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Dongpo Pork Travel Guide


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The Brief Introduction of Donpo Pork

Dongpo Pork(东坡肉) is the most famous cuisine of Hangzhou both for its great flavor and the cultural legacy. Dongpo Pork belongs to Zhejiang type of cuisine It is prominently featured of its color, savor and taste. The cooking method highlighted with low-temperature fire, less water and more wine. Dongpo Pork is widely known and welcomed in folk society. Even each family in Hangzhou is able to cook such a dish. The main ingredient is pork, exactly an approximately 2-inch square pork comprised of half fat meat and half lean meat. It is fat but not greasy, also with some fragrance of wine.

The History and Culture of Dongpo Pork

Dongpo Pork was not firstly appeared in Hangzhou but Xuzhou(徐州), a north city of today’s Jiangsu province. The whole evolution history of Dongpo Pork could be summarized to be originated from Xuzhou, completed in Huangzhou(黄州, today’s Huanggang of Hubei province) and well known in Hangzhou. But three cities were all closely connected with Su Dongpo(苏东坡), who was said to be the creator of Dongpo Pork. He used to be the local governor of three cities of ancient China in Song Dynasty, and that is why this food was named Dongpo Pork. Su Dongpo preferred to eat pork, and play with the pig, which was historically recorded in Zhu Po Shi Hua(竹坡诗话) written by Zhou Zizhi(周紫芝).

Su Dongpo in Xuzhou – The original of Dongpo Pork was Huizeng Pork(回赠肉, rewarding pork) in Xuzhou, and boasted as one of Dongpo’s Four Delicacies (东坡四珍) in Xuzhou, and three others are Jinchan Xizhu(金蟾戏珠), Wuguanji(五关鸡) and Zuiqingxi(醉青虾). In 1077, Yellow River was breached, and the flood did not get down after more than 70 days. Su Dongpo, the governor of Xuzhou, led the local people to fight flood, and eventually get a victory. In the next year, a causeway named Su Causeway was built. The local people for acknowledging Su Dongpo’s contribution sent lots of pork to Su Dongpo. Su Donpo cooked the pork and then rewarded the local people. The cooking methods was largely released in his poem themed with Dunrouge(炖肉歌, a song of braising pork).

慢着火、少着水 – give a low-temperature fire and less water
柴火罨焰烟不起 – the fireworks lit with a small flame and a little smoke
待它自熟莫催它 – wait for being absolutely cooked and never hasten
火候足时它自美 – it will be naturally tasteful if the duration and the heating degree are sufficient

Su Dongpo in Huangzhou – In 1080, because of the political demotion to be a deputy official in Huangzhou, Su Dongpo himself opened up the wasteland, and called this land Dongpu Jushi(东坡居士), which is the origin of his courtesy name. he cooked pork by himself, and summarized his cooking experience into his poem, which was named Shi Zhu Rou Shi(食猪肉诗, the poem of eating pork).

Su Dongpo in Hangzhou – In 1089, Su Dongpo returned to Hangzhou as the governor. In May and June, 1090, Hangzhou suffered a serious flood. Su Dongpo led Hangzhou people dredged up the West Lake, and went through the hardest time. He built the causeways and bridges, and gave the West Lake a new look. Hangzhou people really appreciated Su Donpo’s great deed, and highly praised him as a great official. Hearing of the news that Su Donpo preferred to eat pork in Xuzhou and Huangzhou, they carried a large amount of pork and alcohol to pay a New Year call to Su Dongpo. Su Dongpo cut the pork into pieces and cooked it absolutely, and then distributed them to workers who made a great contribution to dredging up the West Lake. They found it was quite delicious and special, and they called this pork Dongpo Pork. Since then, the Dongpo Pork spread nationwide.

The Ingredients of Cooking Dongpo Pork

 Ingredients  Quantities
 Pork  750 grams
 Ginger  15 grams
 Shallot  20 grams
 Chinese Pepper  2 grams
 Cooking Wine  15 grams
 Salt  3 grams
 Caramel  20 grams
 Vegetable Oil  250 grams
 Fresh Soup  750 grams

The Eating Tips

The fat people, or people who are overweight, of high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus and with a disease related to heart and blood vessels, had better not eat Dongpo Pork.

Also, in accordance with the theory of medicine diet, Dongpo Pork cannot be eaten with foods as below: smoked plum, liquorice, crucian, shrimps, pigeon meat, paludina, almond, donkey meat, lamb liver, caraway, turtle, water chestnut, buckwheat, quail meat and beef.

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Editor: Julius from Mildchina
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