Xi'an cuisine a staple of traditional Chinese food

发布时间:2021-07-23 09:35:47 | 来源:China Daily | 作者: | 责任编辑:闫景臻

Xi'an cuisine a staple of traditional Chinese food - China - Chinadaily.com.cn

Renowned as a food paradise in China, the ancient city of Xi'an in Shaanxi province is aiming to inherit Chinese catering culture and promote Shaanxi cuisine to the outside world, according to local officials.

Shaanxi cuisine, also called Qin cuisine, is one of the oldest cooking styles in China, dating back to the Yangshao culture period about 5,000 years ago.

It includes a variety of food from the Guanzhong Plain, southern Shaanxi and the Shanbei area of the province.

Shaanxi cuisine has incorporated and blended culinary traditions, talented people and cooking techniques from around the world due to the province's key role as a cradle of the culture and history throughout the Zhou (c.11th century-256 BC), Qin (221-206 BC), Han (206 BC-220) and Tang (618-907) dynasties.

Statistics show that some 800 kinds of Shaanxi cuisines and 1,000 different varieties of noodles and local snacks exist.

Shaanxi capital Xi'an, or Chang'an in ancient times, is an important birthplace of Chinese civilization, with more than 3,100 years of history. The food culture here started from the Zhou and Qin dynasties and flourished in the Tang Dynasty.

More than 2,000 years ago, Zhang Qian, the imperial envoy of China's Han Dynasty, traveled west and extended the ancient Silk Road to Central Asia.

That visit was reciprocated several hundred years later by Kyrgyz envoys trudging all the way to Chang'an, the capital of the Tang Dynasty.

On their return trip, they brought back not only exquisite silk and porcelain but also a newfound friendship and the fruits of exchanges on catering culture such as ingredients, tableware, cooking methods and customs with countries along the route.

Chang'an became one of the largest trading centers around the world during the Tang Dynasty, which brought about diverse cultures including religions, languages and food.

The inclusiveness and openness in society created an open environment for the inclusion of the foreign catering cultures.

Today, many local foods in Xi'an have a historical root with foreign cultures.

For example, the steamed bread used in yangrou paomo, mutton (or beef) soup with pancake pieces on top and rice noodles at the bottom, is called tuotuomo in local dialect, which is from the word "thuoerm" in Persian. And the name mashi, for fragment of noodles in soup with vegetables and meat, is also Persian.

Situated north to the Qinling Mountains and in the middle of the Weihe Basin, Xi'an is one of the earliest areas of farming civilization in China.

The city has advanced irrigation systems and advantageous agricultural production conditions featuring a variety of plants, livestock and forestry.

Nowadays, Xi'an food is becoming even more popular with young people thanks to the promotion on online media platforms such as Douyin, the popular Chinese short video app known as TikTok overseas, Toutiao, an online news portal, Sina Weibo and WeChat. For instance, the promotional videos Xi'an, City for Food and New Era, New Trend and New Consumption made by the Xi'an bureau of commerce on Douyin have caught much attention worldwide. More than 130 million people participated in the Xi'an food topic on Douyin.

Lyu Hengjun, head of the Xi'an bureau of commerce, said the city will also open more restaurants and build characteristic food streets around large communities.

As the end of 2018, there were more than 90 characteristic restaurant blocks and commercial complexes for catering in Xi'an.

In the first half of this year, the total retail sales of consumer goods in Xi'an recorded some 231 billion yuan ($32.3 billion), up 5.9 percent year-on-year.

The food and beverage income achieved some 5.33 billion yuan, up 8.2 percent year-on-year.

In recent years, Xi'an has deepened the supply-side structural reform and enhanced new retail businesses including the fresh food e-commerce experience store Hema Fresh of Alibaba Group, Super Species, a fresh food store established by Chinese supermarket operator Yonghui and Su Fresh of Suning, a Chinese e-commerce giant.

The number of Xi'an's stores in the food and beverage industry has reached 47,000, with more than 300,000 staff and 100,000 food technicians.

This year, Xi'an has held various food activities including a coffee trading expo, a Chinese cuisine art festival and Shaanxi cuisine international food culture festival, a development summit for Chinese cuisine and the Shaanxi cuisine Silk Road international development forum.

"The food culture in Xi'an is the fruit of the wisdom of our ancestors throughout history. It bears unique etiquette and philosophical and cultural traditions," said Wang Zhi, deputy head at the conservation center of intangible cultural heritage in Xi'an.