Author: Zoe Yang and Iris Zhao

Yangzhou Dazhu Gansi (Simmered Tofu Noodles, 大煮干丝) | Zoe Yang

A Jiangnan test of skill~~ There is no dish more exemplary of Jiangnan cuisine than the Yangzhou classic 大煮干丝 (dàzhǔ gānsī), simmered tofu noodles. Every ingredient is an homage to the Yangtze River Delta—duck gizzards, miniature river shrimp, slivers of chicken and rich Jinhua ham, baby greens, fresh mushrooms and, of course, the tofu itself. I didn’t know all this on the first day of cooking school in Nanjing, 12 years ago, when I came to class dutifully toting the above ingredients. In fact, the other reason—perhaps the main reason—my...

DIY Mala Hotpot Scented Candle | Zoe Yang

For the Hotpot Lovers in Your Life~~ I have never been a candle person. I truly don’t know who all these people are who happily pay $35, $80, $200 for something that goes up in flames (I write, happily paying $25, $80, $200 and more for oh-so ephemeral edible pleasures. Go figure). But that was before I came across the most perfect—PERFECT—item: the hotpot-scented candle. News: Contests & Events Malaysia Behold! How it looks just like 火锅底 (huǒguō dǐ)/hotpot base, with the chili oil layer on the bottom and the...

Dongpo Pork

Ode to Dongpo Pork (东坡肉) | Zoe Yang

A Poet’s Ode to Pork and Hongshaorou~~ Dongpo pork (东坡肉, dōngpōròu): pork belly cubes braised in soy sauce with ginger, scallions and other aromatics. If this is sounding a lot like red-braised pork (红烧肉, hóngshāoròu), don’t worry, it’s not just you. The number of Baidu search results for “difference between dongporou and hongshaorou” suggests that even Chinese people aren’t clear on the nuances. Here’s how I think about it: hongshaorou is your generic, workhorse pork braise. It can accommodate different cuts of pork; it can veer sweet, savory or spicy,...

Shaoxing Drunken Chicken

Shaoxing Drunken Chicken (Zuiji, 醉鸡) | Zoe Yang

A Classic Jiangnan Cold Dish~~ It’s a rare occasion that I get to write a Jiangnan recipe with zero familial baggage. Blame the Methodists who converted my family into teetotalers sometime in the late 1800s, but when I called my mother to ask about Drunken Chicken, she asked, “Is it made with 酒糟 (jiǔzāo)?” Close, but no. Drunken Chicken (醉鸡, zuìjī), a stalwart of the Chinese poached chicken oeuvre, is made by marinating cooked chicken in 黄酒 (huángjiǔ), yellow wine—most famously the huangjiu from Shaoxing, Zhejiang Province. Jiuzao refers to...

Changzhou’s Small Foot Zongzi (Xiaojiao Zongzi, 小脚粽子)

Duanwu Jie with a Taste of Jiangnan~~ This Duanwu Jie, we are introducing two special zongzi stories: Changzhou’s small foot zongzi and Sichuan’s savory zongzi. You may sense a theme in our blog with this entry, because after starting it as a mother-daughter effort in 2014, we brought on Kathy Yuan and Mala Mama to contribute their family recipes from Sichuan in 2021 and are now welcoming Zoe Yang and her mom, Iris Zhao, to share their stories and recipes from Jiangnan—the area south of the Yangtze River, including Shanghai...

Danjiao (蛋饺) Egg Dumplings ft. Pork and Ramps

Taste of Jiangnan: Egg-Skin Dumplings~~ 蛋饺 (dànjiǎo), or egg dumplings, have long been a mainstay of Chinese New Year banquets across the southeastern regions of China. Elders will tell you it’s because danjiao look like lucky gold ingots/”sycees”(金元宝, jīn yuánbǎo). I think the practical reason is that they demand so much attention and time! See, to make danjiao, you basically have to make a tiny omelet in a ladle, lay a tiny quenelle of pork filling in the middle, and then oh-so-gently fold one edge of the omelet over the...