Food and Drink

Flavored broad bean

Flavored broad bean is a kind of traditional food of Shaoxing. It usually serves as snack or over wine. Thanks to the description in Zhou Shuren’s novel, it become famous and many visitors are eager to buy it. For purchase convenience, flavored broad bean’s package is improved, so it introduces a large market in Shaoxing. Now it is sold in each scenic spot’s shops.

Dark dried vegetables

Shaoxing dried vegetables is most frequently bought goods of visitors in Shaoxing, especially Shanghai visitors. Except for those made in Xinchang County, which are mainly made of long leg Chinese cabbage, most dark dried vegetables are made of brassica campestris or Chinese mustard. The dark dried vegetables made in Xinchang and Shaoxing differ in their names, for usually the former is called by local people vegetable dried, while the latter dried vegetable. To know its material has to ask expert. For qualities of dark dried vegetable sold in market, they also differs, so ordinary people have difficulty in appraisal. Many persons would taste it before buying. Generally, if it tastes fresh without sand, and the shop is large and has modest transaction volume, it must be good in quality.

Dark dried vegetable has unique sweet smell, and the smell can strongly penetrate. So if someone board plane with it, it will send forth strong smell in the whole passenger cabin. So it should be separately kept in a bag without any other things, especially garment, or the garment will also have such strong smell. The package of dark dried vegetable should be well sealed in plane cabin.

Shaoxing Vintage Wine

Shaoxing Wine is famous special local product of Shaoxing, and it has a long history of production. According to records, during Spring and Autumn period and Warring States period, wine making was very common Shaoxing. In Lushi Chunqui, there is a story about Goujian, the King of Yue Kingdom, who poured a bottle of wine into river for sharing it with all his troops. Now in Shaoxing City remains the site of Goujian’s wine pouring. In South Dynasty and North Dynasty, Shaoxing Wine was sent as tribute for royalty. In Yue Kingdom period of Five Dynasties, Shaoxing’s wine industry was further developed, and win tax was one of major national taxes. Qian Liu, a king of Yue Kingdom, set wine administration for it, which is the origin of Jiuwu Bridge (bridge of wine administration) in the City. During South Song Dynasty, the capital was moved to south part of Yangtze River, and Shaoxing Wine industry developed rapidly, subsequently wine shops were everywhere in the City. The peak time for Shaoxing Wine came in late years of Guangxu in Qing Dynasty with yearly output as many as 60900 tons, and the amount for over 3 years of storage reached 36000 tones. During period of Republic of China, due to the war, Shaoxing Wine suffered unstable production amount, only 2500 tones produced in 1945.

In history, there were two wine making centers in Shaoixng. One is the area of Dongfu, Keqiao, Ruandu in northwest part of Shaoxing. Xiangxue Wine (Sweet Snow Wine), made in Meishi of Keqiao, is very famous, while Dongfu is reputed as “land of wine fragrance”. Another center is Shaoxing downtown, a market and also a transport hub, which transports large amount of wine for export. In Ming and Qing Dynasty, there existed numerous wine shops in the downtown area, among which Gao Changxing Wine Shop and Shen Yonghe Wine Shop were well known by people.  

After foundation of PRC, Shaoxing’s wine industry develops into a large scale with modern manufacturing. The 3 state-owned wine factories affiliated to Shaoxing Wine Making Company (Shaoxing Wine Factory, Shen Yonghe Wine Factory, Dongfeng Factory) increased by a average rate of 7.5% every year in recent 9 years. Now the Company’s annual production capacity achieves 40000 tons as the largest national producer of yellow wine. It export 7000 tons of wine every year, taking up 95% of national yellow wine export. Each year the Company earns foreign exchange as much as 8 million USD for the country. Its product is sold over 30 countries or regions including US, France, Japan, Southeast Asia, Hongkong and Macao. Wine factories in towns and rural areas also grow rapidly, and the factory number achieved 52 in 1986 with annual production of 14400 tons.

Shaoxing Wine is mainly made of quality white sticky rice, assisted with yeast made of quality yellow skin wheat. Its excellent quality is bestowed by water of Jianhu Lake. Due to unique geology, terrain and soil, Jianhu Lake’s water is very suitable for making yellow wine. According to long time study on Jianhu Lake executed by related R&D institutes, it’s concluded that water system of Jianhu Lake has a favorable environment. Jianhu Lake’s source is on north side of Guijishan Mountain, where is rich in forest, bamboo and excellent vegetation. So the water has low degree of mineralization, which produces clear water with various trace minerals , good for wine brewing. Additionally, Jianhu Lake is replenished with abundant water and every 7 days the water in lake is totally renewed. Such a favorable conditions are rarely seen among fresh lakes across the country. On the other hand, the peat layer along Jianhu Lake and beneath the water can absorb metal ion, as well as absorb and filter other hazardous substances, making the lake water extremely pure all year round.   

Shaoxing Wine has long been well known, and was listed as one of 10 most famous products in Qing Dynasty. It received various titles or metals in Nanyang Commodity Exposition (1910), Panama –Pacific International Exposition (San Francisco, 1915), Zhejiang and Jiangxi Specialties Exhibition (1916). In 1952 and 1963, Shaoxing Jiafu Wine was named as one of Eight National Famous Wines and Eighteen National Famous Wines respectively.

Chinese mustard made in Shaoxing

In early spring, Shaoxing people pick fresh Chinese mustard and pickle it through repeated the process of cleaning, airing, pickling, airing again and storage. When it’s done, people can enjoy it anytime. Pickled Chinese mustard has unique smell and taste, and served as appetizer for every household in Shaoxing.

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