May 31, 2024 4 min read

Top 5 dishes to try in Yidu, China

China has so many amazing dishes to choose from but here are my favourite 5 from Yidu.

Hotpot / Huo Guo

Spicy Beef hotpot with potatoes, lotus, bean sprouts and Chinese lettuce
Spicy Beef hotpot with potatoes, lotus, bean sprouts and Chinese lettuce

There are different styles of hotpot but what makes the difference is the soup base. As a chili flake myself, my go to soup base is a spicy soup. There are milder options, for example, tomato soup, mushroom soup, sour fish soup, pork belly and chicken soup.

Wait for the soup to boil, then add what you want to the pot. Depending on what kind of food you put in, a delicious meal would be ready within seconds or minutes.

Thin sliced lamb or beef only takes 30 seconds to boil, tripe even faster, 15 seconds it's done. Vegetables sliced into a larger piece will take slightly longer to cook, but more or less within 3-5 minutes. One of my favourite dishes is duck's blood, you can check if it's fully cooked by breaking it up to see if the inside has changed colour, if it has, then its ready to eat.

I also like flower sausages, which are sliced on one end, when boiled it will open like a flower. These sausages are a mix of crispy skin and tender meat inside. You couldn't ask for anything better. Hotpot isn't just meat, we put various vegetables in hotpot too! Potatoes, winter melon, seaweed, beansprouts, mushrooms, all sorts of tofu, noodles too.

My favourite is frozen tofu. After the tofu is frozen, there will be lots of holes formed inside the tofu cubes. These holes are good at sucking the soup up and the flavour. My advice is do not eat it whole, it might burn the roof of your mouth.

Cold noodles/ Liang Mian

Cold noodles
Cold noodles

In summer, some places in China can be very hot and sweaty, 40 degrees throughout a week. If you cannot cope with the heat like me, cold noodles is your best choice for breakfast. Hint in the name, these noodles are served cold.

It's not just plain noodles, its well seasoned with different kinds of sauce, tahini, vinegar, soy sauce, chili oil, garlic water and usually spring onion sprinkled on top. Most of the restaurants will provide a selection of pickles, such as parsnip, soya beans, sea weed and cow pea. They are free, isn't that lovely. Add what you fancy to your cold noodles and make it your own styles.

Lan Zhou noodles/ Dao Xiao Mian and La Mian

You might think all Chinese people eat rice everyday as a staple food. Actually, that's not the case. People in north west China for example prefer flour/noodles as their staple food. Luckily for Yidu, there are a few restaurants from north west China, the most common ones are from Lan Zhou, where hand made noodles are famous.

One of the most popular noodles is Dao Xiao Mian/ shaved noodles. The chef will shave the noodles from a dough quickly with a sharp knife and boil them fresh. Dao Xiao Mian is as wide as your fingers, the special width gives it a firmer texture than the others thus making it my favourite.

The other famous one is hand pulled noodles. Instead of using a knife to shave, the chef will stretch a dough with both hands. The chef's hands will open and close a few times, and like magic the dough will become a batch of thin noodles. Caution, these noodles are very long, your whole bowl of noodles will probably be one single continuous noodle.

Don't feel embarrassed to break it up with your teeth, other wise you might be here all day. Both hand made noodles are better eaten with chopsticks, so its never to late to practice your chopsticks skills, they might be handy one day. You can add beef, lamb or stir fried vegetables to your noodles to give it extra flavour.

Roasted fish/ Kao Yu

Roasted fish/ Kao Yu
Roasted fish/ Kao Yu

Being the pearl of 2 rivers, Yangtze and Qing Jiang River makes Yidu rich in fish. Qing Jiang river is famous for its fresh and tasty fish. Our people love fish and have special ways of cooking them. One of the popular ways of cooking fish in a street style by roasting the fish.

Where you cook the fish in a big flat metal pan, along with various vegetables, lotus, potatoes, bean sprouts, bandage tofu (thin sheets of dried tofu), with the local favourite spicy seasoning sauce.

You can enjoy cooking the fish while you eat, the middle of the pan is the hottest and cooks fastest, push vegetables into the middle if you don't want to wait longer. People often eat roasted fish with rice. Roasted fish is so tasty and will make you addicted to its mouth watering taste.

Crayfish/ Xiao Long Xia

Crayfish/ Xiao Long Xia
Crayfish/ Xiao Long Xia

Summer time is a real heaven for foodies. It's crayfish season! Crayfish is one of the most loved street foods in China. Restaurants begin to cook them in early April but they are not very big in size. After a few months these little critters grow much bigger and summer is the time to eat them.

There are different styles of crayfish. Garlic crayfish, braised crayfish, steamed crayfish, stir fried crayfish, try it all in the crayfish season and decide which one is your favourite. You will be provided with gloves as you need to snap the head and eat the meat in the body.

Some big crayfish also have considerable amount of meat hidden in their claws, which is always worth digging for. In a hot summer night, is there better thing to do than eat mouth watering crayfish plus a pint of beer?

Want to hear more about delicious Chinese food in Yidu, follow us at Happly Li Travel.

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