Nanjing Dining--What to Eat
Duck Blood Soup
The Duck Blood Soup is one of the most popular food in Nanjing. The name of this dish may sound odd to foreigners who might wonder how the blood and soup is combined. Actually Chinese people do eat the blood of duck, goose and chicken but in a unique way. They collect the blood of a freshly killed duck or goose and stir, then seal and refrigerate until ready to use. The result is blood cakes. The soup is seasoned with salt, pepper, and subtly spicy undertones. Simmer gently for several minutes and serve with eggs, noodles and caraway. This food is the top of all travelers' recommendations. The cheap stalls at Fuzimiao dining street sell the best at 3.5 yuan.
Gan Si (Shredded Bean-curd Sheets)
A refreshing cold dish made of Bean-curd sheets. The bean-curd sheets are cut finely into threads with seasoning of sauce, sesame oil and vegetables shreds of bamboo root, mushroom, chicken or meat. It has fine shreds and a tender taste. It can also be boiled in broth and served with other meat shreds.
Salted Soup Duck
Autumn in Nanjing is a season of scented osmanthus blossom and the best time to make the delicious Salted Soup Duck because ducks at this time are fat. The chef chooses well-bred ducks and smears salt and spice on them to add flavors. The spice ingredients are a secret. Then the spiced ducks are marinated in a sauce for two hours. Just before eating, the ducks are steamed. It should taste fragrant, crisp and tender. The best restaurant to taste it is Jinling Restaurant near Xinjiekou.
A legend goes that in China's Southern Dynasties (420 - 589) an emperor was besieged by enemies in the imperial city. Soldiers guarded the city and fought hard in bloody battles. Women made salted ducks and wrapped them with leaves to preserve the flavor. Ducks were packed into a large jar and delivered to the soldiers. When the soldiers unwrapped the ducks, they found the ducks pressed flat, thereby the name Pressed Duck.
The difference between Salted Soup and Pressed Duck is the taste. The duck meat of the first style tastes fresh and tender while the latter tastes tight and pliable. Therefore, if you buy the Salted Soup Duck, choose the one most recently prepared.
Dou Fu Nao (Tofu pudding)
This is a great breakfast-time soup dish made from tofu (bean curd), mushrooms, coriander and chilli. The best place to taste it is Liu Feng Ju.
Fried Spring Onion Pancake
This is a kind of fried pastry that is filled with shallot, meat and other ingredients and usually covered with a pastry crust. It is also a popular breakfast snack. The best place to taste it is Liu Feng Ju.