~ Rediscover Home Taste 重拾乡味 ~
Fruit vendor & her fruits. - Night Market, Guiyang
If the memory of my hometown is like a collection of those old faded photos, then the memory of my hometown delicacies is like a pot of "辣子鸡" laziji, the spicy chicken. Wait, isn’t laziji a Sichuan specialty? Hold on, I’ll explain to you more in a bit.
Mixed veggies on crispy rice crust. - Lianghuanzhai, Guiyang
The one and only, Guizhou Maotai.
Welcome ritual with rice wine in a Miao restaurant. - Lianghuanzhai, Guiyang
As a part-time food tour guide with UnTour Food Tours (www.untourfoodtours.com) here in Shanghai, my mission is to introduce delicious Chinese dishes from different regions to foreign visitors and local expats alike. But I always felt that I didn’t understand much of the food culture in my hometown, Guiyang, even though I spent a lot of time growing up there. Perhaps I’ve been taking it for granted, so I wasn’t paying a lot of attention to the local food.
作为一名 UnTour Food Tours 的兼职美食导游，我的使命是为来沪旅游的外国游客和在沪工作的外国朋友介绍中国各地的美食。但我总觉得对自己家乡 – 贵阳 – 的饮食文化不是辣么了解，尽管我在那呆的时间并不短。或许是因为我认为当地美食就是理所当然，就没有太在意了。
The making of tribe & blood tofu noodles. - Jiang's Changwangmian, Guiyang
Ready? - Jiang's Changwangmian, Guiyang
Before going back home, I felt this strong urge to document as many of my hometown dishes as I could. Partly because every time I went back I felt super bored, so I wanted to do something different than being a “dry swimming” spectator. Also partly because I really wanted to have some good shots of my hometown, so that I could leave something valuable for my grandkids. (I can almost hear mom saying, “you don’t even have any kids and you’re talking about grandkids already?” :p) But because of the COVID-19 outbreak, I had to postpone my further investigation to a later date. However, I do think I’ve covered enough to give you a fair presentation. Before you move on to read the rest, I highly recommend you do so after your lunch or dinner. Otherwise, don’t blame me for making you drool over the photos, ehh!
All the toppings you can add.
Sticky rice cake dressed in soy bean flour.
Locals love their chestnuts!
Fish for the sour soup. - Lianghuanzhai, Guiyang
Chisui black bean tofu.
Jelly made with green peas. - Qingyan Old Town, Guiyang
Gaoba rice porridge with lotus flour. - Qingyan Old Town, Guiyang
The making of ginger candy. - Qingyan Old Town, Guiyang
Local pastry shop. - Guiyang
Ciba, sticky rice.
All sorts of soy bean products. - Guiyang
~ My Favorites 我的菜 ~
Mom making baozi from scratch.
If you ask 10 locals what some of the famous dishes are in Guiyang, they may tell you "折耳根炒腊肉" (fish mint & cured pork stir-fry) or "凯里酸汤鱼" (Kaili sour soup fish) or "花溪牛肉粉" (Huaxi beef noodles) or "青岩卤猪脚" (Qingyan stewed pig’s feet) or "遵义豆花面" (Zunyi soft tofu noodles) or "恋爱豆腐果" (lover’s fried tofu) or "丝娃娃" (siwawa – vegetarian spring roll) or "辣子鸡" (spicy chicken) or "肠旺面" (tribes & blood tofu noodles) or "脆哨面" (crunchy pork belly noodles). Whew... You see, they give you 10 different dishes. And I bet if you aske where to get a particular dish from what the list, each of them will then tell you a different place for the same dish. 10 x 10 = 100! The solution? Well, try them all and pick your own favorite! :p However, if you ask me about my favorite Guiyang dishes, my answer is – well, how about let me show you instead!
假如你问 10 个当地人贵阳的有些什么特色菜，他们可能会告诉你有折耳根炒腊肉啦、凯里酸汤鱼啦、花溪牛肉粉啦、青岩卤猪脚啦、遵义豆花面啦、恋爱豆腐果啦、丝娃娃啦、辣子鸡啦、肠旺面啦还有脆哨面哦。你看看，10 个人就给了你 10 个不同的菜品。我还猜如果你继续问去哪里能够吃到以上列举的其中一道特色菜，他们每个人都会给你推荐不同的地方去品尝。10 乘 10 等于 100！咋办？一个给吃呗！:p 但是如果你问我最喜欢的贵阳菜，我的答案就是 – 来，不如让我带你看看吧！
Mom making baozi skin.
You know, not because they’re my parents so I have to put them on the very top of the list. Mom and dad have been making some super delicious dishes. Besides, how could someone not list their homemade food high up there? Although mom’s very skilled at cooking, she wasn’t into cooking before she got married. She admits that she rarely did cooking or any house chores before marriage. She’s the youngest child in her family, so she’s pretty spoiled by her parents. But things have changed for her after I was born, she became a full-time housewife. Naturally, she picked up knitting and cooking, both of which have been giving dad and I extra insulations! :p
你看，不是说因为两位老司机是我父母我就得把他们的菜列在前面。父母的菜的确好吃。再说，谁又能不把家里的菜摆在最前呢？母亲现在的厨艺高超，但在结婚前她的厨艺并不怎样。她自己也坦白，在结婚前她连家务活也很少干。作为家里的老姑娘（不是年龄老，是排行最末哦），是被父母宠惯了的。但自从我出生以后，她的工作性质变了，岗位变成了全职家庭主妇。这样一来，她自然而然地也学会了打毛衣和烹饪。这两样活都为我和父亲“穿” 上了不薄的 “保暖装置” 。
What about dad? We only see that you mom cooks. Does he cook at all? Well, since mom took over the wok, dad’s been semi-retired in this arena. But when it comes to one particular dish, that's where he'll claim a total ownership. I remember when I was younger, whenever dad cooked this dish, the whole portion would be already down by around 20%~30% before it reached the table. Did some of it just got evaporated? Nah, because both of us would be “tasting” it until it’s ready to be served. It’s simply that good! What is it then? It’s called “辣子鸡”, spicy chicken. And no, we don’t put Sichuan peppercorn in it. But yes, we pour beer during the cooking process. See below for the final presentation!
那老李哥呢？现在只看到你母亲的做的菜。他会做菜吗？这么讲吧，自从母亲执掌大厨一职，父亲一直以半退休状态出现在灶台边。但只要说到一道菜，那就得他来全权烹制。还记得我小时候每当老李哥做这道菜，还没等端上桌就已经少了两三成。难不成蒸发了？不然，是因为在烹制的过程中我们两个一直在 “试吃” 。就这么好吃！那是什么菜？这道菜叫 “辣子鸡” 。不放花椒的哦，而且过程中还需要倒点啤酒。你来看看效果如何！
Dad's beer flavored spicy chicken.
On my list besides homemade dishes, there are other good stuff that I don’t mind having again and again. Such as "瓦儿糕" wa’ergao, a steamed rice cake with brown sugar; "脆哨面" cuishaomian, crunchy pork belly dry mixed noodles; "豆腐圆子" doufuyuanzi, fried tofu balls; "凉拌折耳根" liangbanzhe'ergen, fish mint salad - a must-try specialty in Guizhou; "卤猪脚" luzhujiao, stewed pig’s feet. Home made clear soup ones dipped with homemade dipping sauce is not bad either; and lastly one of my favorite sweets, "丁丁糖" dingding candy, which is made from malt sugar. "Dingding" represents the sounds when the the candy gets broken apart. And by the way, "dingding" is also my mom’s first name. Perhaps that’s the real reason why I like it some much? 😊
除了父母菜，还有其它白吃不厌的好东西。比如 “瓦尔糕”，一种加红糖蒸出来的米糕；“脆哨面”，加了香脆油炸哨子，类似燃面的拌面；“豆腐圆子”，炸过的嫩豆腐丸子，在我看来可与肉丸子媲美；“凉拌折耳根”，折耳根又名鱼腥草，到贵州必吃；“卤猪脚”，数青岩卤猪脚有名，香糯又不腻。但自家制的清汤猪脚蘸蘸水也不错；还有 “丁丁糖”，麦芽糖制成，是我最喜欢的糖果之一。“丁丁” 是模拟麦芽糖被打碎时的声音。顺带说一下，“丁丁” 还是我母亲的名字，有可能是我喜欢丁丁糖的真正原因噢？😊
Wa'ergao, steamed rice cake with brown sugar. - Guiyang
Cuishaomian, crunchy pork belly dry noodles. - Kang's Cuishaomian, Guiyang
Cuishaomian, crunchy pork belly dry mix noodles. - Kang's Cuishaomian, Guiyang
Doufuyuanzi, fried soft tofu balls. - Lianghuanzhai, Guiyang
Two Guiyang home essentials - zhe'ergen, fish mint salad & zhanshui, hot dipping sauce.
贵阳家里餐桌必备 - 折耳根与蘸水。
Stewed pig's feet. - Lianghuanzhai, Guiyang
Stewed pig's feet. - Qingyan Old Town, Guiyang
Sweets wonderland. - Yang's Dingding Candy, Guiyang
Dingding candy. - Yang's Dingding Candy, Guiyang
~ Street Food Cure 路边摊食疗 ~
Let the night life begin! - Shanxi Road Food Street, Guiyang
If night life is crucial to a city's vitality, then street food is quintessential to the city's nightlife. It’s so rare to see any street food in Shanghai nowadays. But in Guiyang, you need not to worry about where you can go for some street food after work or whenever you feel hungry, because the street hawkers are more convenient than the local food delivery service. You hungry? Go down the street!
Busy food street! - Shanxi Road Food Street, Guiyang
Food Street in Guiyang.
Pick you noodles.
Fried to order.
Can you smell it?
Make it extra cruchy for me, please!
River snails stir-fry.
Would you like some bones?
Ca$h for the fresh.
Cantonese style barbecue.
Is she looking for food on Dianping?
Noodles, rice, shrimp, clams, roasted fish, veggie & meat.
When the night has come...
... and the land is dark.
... night market is the only light I'll see.
~ Red Red Chilis 红翻翻的辣角 ~
As you can see, aren’t there many street food options for you to choose from? But one thing for sure you’ll notice on the street is that how much the locals love their chilies. And by “love” I don't mean just a little bit for seasoning or for aesthetic. Before the CNY, I accompanied mom to get some 年货 nianhuo, the spring festival grocery & goodies stock-up . One of the stops was going to this lady’s chili shop where my auntie was a regular. When we got to her shop, mom picked her chili by the spicy level and origin, usually she picked from 大方 Dafang, 遵义 Zunyi or 花溪 Huaxi, all from Guizhou. Because she wanted to make some 糍粑辣椒 ciba spicy chili sauce, an oil chili sauce, the lady fed the grinder with what mom chose for finer ground than chopped version. After all, chopping them all at home would take a longer time. Mom then would bring home the freshly ground chili and cooked it with sliced ginger, garlic and lots of oil. By the way, the laziji you saw previously was cooked with this type of homemade chili sauce. It adds the aroma and smoky taste to the dish.
你看看，夜市是不是选择多多嘞？但有一样东西你肯定注意到的就是当地人有多么地喜欢辣椒了。我说的 “喜欢” 不仅仅是一点点作为调味或是点缀哦。春节前我陪伴母亲屯了些年货。其中一站就是到这个我大姨常光顾的辣椒铺了。到了辣里，母亲按辣度、香味还有产地挑选了满意的辣椒。产地通常是大方或是遵义或是花溪的。因为是为了制做糍粑辣椒，所以要用到搅碎机搅拌处理，这要比回家自己剁要轻松许多。拿回家后母亲便用姜片、蒜以及大量的油进对搅碎后的辣椒行下一步的制作。插一句哈，之前看到的辣子鸡便是用这种糍粑辣椒烹制而成的。这样一来辣子鸡会变得香味扑鼻，还有一种糍粑辣椒的特殊焦熏味。
Chilis being processed.
Chilis being processed.
There are also other chili flavored food available. Some are with dry tofu, some with minced chicken or beef and some others with beans like broad beans. They’re to be enjoyed as seasonings or snacks. Yes, like beer snack!
Chili flavored snacks.
Chili flavored snacks.
Chili flavored snacks.
Guizhou is also famous for it's beef jerky. Can be a nice souvenir.
~ Stock Up, It's CNY 赶场屯年货 ~
Don't wanna buy anything? Get a hair cut instead then! - Qinyan Town, Guiyang
Talking about nianhuo, in the country, getting the spring festival grocery stock-up is called "赶场", ganchang, where you can find all sort of fresh veggies at a centralized farmers market. It’s so amazing to experience such festivities again! Thank you, my auties for bringing me there!
在乡下，置办年货的好地方要数 “赶场” 了。赶场就像是特别版的集市一般，能买到许多新鲜蔬菜水果肉类等。能够再次感受到这种浓厚的节日气氛好安逸！谢谢大姑老姑带我去体验！
Fresh veggies for a fresh new year! - Qinyan Town, Guiyang
Zhe'ergen, dare try? - Qinyan Town, Guiyang
Happy New Year! - Qinyan Town, Guiyang
Home grown veggies are the best! - Qinyan Town, Guiyang
Laziji on it's way! - Guanshanhu Park, Guiyang
Hot swag on. - Qinyan Town, Guiyang
~ To Be Continued 未完待续 ~
The night is still young! - Shanxi Road Food Street, Guiyang
As I mentioned, the food showned above are only a small part of what Guiyang and Guizhou has to offer. Why not consider this as an open invitation to you all. I want you, to come to my hometown and enjoy the good food after the madness is all over!
The next article is going to be on places that you can visit in Guizhou. I'll share with you where I've been and what I've captured. Stay tuned!