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Copyright 2001-7 by Sue Brown & Dr.
Off the Wall
or, Why Buddha
Jumped the Wall
Adapted from "Fujian
Adventure", Magic Fujian, etc.
Fuzhou Links History
Nantai Island (Foreign Devils, Chinese Ghosts)
exploring Fuzhou and shopping for Shoushan stone
carvings, cork and wood carvings, and bodiless lacquerware, I feed both
body and soul with Fuzhou¡¯s famous foods.
cuisine used to rank low on the list of China¡¯s eight major cuisines until
a chef from Fuzhou¡¯s famous Juchunyuan Hotel wowed Beijing culinary judges
with three of his dishes. Ever since, people have flocked to Fuzhou
to feast on Gaotang Haibang (Changle clams), Qishi She (a delicacy named
after the tongue of an ancient beautiful maid!), and Hongzao Jirou (a
chicken dish). And the Juchunyuan Hotel, at the East Gate above the KFC,
still has the best Buddha Leaps the Wall!
Leaps the Wall is by far Fuzhou¡¯s
most famous dish. Ages ago, a fellow decided to keep various meats
and vegetables from spoiling by stewing them for over a day. Locals say
that once upon a time, a monk was so entranced by the stew¡¯s aroma that,
even though he was a vegetarian, he leaped a wall to get a bowlful.
I told Professor Chen De Ren, ¡°Supermarkets sell ¡®Buddha Leaps the Wall¡¯
kits for only 25 Yuan.¡±
¡°Impossible!¡± he cried. ¡°It is not the real thing! Buddha Leaps the Wall
must be made in large batches, for ten or more people. Over 30 choice
ingredients are stewed in an aged liquor, and it costs at least 1000 Yuan
a pot!¡± Right.
Jumps the Wall is by far my favorite Fuzhou
dish, but I¡¯m not jumping any walls until the price comes down or someone
else foots the bill. I¡¯ll stick with places like Nantai Lou, which offer
authentic and relatively inexpensive Fuzhou
style fast food.
Located on the second floor at the corner of August 17th Street and Jintai
Rd., Nantai Lou is always crowded (though it appears the elderly have
a greater appreciation for traditional foods than do the youth, who increasingly
flock to Western fast food chains and coffee bars).
I like Fuzhou¡¯s
famous fish balls, which vary in taste,
texture and elasticity depending on the ratio of meat to flour and the
amount of shrimp. I also enjoy Fuzhou sesame
breads, which are round, flat, and have small holes in the middle. Soldiers
fighting off Japanese pirates wore the sesame
breads on strings around their neck so they could eat on the go. The sweet
variety is called Jiandong bing, and the unsweetened is guangbing (named
after the heroic general, QiQi Guang).
Pork is quite a treat! Of course, like most Fujian
people, Fuzhou folk argue they have the
best pounded pork in the province, if not China. But Fuzhou¡¯s
pounded pork is 100% pig, no flour. One pork pounder was a big-armed fellow
least, his hammer arm was big) who pounded away with a wooden mallet for
well over half an hour without a break. He pounded the pork until it was
so thin and white that I mistook it for the paper they wrap take-out in.
Locals swear that the best Fuzhou snacks are
to be had at the award winning shop that used to stand across the street
to the south of the tottering black pagoda. The same family has run the
business for 3 or 4 generations, and I can¡¯t even begin to describe the
offerings. Try them! But first you¡¯ll have to find them. They¡¯ve moved
somewhere just down the same street.
East is Red Hot When Mao said ¡°The East is Red,¡± he probably
meant red peppers. He put hot peppers in everything, including his bread.
His favorite dish was the fiery ¡°Twice cooked pork¡± (which sounds to me
like a chic name for leftovers).
For a revolutionary cuisine experience,
try Fuzhou¡¯s ¡°The East is Red Restaurant.¡± They
offer Mao memorabilia and spicy cuisine from the Great Helmsman¡¯s home
West Lake hotel, Fujian¡¯s
finest, overlooks the 1800-year-old manmade West Lake, and has some of
the nicest Western food in Fuzhou, though the
dividing line between Chinese and Western
can get blurred. For their German Octoberfest buffet, they served trays
of fish heads and fish tails, and barbequed whole baby octopus displayed
between the French croissants and apple fritters. I do enjoy a nice barbecued
baby octopus, with chewy tentacles and suction cups intact, but not for
History (birthplace of Chinese Maritime Industry)
Island (famous "China
Pagoda," Sino-French Battle, etc.)
Haunted Nantai Island Tour (Includes old Consulates, Rotary
Club, haunted churches...)
of Fuzhou: 3 Wards & 7 Streets, Li Family House, Banyan City,
Yushan Hill and White Pagoda, Clay People, etc.
Valley of Yongtai (Fujian's Best Kept Secret)
Cuisine (Buddha Jumps the Wall Soup, Pounded Pork, Fish Balls)
was also spelled Foochow, Fuh-chau, Fuhchau, etc.
Fujian Sites Fujian
Foto Album Xiamen
by Scott Ballantyne
Last Updated: May 2007
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