around 2,000 years ago, the five cereals were namely rice, broomcorn millet, millet, wheat, and beans.
But today, the three grains that rank top in terms of their production volumes are rice, wheat and corn.
No matter how things have changed, the leading status of rice remains unchanged.

In the Dong language, Dimen means the origin of spring.
Dimen Village sits at the origin of Qingshui River.
It mostly rains throughout a year.
Wu Shunyu is fetching rice from their own barn.
Barn plays a vital role in the storage of rice.
The barn of tile and wood structure was built above the waters to prevent fire, mice and insects.
The most ancient barn here has a history of 300 years.
The rice Wu Shunyu has fetched is with shells.

The fresh taste of rice can be preserved with the shells.
The rice Wu fetched today would be presented as a gift to a family in their village.
In Dimen, after a woman gives birth and her baby reaches the age of one month, her parents-in-law would send her the betrothal gifts.
It marks the official formation of a new family.
Other women in the village would also send baskets with new rice and eggs.
It represents the most sincere blesses for the newly-born.
Rice noodles are the most important rice product in Liping, Guizhou.
They can be seen everywhere on the local markets.
People here love the noodles in soup the most.
Refined rice noodles in the spicy broth can be served for any of the three meals daily.
Grind the dipped fresh rice into rice milk, that’s the first step for Yang Xiuxia to make rice noodles.
Then scoop out the milk, and steam it.
The rice milk is steamed on the boiling water, air dry it and store it.
This is a typical rice noodle workshop in South China.

As white as jade, the rice noodles preserve some warmth and produce the unique fragrance of rice.
Yang Xiuxia and her husband cooperate naturally.
They’ve repeated each and every movement for hundreds of times.
Plowing a field in spring, hoeing and weeding in summer, harvesting in autumn and storing up in winter,
Today, more than 65% of the Chinese eat rice.
China is the earliest country to plant rice paddy.
Some 7,000 years ago, rice paddy was grown in the Yangtze River areas.
From the green rice shoots to the golden paddy, rice has been made into different foods based on people’s diverse eating habits.
Guangzhou natives also love rice noodles, which are cooked similarly to Liping rice noodles.

rice noodle

Around 150 years ago, rice noodles first appeared in Guangzhou.
The rice noodles here are thinner and more transparent and they taste more tender and smooth.
The most popular rice noodle product among the Cantonese can be this stir-fried rice noodles with beef.
This dish is a test of a Cantonese chef’s basic skills.
To make this dish perfect, chefs have to fry the noodles on vigorous fire.
While frying the noodles evenly, chefs also have to guarantee the intactness of the noodles.
People in North China like eating flour products.
The noodles in the south are made of rice.
More than 1,000 years ago, China was divided by the Qinling Mountains and Huaihe River in terms of the rural pattern: Rice in the south and wheat in the north.
Therefore, people in the south love eating rice and those in the north cannot live without wheaten food.

Thousands of miles away in Xi’an, this restaurant in the old city town is always filled with people waiting.
What can keep the local people wait so patiently can only be the marinated meat in baked bun.
In Xi’an, this type of baked bun is the most widely accepted staple food.
The marinated meat in baked bun is the most classic way to enjoy the buns.
Marinated meat and baked bun are the perfect combination.
The buns Xi’an people eat are baked on fire.
The meat is made with 30-plus seasonings and is stewed with gentle heat.
It tastes soft and glutinous.

Rouga Mo

The plain buns can better highlight the mellow meat.
Xi’an native Cao Shi founded a band with a few friends.
They sing in Xi’an dialects.
Cao is a college teacher and also the lyric writer for the band.
In this song, he lists dozens of local delicacies in ordinary people’s lives in Shaanxi.
Spinach noodles are rich in nutrition.
Belt noodles are thick and challenge your throat.
Remember to wipe your mouth after having Jiangshui noodles.
Qishan noodles have a long history.
Garlic noodles are a bit spicy.
Noodles with soybean paste are in good measure.
At last, have a bowl of noodle soup.
Xi’an was once the most prosperous city in the world.
Thirteen dynasties set up their capitals here.
People from around the world gathered here, bringing the place diverse delicacies.
Today, Xi’an remains a heaven of staple foods for the Chinese.
Paomo, another staple food in Xi’an, originated from the baked buns.
Based on their own preference, people can tear a bun into different sizes.
As for Xi’an natives, this process is what they enjoy the most.
In Northwest China, chopped-up baked buns in lamb or beef broth is a perfect combination of staple food and soup.
Another example can be the Lanzhou beef noodles.

Lanzhou natives start their days with a bowl of beef noodles.
With the Yellow River crossing the city, Lanzhou is home to over 1,000 Muslim noodle shops.
Every day, more than 1 million bowls of beef noodles are consumed.
People have lavished praise on the tender and hot Lanzhou noodles.
A hundred years ago, a Hui ethnic person Ma Baozi poured the water, in which the beef and lamb livers were just boiled, into a pot.
Noodles made in that pot won popularity immediately.
The clarity of the beef broth is the way to check if the beef noodles are authentic.
The best beef noodles should acquire the following five features:
Clear soup, clean white turnips, brilliant red chili oil, green parsley and yellow noodles.

beef noodles

When kneading the flour, Ma Baozi creatively added some special water, whose main component is potassium carbonate.
It made the flour more elastic.
All the procedures are manual.
Ma Wenbin is the fourth-generation successor of Lanzhou beef noodles.
He’s been working in a noodle shop for 40 years.
To pull the dough into noodles of different thickness, a chef needs to have extraordinary strong arms and also exquisite skills in controlling his strength.
The same wheat and the same flour, but different noodles and different wonders are produced.

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