Whether you are traveling in the north or in the south of China,
one delicacy you are almost sure to find on the menu is the
dumpling. A universal favorite, the Chinese dumpling has a long
history and is an essential part of celebratory meals such as
those prepared for the Chinese Spring Festival. The dumpling can
be anything from a quick snack to a delicacy with which to
entertain family and friends or the basis of a veritable feast.
A well-known story tells how that long ago during the Eastern
Han Dynasty (25-220 AD) a doctor named Zhang Zhongjing traveled
back to his hometown in the county of Nanyang. He found the
people were suffering from an outbreak of typhoid and dying from
hunger and cold. The weather was so cold that many had
frostbitten ears. The kindly doctor set about concocting a
mixture of mutton, cayenne and a special medicine that he
wrapped in a piece of ear-shaped dough. These dumplings he
created were fed to the starving people, and by New Year's Eve,
not only were they saved from the typhoid epidemic but also
their frost bitten ears had healed. The doctor's fame became
legendary and thus the dumpling became a popular addition to the
Xian, an ancient city that has been the nation's capital during
no less than eleven dynasties spanning more than a thousand
years, is regarded as the home if not the birthplace of the
dumpling tradition. It was here that the art of creating the
most tasty and delicate of dumplings was refined and no visit to
the city is complete unless you partake of a dumpling banquet.
This is an experience almost especially aimed at the dumpling
connoisseur. The flavors, shapes and colors will tempt the
palette, while the elegant names and stories attached to each
variety of dumpling are truly amazing. It is no less amazing
that a simple way of preparing food has become so very popular
and sophisticated that it is now considered to be as much a work
of art as a tasty morsel.
While in Xian, here are some dumpling restaurants you should
give a try.
and see the famous Terra Cotta Warriors.