Cultural Express—Ten Wonders in Shaanxi

When you visit Xi’an,you will definitely bump into certain phenomenon that you could not miss–seeing people holding a huuuuuuuuuuge pancake and munching on it with some chili sauce put inside.

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The first time I saw people do that,I was stunned.O_o How could you possibly swallow such a gigantic…dry…hot pancake with drinking any water???!!!Maybe since I am originally from a place whose weather is always humid and whose people is always very gentle,like eating things tiny and delicate,I could not comprehend this so easily.

This pancake is generally called “锅盔” (guokwui) in Chinese,literally meaning a big pan cover.Well,I have to admit its vividness…However,how did it come that people are accustomed to eating such big food???

The ballad is the following: The cake’s diameter is more than two meters which is round and thick as pot cover.Shaanxi people call the cake pot cover which is crisp to take conveniently.

As for the second specialty, it has had a long history. It is said that when the Ch’in troops crusaged for the other six countries, the K.P. invented today’s cake as the solid food taken by soldiers was easy to go moldy.

Then, what is the cake’s shape? Its bigness is beyond people’s imagination. Its is round as thick as one inch, weights 2.5 kilograms with a several meters diameter. It is made of wheat flour kneaded by stick and roasted on the slow fire with a pot. With yellow appearance and white cut, it is delicious which can be storied for a long time and token conveniently. In Shaanxi, the pot used for pokering cake is not the common pannikin but the caldron used for cooking for more than ten persons. The caldron’s diameter is about 70=80 centimeters and the cover is ridgy so the cake is as big as the cover.

The workmanship of making cake is fine which is famous by the following characteristics: dry, crisp, white and savory in Fengxiang. The pot used for making cake must be the caldron made of pig iron and the flour must be the fine flour of the wheat produced newly and ferment the flour. Then through the following procedures: knead, throw, beat, twist, press and roll , the flour is kneaded equably. After doing that, the cook rolls the paste slowly into a cake with a rolling pole as big as a duck egg.

Then it is time to poker the cake which is the most important procedure because the level of the duration decides the cakes color and quality. When the man in the street makes the cake, the cake is a little raw or poked excessively as they don not control the duration. The material for firing is also dainty and the authentic cake needs the fine straw which makes me can not help thinking of a poem written by Caozhi in the time of walking seven steps: fry beans with bean stalks as fuel. Beans wept sadly in the work. From the same root we both grew. What’s the big hurry in the grill? Now I think it should be changed into this: poker cake with straw as fuel. Cake wept sadly in the pot. From the same root we both grew. What’s the big hurry in the grill? However, it is hard to feel the authentic wheat fragrance for most of people cook with coal or gas.

It is the cook with rich experience that poker the cake,. The techniques are the following: turning firstly, then turning over, scratching finally. Turing firstly is making the cake turn in the pot without stop; turning over is poking another side after completing one side; scratching finally is scratching the cake when the cake is pokered well . If there are white trace and sounds clearly, it shows the cake can be eaten or else not. When it is time to get the cake out, scattering some fresh sesame on the cake before it is got out from the pot. For the cake is crisp and delicious, it is no wonder that it obtains the good reputation of ten strange wonders of Shaanxi.

So,next time when you are here,do not forget to get yourself one of those gigantic pancake:P

(source from http://en.folkw.com/info_view.asp?id=126)

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