While you travel to a new country there are several aspects to consider, such as accommodation, transport, activities, and so on. Food is one of the most important factors to do a research on as it contributes to our daily survival. If you plan to visit Pujiang County in China, here’s a short and interesting information about the food popularly grown, prepared and eaten.
Songxi Village, in Pujiang County of China is not only famous for its beautiful landscape and lush green mountains, but is also famous for some local food items such as grapes and tofu. The villagers of Songxi prepare tofu at home and is commonly prepared during the summers. There are three types of tofu often prepared in Songxi Village.
1. Chaizi Tofu - It is Brown in colour and commonly served as a dessert. It tastes like jelly and is liked by all.
2. Mulian Tofu - It is Red in colour and sweet in taste. It is made from red dried grapes. A common drink in the summers. Tastes refreshing when combined with mint.
3. Guanying Tofu - It is green in colour, made from green leaves.
The materials required and the process of preparation is different for all three types of tofu. Tofu is also one of the favourites of the tourists. Several of the Jinhua Homestay participants say that tofu dishes have been their favourite.
Feng Jie Restaurant is an old restaurant in Songxi Village. It has been serving the local food to villagers and visitors since many years now. They serve home-made delicacies which are commonly eaten in the village, the same dishes become the famous local food delicacies for the villagers. Their noodles are popular among the customers. They grow vegetables on their own and use fresh vegetables while preparing dishes. For other products, they prefer going to the nearby markets to save time and money.
Drama Theme Restaurant is another famous restaurant in the village. As the name suggest, this restaurant is also famous for one other thing apart from the food, the drama. They show weekly movies and play to entertain their customers.
They have a varied menu which consists of international and local cuisines. moreover, as the season changes so does 60% of their menu card.
The drama theme restaurant serves some exotic dishes which are famous amongst the customers.
1. Beef and potato tossed in sauce
2. Fish Soup
3. Tofu Soup
4. Stem of sweet potato and pumpkin
While the village locally produces tofu on a large scale the restaurant does not have to search for it outside the village. However, for the vegetables like corn, radish, leafy vegetables, they approach the local villagers or the nearby market. The restaurant buys meat and beef from the largest hotel in Pujiang County, as they provide fresh material. The fishes are brought from the fresh mountain streams, which makes their taste more appealing.
Food eaten by Families
Families in Songxi Village enjoy the local dishes like tofu, fish, and vegetables. Fruits like grapes and peach are also very famous. There is one dish which is highly popular among the Songxi families which is commonly known as 'Chinese Pancakes'. These are made up of wheat flour with stuffing of meat or vegetables in it. These pancakes are a symbol of reunion and they are made on special occasions like Chinese New Year wherein the entire family sits across the table and has food together. Families tend to make different dishes during different seasons. For example, mutton soup is prepared only in winters as it is more beneficial for the body during that season.
During the Jinhua cultural exchange session, some of the host families were interviewed to know more information about the food eaten by families. The man of the house Xu Xiaoxian told us that grapes; yellow peach; oranges; rice and bamboo are some of the main crops found in Songxi Village. For the participants of the session, the families prepared special dished like ‘zongzi’ (sticky rice with meat or fruit); dumplings and red lucky grape (for blessings).
Views of the Participants
Some of the participants of the Jinhua Homestay were interviewed regarding what food they liked the most during their stay.
Participants from Germany
At first, we were kind of skeptical but also curious to taste the food here. The food looked kind of special and we had to get used to. At first, we had some simple noodles combined with some vegetables and we totally enjoyed it. The dish we love has to be the dumplings and the squeezed rice in the green leaves with sugar on it (Zongzi). When we go back to Germany the story to tell about Songxi’s cuisine is “many little dishes (vegetables, fish, mostly pork) with rice; sometimes pretty spicy and dumplings again”. Familiar dishes include: beans; carrots; dumplings; prawns and potatoes. The food we did not like comprises of fish dishes, everything with too many bones, fat and cartilage in it. And pork stuff.
Participants from South Africa
Expectations of foreign food is always scary yet something to look forward to. The expectations of food from Songxi Village were cuisines with lots of noodles; sushi and so on. However, after being in Songxi, we got lot of variety and the food is fine and eatable. There are similar food(s) that are served in Songxi Village that are also found in South Africa such as the sea food fishes: sushi; prawns; crab and fish, most of the green vegetables, potatoes, meat, their noodles and dumplings are of different size than ours. First meal was dumplings filled with vegetables and meat and I didn’t like them that much until I tried them again. Favorite Songxi dish so far has to be dumplings, noodles with soup and the special duck loving the homemade ginger as well.
Participants from Poland
We eat only fish and avoid eating any other meat. So, initially we had the presumption that we will not have enough vegetarian options. But we were proved wrong. There were several varieties of vegetarian food which was delicious. My favourite so far has been the Chinese pancakes.
Participants from India
We have found the food in Songxi Village to be very welcoming and home-like. Although they do not eat as much spicy as we do, but the dishes still have their unique taste. For the vegetarians, there are several options and for the ones who eat meat are in for a Feast. (By Parimita Muchrikar and Yanga Mangisa)