The allure of Sichuan cuisine is found across the province, from street vendors to banquet halls to 12-course tasting menus. It also lives in a village in the Sichuan countryside where tradition runs deep for one family.
CGTN’s Nathan King traveled there as part of his series, “Taste of Sichuan.”
Sichuan countryside celebrate enjoy traditional feastsThe allure of Sichuan cuisine is found across the province, from street vendors to banquet halls to 12-course tasting menus. It also lives in a village in the Sichuan countryside where tradition runs deep for one family. CGTN’s Nathan King traveled there as part of his series, “Taste of Sichuan.”
The hills and mountains of Sichuan are a beautiful place. It’s fabled that tea was planted for the first time in China. The land here continues to provide the bounty that makes the area so special.
Qui Zhongjun is now a a migrant worker based in Chengdu. He grew up here and knows all the land’s secrets, like where the wild ginger grows in the ground in huge clumps and where the Sichuan pepper trees flower.
One recent day was extra special: Qui’s family was celebrating his homecoming and the Year of the Rooster. The family has killed the pig that they have been fattening all year.
As is the custom, the whole village turns out for the occasion. Across rural China, the scene is a common one, especially around Lunar New Year.
“When I was a kid, I ran around everywhere in this mountain area. I have a deep feeling towards this mountain,” said Qui. “I feel very happy about my family reunion. I feel that I’m coming back to the old days when we killed a pig every year. Neighborhoods all got together, chatted with each other, talked about the funny things that we have been through.”
During the reunion, the whole family gets to work. Qui cuts and prepares a tenderloin for the coming feast. His sister prepares other dishes in the kitchen while their aunts keep the wood burning fire going, warming themselves at the same time.
The meat isn’t just for this day. Qui’s aunts salt the pork loins and belly. They set a fire to smoke the meat. This fire will smoke the meat for three months and feed the family all year.
Everything cooked here is from here, and none of the animal is wasted. Many Sichuan specialties stem from such farm cooking. And just a few hours after the family slaughtered the pig, the food is served.
Family and friends all together, the pork fresher than you can get in any restaurant. And, all the other ingredients, bursting with local flavor.
No matter how far Sichuan cooking goes globally, its roots are right here.