Latest News:  

English>>Life & Culture

Summer sweets


16:54, June 27, 2013

file photo

BEIJING, June 10 (Xinhuanet) -- Forget about decadent grape bunches dangling above the mouths of sybaritic Roman matrons. Pauline D. Loh gives you a buying guide to the best temptations of summer right here in China.

Lychee (Litchi chinensis)

You may transplant them to Madagascar or Queensland, but the lychee will always remain an exotic Chinese fruit, deeply entrenched in the country's culinary heritage and history.

Every Chinese child knows the story of how fast horses were literally ridden to death as couriers galloped non-stop from Guangzhou to Xi'an, bringing lychee to the emperor's favorite concubine. All this effort just to win a smile from the beauty, Yang Guifei.

We don't know if it was really true, but the legend is so much part of the fruit's folklore that a type of lychee is actually named Concubine's Smile.

This is an early variety that is now widely sold from Hong Kong to Beijing and is a large sweet fruit with green-tinged skin that camouflages the translucent sugar-sweet flesh encasing an atrophied seed.

Like all good fruit trees, the lychee must be grafted to keep its genetic pool pure, and the seeds are now no more than a little tick in the enjoyment of the fruit.

The fruit flourishes in the warm humid climate of southern China, with the best coming from Guangdong province, and in recent years from the tropical island of Hainan.

Lychee comes into season in May and will be on the market for as long as three to four months. You may even get some Australian imports for the rest of the year, but true lychee aficionados know that the best varieties are worth waiting for.

The Chinese love lychee so much that they will even settle for the canned variety out of season. In Singapore, one of our childhood favorites is a syrupy lychee juice drink with two or three canned fruits floating on top of crushed ice. It was always a highlight of the meal.

But lychee is best eaten fresh, well chilled. Some of Beijing's top restaurants serve peeled lychee on a mountain of crushed ice - a decadent presentation that would make any woman smile.

【1】 【2】

We recommend:

Top 10 rarest albino animals in the world

Seven most amazing lakes in New Zealand

Most beautiful Chinese celebs

Sexy photos of Chinese diving show stars

Top 10 special 'small' countries

Lin Chi-ling promotes online game

World's most extravagant mobile home

Joe Chen covers Modern Lady

Fans at FIFA's Confederations Cup

Email|Print|Comments(Editor:LiXiang、Zhang Qian)

Related Reading

  1. Healthy summer food

Leave your comment0 comments

  1. Name


Selections for you

  1. Special operation members in training

  2. People present wishes to Mandela

  3. Rescue operations resume in India

  4. A university graduate's shepherd career

  5. Father Chen and his 2,000 children

  6. Photos: Hazy life in Beijing

  7. Food Taipei 2013 exhibition kicks off

  8. Graduates hold fashion show in Hong Kong

  9. Chinese shares extend losses

  10. Setting sail into uncharted waters

Most Popular


  1. No pains, no gains for China's economy
  2. 'Kingdom of Bicycles' rises again
  3. Positive energy needed in Sino-British relations
  4. Chinese official calls for balance in urbanization
  5. US role in Syria exposes the evils of hegemony
  6. Prism program – who are the principal victims?
  7. Stocks hold steady, but brokers still cautious
  8. China 'most promising' in FDI
  9. Shanghai kids more likely to have asthma
  10. Money not the answer to all problems

What’s happening in China

A university graduate's shepherd career

  1. Woman, 68, washes dishes for grandson's college
  2. 19 foreigners arrested for shoplifting
  3. Old couple sells home to give 1.6m yuan to college
  4. Guangzhou adding 72-hour transit visa waiver
  5. Shanghai sends more medical support to Xinjiang