Wokipedia is a regular magazine column in which we introduce aspects of Chinese gastronomy, one letter at a time. This month, 'G' gets the treatment.
… goji berries 枸杞
According to some sources goji berries have been cultivated for over 3000 years and are a mainstay of traditional Chinese medicine, added to tonic coups and herbal infusions. Nowadays, health food peddlers have cottoned on to their benefits (they are a good source of many vitamins and minerals including vitamin C and beta-carotene) and the humble goji has been labeled a “superfood”.
… grass jelly 仙草
This cooling (yin) dessert can be found all over southeast Asia, usually served with sugar syrup, evaporated milk or, following the inevitable march of progress, iced coffee. The jelly is made by boiling the stems of mesona chinensis (xiancao) with potassium carbonate and starch, before cooling to form a dark brown jelly. Not to be confused with guilinggao, a jelly-like Chinese medicinal product traditionally brewed from bitter herbs and the powered bottom shell of the golden coin turtle.
… ganguo 干锅
A popular cooking style in Hunan and Sichuan cuisine, ganguo literally means dry pot. Meat and fresh vegetables like celery and onion are tossed in a base including dried chili, Sichuan pepper and other fragrant spices, before being served at the table in a sizzling wok complete with mildly dangerous gas flame underneath. Popular ganguo preparations include rabbit head and bullfrog, the latter a specialty of restaurant chain Wawa Jiao.
… gongbao jiding 宫保鸡丁
Ah gongbao jiding (or Kung Pao chicken as many will know it), that defining dish of so many expat culinary experiences in China. Said to be named after late Qing dynasty official Ding Baozhen, whose official title was gongbao, the dish was declared politically incorrect and renamed during the Cultural Revolution, before its rehabilitation in the 1980s.
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