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Xiao Zhou, originally from Hunan, is a book artist (书籍艺术) and avid food blogger in Beijing. She creates, cooks, writes, and photographs. I asked Xiao Zhou to share with ShowShanti her favorite dish from home.
In Hunan province, Smoked Fish is a famous dish; it is also my most favorite food. In my hometown, every family makes this during the winter and especially every year for Chūnjié (春节, Spring Festival).
Smoked fish is so delicious that nearly everyone enjoys eating it. It should be made using fresh fish, salt, and then kept in the refrigerator for at least two days. People put the salted fish for several days under the sunlight drying it quickly. The dried fish is then smoked until it turns the color yellow.
When ready to use, how is smoked fish prepared? It is usually steamed with a little oil, sugar, and dòuchǐ (豆豉, fermented black bean). In Hunan, there is a famous dish named làwèi hé zhēng (腊味合蒸) made of smoked meats and smoked fish, steamed together for an hour. Every time I see this dish on my family’s table, I can’t eat too much rice. It is too delicious to control my appetite.
Until now, I had left my hometown, living in Beijing for six years. In my opinion, smoked fish represents my home town’s cuisine. When I eat it in Beijing, I always miss my family very much.
If God left only one type of food for me, I would choose smoked fish without hesitation.
Xiao Zhou writes a food blog at http://blog.sina.com.cn/cerix.