Northeastern Chinese cuisine adds flavor to ice and snow feast

(Xinhua) 09:32, December 12, 2023

CHANGCHUN, Dec. 11 (Xinhua) -- The moment Tai Lingling and Liu Hao from Suzhou, east China's Jiangsu Province stepped out of Changbaishan Airport, a burst of cold air awakened their brains.

They excitedly took a taxi and headed straight to Changbai Mountain Wanda International Resort. Staring at the world of ice and snow over 1,200km north of their home, the newly-wed couple were completely at a loss for words to describe this winter wonderland.

"The ice and snow here is incredibly appealing to us southerners. Skiing, hot springs, rafting, and delicious food are all beyond attractive. We specially chose this place for our honeymoon," Tai said.

Since the opening of the new snow season on November 18, Changbai Mountain Wanda International Resort, located in Fusong County, Baishan City, northeast China's Jilin Province, has become a popular destination. Heavy snowfall, good snow quality, long snow season, and great ecological environment have made it an ideal place to visit. Since the opening, over 4000 people have visited the resort daily.

In addition to various winter activities, the unique cuisine also has added a northeastern flavor to the ice and snow feast.

As more ski enthusiasts visit the resorts, local restaurants have seen a booming business.

As the sun set, a light smell of firewood spreads in the air in Guosong, a village only one kilometer away from the resort. The iron pot stew is on the top of the menu in almost every restaurant here in the village. Tai and Liu walked into a restaurant that was renovated from a mountain village residence. They sat around a large pot, salivating over various types of iron pot stews on the menu.

"Although everything can be stewed in an iron pot, the quality of the ingredients is the most important," said Yan Yating, owner of the iron pot stew restaurant in Guosong, adding that local meat and the mineral water from Changbai Mountain form the essence of the iron pot stew here.

With the aroma of the iron pot stew filling the room, Tai and Liu were eager to take a bite. "Over the years, an increasing number of ski enthusiasts from the south have eaten the iron pot stew here. Many of them have become friends," Yan said.

Ice and snow are also invaluable assets. In recent years, some companies have increased their investment in the ice and snow industry in northeast China. Additionally, the success of the Beijing Winter Olympics and Winter Paralympics has boosted the development of China's winter sports.

In Jilin, the weather is cold, but not too cold. With the natural advantages of powder snow and calm winds, Jilin has built four national-level ski resorts including Changbai Mountain Wanda International Resort. In terms of Jilin's ice and snow economy, its market share, product sales, and reception scale have consistently ranked among the top in the country for many years. Meanwhile, more people are starting to explore local cuisine while experiencing winter sports in Jilin.

Since the new snow season, many live-streaming hosts not only discuss the price of ski resorts, the number of ski trails, and the height of the mountain, but also what to eat after skiing.

On Tai's food bucket list, sticky bean buns and Fried Pork in Scoop are two must-have dishes. Sticky bean buns are made from sticky rice or sticky yellow rice, with sugared bean paste stuffed inside. Since "sticky" and "year" share the same pronunciation in Chinese, sticky bean buns are considered a heartwarming food in the local culture of northeast China, symbolizing the flavor of the Chinese New Year and containing the affection of family reunion.

Fried Pork in Scoop, or Guobaorou in Chinese, is a crispy pork dish with a sweet and sour flavor, that has become popular among tourists during this snow season.

Many local specialties like corn juice, ginseng milk tea, and ice blueberry wine are also playing an important role in the local food tour, which has become a new hot spot in Jilin's ice and snow industry.

"The ice and snow culture here is incredible. The delicious dishes are also unforgettable. More and more people will fall in love with this place in the future," Tai said.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


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