The northeast of China is normally very cold when winter strikes the region; the coldest temperature that has ever been recorded of the country comes from this part with an impressive minus 40 Celsius degrees. Back to the old days when it seemed impossible to acquire fresh vegetables and fruits during the long winter, the local people had to figure out some better solutions to store many vegetables such as China cabbages, carrots, potatoes and so on in the cellars they dug in their yard. Fruits such as apples and pears, as well, are also stored in this way. But other than the mentioned vegetables you can hardly find much more to eat in those days, like tomatoes and cucumbers even though they are very popular by all means. Well, it is just the typical character of that region.
People had though some other ideas to get some green stuff ready for the winter, which is, they dried some vegetables before the temperatures dropped down dramatically and saved those food for the cold season. As a huge contrast, the temperature of summer can hit up to 33 degrees which favored a lot for the growth of vegetables and fruits. Besides, the soil in this region has a black appearance and rich nourishment which makes it possible to raise very tasty and nourish crops and other stuff. There are a few ranges in this region which are covered with trees through a long time, and in these forests you can find many precious plants and animals such as ginsengs and Siberian tigers. In old days, a certain amount of local people led a living by digging ginsengs and catching tigers but they did not often get lucky, yet once they succeeded in finding a valuable ginseng or catching a tiger their life would be just set, which means no more hard work, no risk for life. What a relief for sure!
Talking about the local cuisine, the most famous food is called chicken simmered with red mushroom. Wild mushrooms and agarics of quite a few types are also a gift from the nature to the local residents. They soon found that the kind of mushrooms with a dark red color contributed a mouthful round taste as a dish, especially stewed with young roosters.
Giving it a proper cooking time, the dish yields a wonderful round smell already in the kitchen and it provides quite a lot of energy you will need to survive from the cold winter. Besides that, this dish is also excellent for mums who just delivered their babies. It will simply help these new mothers quickly recover from the tough job and stimulate the production of breast milk. When making this food, people used to put sliced spring onions and gingers in the pot where plant oil is hot enough to boost a sudden scent by frying these two things, then putting the chopped chicken (young rooster) in together with sugar, vinegar, soya sauce, star anise, pepper. With a good blending of these seasonings the cook can guarantee a satisfaction of his guests afterwards since this most traditional dish has existed for a long time and entitled itself as a hallmark of the local culture.
Northeast China Winter Customs
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