|Top Row L to R: FulingJianBing, Glutinous rice cakes, Ultra spicy Green peas|
Bottom Row L to R: Brown Sugar Preserved Plums, Spicy Peanuts, Sachima
Rice cakes are made from glutinous rice. You can find glutinous rice powder in supermarkets which can be mixed with hot water and turned into rice cakes or it's more common just to buy premade rice cakes. Different Asian countries make different dishes and snacks but all are called rice cakes. Even within China there are different rice cake dishes.
|Shanghai'sSavory Rice Cake|
|Sweet Pan Fried Rice Cake from Southern China's Guangdong|
|Korea's Ddeokbokki Dish (one of my favorite dishes)|
|Japan's Infamous Mochi|
The spicy peanut and green pea have a special name for it's spice called MaLa which means numbingly spicy and is a characteristic of Sichuan food (a province in Western China known for it's spicy food). The Sichuan chilies and peppercorn makes your mouth feel both on fire and numb at the same time. Sounds excruciating but Sichuan hotpot is loved in China, you'll see Sichuan hotpot places practically on every street. It's too much for me to handle but if you love spicy food you will no doubt enjoy Sichuan peppers as well!
Two more snacks to go! Are you hungry yet?
Sachima (the pastry found on the lower right of the first picture) is snack I grew up with. Imagine the American Rice Krispy Treat, very similar airy texture and flavor but with less butter smell. According to research done by Carolyn Phillips in her post "A Chinese New Year Treat Wrapped in Mystery" she found that Sachima originated from Northeast China in what was once known as Manchuria. A little disturbing but Sachima's literal translation from the Manchurian word is "dog nipples dipped in syrup". Good news is that Manchurian's definition of the word "dog nipples" refers to goji berries (a fruit that is similar to Chinese wolfberries). The traditional method of making Sachima is to combine Beijing style egg puffs tossing them in syrup and adding goji berries, nuts, raisins and sesame seed to add flavor and color.
The last snack I tried today is the Brown Sugar Dried Plum candy (黑糖话梅. It's creamy, sweet and sour at the same time. This plum comes from the plum blossom tree and is pickled in vinegar and salt. In Japan, the plums are used in their infamous plum wine. The Chinese love eating dried plum, not only for the taste but also for medicinal purposes. It can help with bad breath, digestion and the intense sour taste gives a boost of mind. I do advice not to eat too many dried plums in one sitting as it will give you a stomachache but these candies are so hard to resist!