It is no exaggeration to say that Chinese people live on their taste buds. Wherever they go, they carry the taste of their home food with them. People from Sichuan Province are always looking for something spicy; those from Shaanxi keep an eye out for noodles.
Urbanization in China led to the demolition of many old residences. The concept of a "physical" home town has become ambiguous than ever before. But the way how people eat has not changed.
A recent report by China National Radio is an example. A man in Fujian Province discovered by chance his fondness for spicy food, but none of his family had any such preference. Out of curiosity he registered on a website looking for abducted children.
It turned out that he was kidnapped from Sichuan Province when he was 6.
The bond between relations also weakened. People from the same clan rarely stay together now as they did for thousands of years. They recognize each other by dialects and tastes.
In a way, Chinese people eat to express their identities and their nostalgic feelings for homes that could only be traced from local delights.
The best way to comfort a person drifting away from home may be to take him/her to an authentic restaurant serving hometown delicacies.
In Hangzhou, such restaurants have emerged in recent years that aim to promote local food culture. We take a look at some of them.
Shan Jia Qing Zuo(Deqing County delicacies)
Shan Jia Qing Zuo is essentially a noodle shop. The types of noodles they serve is believed to have originated from Xinshi Town, Deqing County, 30 kilometers northeast of Hangzhou. It is a watertown on the Grand Canal with a history of more than 1,700 years.
Local people love to take a square-shaped rice cake when they have their morning tea. That's why it is named chagao (茶糕), or tea cake.
But there is no tea in the cake. It is made from glutinous rice flour mixed with rice flour in a ratio of 7:3. The restaurant offers two kinds of stuffing, pork or red bean paste.
The red bean paste seems to be home made and does not have the artificial sweetened flavor like in other desserts.
The main dish is the duck meet noodles. The plain noodles sprinkled with spring onions are served separately from the duck soup.
The soup is actually a duck combo, which includes a duck leg tied with the duck's feet, duck's gizzard and other flavor-adding vegetables like white gourd, dried bamboo shoots and goji berries.
"We don't use any artificial flavor enhancer," the owner of the shop said.
One more thing you can't miss in the soup is qianzhangbao — steamed spring rolls that are usually served in bundles of four. The dim sum was invented by people of Huzhou city, under which Deqing falls.
Other specialties such as the lamb noodles is only served from October when it gets cooler.
Address: 115 Xinhua Rd