Down a bowl of douzhi, taste a unique snack enjoyed by Beijingers

By Zhang Wenjie, Annemarie Li, Zhou Yu, Peng Yukai (People's Daily Online) 15:34, January 21, 2022

For people who are not locals in Beijing, it is simply unimaginable that they might become an avid consumer of douzhi (or "douzhier" in the Beijing dialect), a kind of fermented bean soup.

Douzhi's grayish-green color and peculiarly tangy smell may not be pleasing to first-timers. The lingering taste may become even stronger after the first sip, which underscores the common notion that it is definitely an acquired taste. It tastes sour, tinged with some sweetness, while its smell might be potentially off-putting to some.

Photo taken on Nov. 26, 2021, shows a traditional local Beijing breakfast that includes douzhi, deep-fried dough rings, and sesame pancakes. (People’s Daily Online/Peng Yukai)

Nonetheless, it is an indispensable part of Beijingers' everyday breakfast diet. "Beijingers have loved drinking 'douzhier' for a history of over 300 years," Yin Xinan, owner of a restaurant specializing in Beijing’s local breakfast cuisine, told People's Daily Online.

Douzhi is made from green beans. After first soaking the green beans for a while, the soymilk making machine grinds the green beans into a thickened liquid. After separating the sediment, the middle layer then undergoes fermentation for a period of time. And this final process then forms the "douzhier."

"The quality of 'douzhier' is determined by the length of time it is fermented," Yin said. "The first sip is sour, but one will have a sweet aftertaste upon swallowing it. This type of 'douzhier' is of the highest quality. It is also called 'sweet and sour douzhier.'"

Staffs serve douzhi to customers at a restaurant in Beijing, Nov. 26, 2021. (People’s Daily Online/Peng Yukai)

Douzhi not only satisfies the appetites of Beijing locals, but is a source of their emotional sustenance as well. It has been one of the most favorite items ordered by Yin's guests since childhood. "After drinking 'douzhier,' one feels refreshed," Yin said. "It can clear away heat and keep you regular, and it also has a beneficial effect on the stomach." 

(Web editor: Zhang Wenjie, Liang Jun)


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