What are some popular local specialties that are selling well within your home province but are not available outside of the province?

Summary of Local Delicacies

I don’t know if I’m just too greedy, but every time I finish a trip, I become the kind of person who “can’t eat and walk”. I can’t help but stuff all the delicious local food into my suitcase.

One particularly exaggerated experience was when I went to Singapore and Malaysia by myself. My 20-inch suitcase was empty before departure, but as I traveled, I couldn’t control myself. I stuffed it with delicious food every day. Not only did the 20-inch suitcase get full, but the 24-inch one couldn’t even close properly…

Here are some highlights of local specialties I’ve brought back from Hua Hin, Thailand.

So, when it comes to buying local food specialties, I consider myself a professional. Haha~

I especially like to go to local markets and surrounding areas to discover the local people’s taste preferences, because there I always find unexpected flavors and even more authentic local delicacies.

Here are a few provinces that I am familiar with, where the locals may have grown tired of the “indigenous products” but I miss them dearly.

Guizhou’s Fragrant Meat Bombs

Guizhou, a place that I have fallen in love with, not only satisfies my taste buds but also captivates my soul with its food. Every day I spend there, I immerse myself in the world of its cuisine, a world that is filled with the hustle and bustle of food 24 hours a day.

But when it comes to its local culinary specialties, my first thought is: Crispy Sliced Pork Belly!

Crispy Sliced Pork Belly, in essence, is seasoned and deep-fried pork belly, also known as pork lard. However, the way it is prepared in Guizhou is completely different from other places.

The Crispy Sliced Pork Belly I bought locally

In Guizhou, the pork belly is marinated with rice wine, soy sauce, aged vinegar, sugar, and spices. The chunks of belly fat undergo the Maillard reaction in the hot oil, becoming crispy with a reddish color. When you bite into it, it makes a “crunchy” sound and releases a burst of flavors, combining the aromas of meat, soy sauce, and saltiness, creating a three-dimensional explosion of flavors in your mouth, like a meaty bomb.

Image from the documentary “Flavor of the Origin”

Moreover, it is also a versatile ingredient that goes well with various dishes such as noodles, sausage soup, beef noodles, shredded tofu salad, tofu pudding noodles, dipping sauce… Whenever it is added to any dish, it doubles the happiness!

Especially when it comes straight out of the frying pan, it is like an “oil” from heaven. Once you leave the entrance of the market, you can’t taste it anymore.

Guizhou’s Late-Night Food Password

In Guizhou’s late-night snacks, Sour Soup is the secret code for food.

Sour Soup Rice Noodles, Sour Soup Fish, Sour Soup Fish Hot Pot, Sour Soup Beef Hot Pot… In short, sourness is not only a necessity for the locals but also a cultural symbol of street life.

The pot of Sour Soup I had

But in Guizhou, the sourness is not just ordinary sourness, it is a complex combination of sour and spicy flavors, layered upon layers, creating an intense and lingering sourness.

In addition, Guizhou’s Sour Soup can also be categorized into two major factions: Red Sour and White Sour.

White Sour is made from fermented rice, with a mellow and natural sourness, belonging to the traditional faction. Red Sour, on the other hand, is fermented with local chili peppers, and it is a perfect match for all kinds of fish, representing the trendy faction.

Image from the documentary “I’m Crazy About Noodles”

Among these two types of sour soup, Red Sour can be purchased online, such as the popular Liu Hu Zi Sour Soup Fish base. However, if you have tasted the authentic sour soup in Kaili, you will know that the original flavor is lost once it leaves the province.

Beijing’s Starch Sausage without Meat

Beijing has always ranked among the top three in the “Gourmet Desert” in the culinary world. As for its local specialties, such as Dao Xiang Cun (fragrant sesame cakes), Er Ba Jiang (sweet bean paste), and roast duck, it seems that there is nothing else.

But in Beijing, there is a unique snack called Zha Guan Chang (Fried Starch Sausage), which has no meat at all. It stands out in this circle of pure-meat sausages and cannot be found elsewhere once it leaves Beijing.

The real Zha Guan Chang

Beijing’s Zha Guan Chang is made by mixing flour and starch in a certain proportion, then steaming and cooling them with well-seasoned water and flour. It is then sliced into thin and thick pieces and deep-fried into crispy “starch slices”.

The first time I tried it, I was full of doubts! Can you eat fried starch? And it’s even dipped in garlic sauce, isn’t that deceiving children?

Indeed, Zha Guan Chang is a childhood favorite for many people in Beijing and a genuine representative of Beijing’s food culture. It may seem inconspicuous to outsiders, but everything, from the frying time to the thickness of the slices, the preparation of the garlic sauce, and the ratio of starch, is highly particular.

Moreover, it is said that a Beijinger who knows how to eat can test the quality of the sausage with a tiny toothpick.

Apart from being freshly fried on-site, you can also buy steamed Zha Guan Chang (starch sausage) and fry them at home, a taste that is hard to find outside Beijing.

Quanzhou’s “Potato Chips” with a Twist

Quanzhou, a city filled with vibrant culture and warmth, is not only known for its endless temples but also its abundant local flavors.

People here enjoy dishes such as Mian Xian Hu (thick rice noodle soup), Shui Wan Tang (water dumpling soup), Ma Jia Geng (pork and fish paste soup), and Hau Lor Ji (oyster omelet). The city is filled with the scent of the sea.

But when it comes to local delicacies that are hard to find outside the province, one that resembles potato chips is the Yu Qian (fish sheet) - a favorite childhood snack among locals.

The Yu Qian I bought

This fish sheet, which looks like buckwheat, is called Yu Qian. It is said that the Yu Qian from Chongwu Town originated in the Ming Dynasty as a way to store fish for a longer period of time.

This authentic fishing village dish is made by grinding fish into a paste, then adding sweet potato starch, egg whites, and other ingredients. The mixture is stirred, steamed, sliced, and dried in the sun to make fish sheets.

The most classic way to eat it is to deep-fry it. It only takes a dozen seconds to turn it into a crispy fish sheet. When you bite into it, it produces a “crunch” sound, and the fresh taste spreads through your taste buds, far surpassing any imported shrimp chips!

Deep-fried shrimp chips | Image from the internet

Moreover, it reminds me of the shrimp chips (also known as “yupian”) from my hometown, Qingdao, bringing back waves of childhood memories.

A Little Bonus at the End

Apart from the above, there are also Wuhan bean jelly, Quanzhou fish sheets, Qingdao draft beer, and more.

If you are like me, a person who loves to buy local specialties, don’t forget to check out the series on city specialties below~

I am Li Man You, a deep traveler who focuses on healthy dining and exploration, showing you another possibility in life!

Featured Beverage: Eurasian Milk

In Yunnan, it is quite obvious. Especially when studying outside the province, many things are assumed to be available nationwide, but it turns out that others have never heard of them, so they only know that they are popular in Yunnan.

Zi Di Potato Chips

Eat potatoes and become more handsome. Only Yunnan people know what “zi di” means, which means handsome. Eating potato chips makes you more handsome.

When I was in junior high school, it cost one yuan per pack, and I often used my lunch money to buy potato chips. And I couldn’t stop eating them. When I went to university, I went to the supermarket to buy potato chips. I couldn’t find “zi di” chips in many supermarkets. I asked and found out that others didn’t know this brand.

But in Yunnan supermarkets, “zi di” potato chips have always occupied a prominent position in the potato chips section. Most of the ones you see are “zi di” chips, and Yunnan people like to buy “zi di”. The taste of “zi di” potato chips is even better. Most “zi di” potato chips are packaged in bags, and bagged ones taste better than canned ones.

On the bag, the main ingredient is listed as potatoes, while on the can, it is listed as potato snow powder. Bagged chips with potatoes as the main ingredient are actually called “original cut” potato chips. They are made by directly cutting fresh potatoes into thin slices and frying them.

Shan Zhan Water Dip

Every time I returned home from school, I had to bring Shan Zhan Water Dip. I was considered okay because I only brought a big pack. I heard that a girl from my hometown brought 30 small packs of Shan Zhan Water Dip and finished them in less than half a semester.

Shan Zhan Water Dip can be said to be a versatile dipping sauce in Yunnan. Whether it’s cooked or raw, vegetables or fruits, they all taste great when dipped in Shan Zhan Water Dip.

Shan Zhan Water Dip is a unique condiment on Yunnan people’s dining tables, mainly made from chili, pepper, and Sichuan pepper. The Shan Zhan series products are characteristic flavorings from the Yungui Plateau, with a spicy and fresh taste, unique flavor, natural origin, superior ingredients, and no chemical additives. Suitable for home cooking and restaurant delicacies! This product is made from high-quality pepper from Baoshan, Yunnan, chili pepper from Guizhou, Sichuan pepper, and more than ten other precious seasonings. It has a refreshing and appetizing taste, warms the body, improves appetite, and invigorates the spleen.

A major characteristic of Yunnan cuisine is that no matter what dishes you have, you can “dip water” in them, which is similar to the small condiments in the north. For example, fire-roasted stinky tofu, boiled bitter vegetables, boiled old pumpkin, etc. Put a bowl of dipping water on the table, and life is lived to the fullest.

Eurasian Milk

At first, I thought Eurasian Milk was available everywhere. However, when I went to supermarkets in other provinces, I couldn’t find Eurasian Milk. It was mainly Yili milk. I have been drinking Eurasian Milk since I was a child, and I have become accustomed to it. I am not very interested in Yili milk.

On the Dalinian Scenic Pasture at the foot of the Cangshan Mountains above an altitude of 2,000 meters, far away from urban pollution and unaffected by haze, dust, and harsh weather conditions of cold winters and hot summers, the Holstein cows and Juan cows living in the Dalinian Scenic Pasture can always eat natural silage, high-quality alfalfa, and black oats all year round, thanks to the climate like spring and the perennial flowing Cangshan spring water.

Chengji DouTiao: Soft and Chewy, the Best for Stewing Fish and Cooking Hot Pot

Here, I must mention the local specialty of my college roommate’s hometown, Chengji DouTiao from Susong County, Anhui Province.

Different from the DouPao frequently eaten in Hangzhou, Chengji DouTiao has a chewier texture and can be cooked for a long time without becoming mushy. The DouTiao is filled with tiny pores, making it perfect for stewing fish and cooking hot pot. When the DouTiao absorbs the soup, it bursts with a mouthful of freshness when bitten into.

I had the chance to taste it a few times when cooking hot pot in the dorm room during college, but I haven’t had it since then. Currently, it is the top-ranked bean product in my heart!

Wudalianchi: Heilongjiang’s Cold Mineral Springs

Wudalianchi mineral water is difficult to find outside of the province. I couldn’t find it when I was in Shanghai. It is produced in the Wudalianchi Scenic Area, Heihe City, Heilongjiang Province, which is one of the world’s three major cold mineral springs. It has an excellent icy and refreshing taste.

Instant Noodle Brands and Features

Beijing Instant Noodles, Nanjie Village Instant Noodles, Tianfang Crispy Rice, Dayu Bamboo Instant Noodles

Although it’s called Beijing Instant Noodles, it’s actually produced in Henan, and almost every person from Henan has eaten it in their childhood.

Speaking of Nanjie Village, it’s a rather magical village. This village is actually communist. They provide housing contracts, cover the school fees for children, and even reimburse the medical expenses for going to another place for treatment. I really want to ask the village leader what conditions are needed to move my household registration to their village…

Sorry, I’ve gone off topic. Here are a few links for everyone to check out! Personally, I don’t think they taste particularly great, maybe it’s just a nostalgia filter from childhood. If you haven’t tried them before, you can buy a small amount and give it a try. Who knows, it might suit your taste?

Food Names

Rice Sausage

Noodle Lung

Grilled Baozi

Twisted Pieces

Nang Pastry

Hand-pulled Noodles

Spicy Skin

Fake Kidney

Special Food: Corn Noodle Balls and Jar Tea

Corn noodle balls and jar tea are the special food here. People from other places may have never even heard of them.

Corn noodle balls are made by cooking fine corn noodles in a suitable amount of boiling water and continuously stirring until thick and sticky. Halfway through, add boiling water again. Remember to use boiling water, otherwise the noodles will not be chewy. And keep stirring without letting it stick to the bottom of the pot. When the dough can cling to the spatula, it’s almost ready to be served. Then, prepare a special local food called “jiangshui cai” (a type of pickled vegetables made from wild rapeseed, cabbage, etc.), stir-fry it to make a soup. While it’s hot, cut the cooked noodle balls into small pieces and put them into the soup. Serve with stir-fried green pepper strips, cold shredded radish, stir-fried leek, and other side dishes. It’s soft, sticky, fragrant, sour, spicy, and appetizing.

Jar tea is quite famous here. It is made by boiling tea leaves, pogostemon cablin stems, ginger, etc., in water to extract the flavor. Then, mix it with flour to make a thin paste. After being served, add pickled jujube kernels, fried dough sticks, scrambled eggs, etc. Enjoy it with grilled flatbread and steamed twisted rolls. Because of the variety of ingredients, the taste is rich and fragrant. It is a breakfast that we locals eat almost every day.

The History and Characteristics of Yunnan’s Fresh Flower Cake

Take Yunnan’s Fresh Flower Cake, for example.

The production of Fresh Flower Cake dates back to the Qing Dynasty over 300 years ago. Made from high-quality rose flowers, Fresh Flower Cake is widely known for its refreshing floral fragrance, not overly sweet taste, and its skin-beautifying properties. It has spread from Kunming in the southwest to Tianjin in the north.

Due to its unique flavor, Fresh Flower Cake became a favorite imperial snack and was highly favored by Emperor Qianlong. The modern Yunnan-style Fresh Flower Cake originated from the Kunming Guanshengyuan company in 1945. At that time, Guanshengyuan specially allocated an area in Xiba, Kunming for cultivating edible flowers to produce Fresh Flower Cake and rose sugar.

However, it is not as popular in other provinces.

Local Specialties

One time, during a casual conversation with a friend,

I always thought that Lanzhou beef noodles, being prepackaged, were sold in large quantities to places other than Gansu. But to my surprise, my awesome friend specifically targets the Lanzhou locals.

Indeed, he has become successful in that regard.

When it comes to food, local specialties are always primarily consumed by the local people.

Once you leave the province, it’s all about trying something new.