Flavor of the spring
Updated: 2015-04-22


A food festival highlighting traditional local flavor is held at the central square of Yuyuan Tourist Mart. [Wu Ni for chinadaily.com.cn]

Spring heralds a culinary feast of fresh produce and it is the best time to freshen your palate with some genuine local flavor that the season has offered.

A food festival themed "old town, unforgettable flavor" is being held at the central square of Yuyuan Tourist Mart, a garden in downtown Shanghai that features landscape architecture of the Ming and Qing dynasty (1368-1911).


A dazzling variety of local snacks are offered at the food festival. [Wu Ni for chinadaily.com.cn]

More than 140 kinds of traditional snacks and dim sums popular in Shanghai and the southern Yangtze River region are presented at this food festival. Some food makers even bring with their cooking tools to display how the dishes are made.

The most typical seasonal dim sum is the Xiasha bamboo shoots shaomai, or steamed dumplings, which features glutinous rice and a filling of minced pork, pigskin jelly and tender tips of bamboo shoots. It is important to eat it just after taking it out of the steamer when the temperature is right, when your taste buds are most sensitive to the freshness and delicacy of bamboo shoots. After May, gourmets will have to wait for another year for the taste.

Spring’s miniature vegetables like cao tou, a clover-like trifoliate herb and malan tou, a wild chamomile, are widely used to make snacks, such as cao tou cake and malan tou pumpkin cake. And there is the malan tou zongzi, or rice dumplings wrapped in leaves, stuffed with pork, minced malan tou and sticky rice.


A man shows how to grind soybean milk with a stone mill. [Wu Ni for chinadaily.com.cn]

Another local snack, qingtuan, or green rice balls, are typical food during the Qingming Festival. They are made with rice and grass juice of fresh Artemisia, with fillings of red bean paste, Chinese red date paste, or meat, if you’d like something salty.

Apart from the seasonal food, the festival offers a variety of traditional snacks, including Nanxiang xiao long bao, the steamed buns featuring thin skin, tender meat and juicy filling, the shengjian, or pan-fried buns, and the xiekehuang, small buns with sesames outside and filled with fresh meat, white sugar and shallot inside.

Yuyuan Garden
269 Middle Fangbang Road, Huangpu district, Shanghai
Till April 26

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