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Tasty Chongqing: Int'l Students Learn to Cook Local Cuisine in Banan District

By JINGGU, JIANG|Mar 30,2024

ChongqingOn March 28, the “Tasty Chongqing” event was held in Banan District, Southwest China’s Chongqing, attracting international students from Thailand and Cambodia. The tantalizing aromas of authentic Chongqing cuisine, including braised goose and fish stewed in iron pot, filled the air as they gathered for this culinary experience.

International students taste Chongqing cuisine. (Photo/CINC)

Liu Gongyu, President of the Banan District Catering and Accommodation Industry Association, introduced the students to fish stewed in iron pot. This dish, with its origins, traced back to fishermen and boatmen at the Yudong wharf symbolized the rich culinary heritage of Chongqing. These skilled cooks used locally available ingredients and cooked fish in iron pots on the dock with their own pickled ginger and pickled chili.

Over time, this tradition has evolved, with the main ingredient now being rice-field fish to protect the Yangtze River’s ecology. With skilled cooking techniques, the rice-field fish not only retains its tender and delicious texture but also boasts a spicy flavor that enriches the taste of the dish.

“The fish is incredibly fresh, and its flavor is truly unique,” said Wu Limei from Cambodia, noting that in her hometown, chili is usually used directly rather than in the form of pickled peppers.

At the event, Liu also introduced the students to delectable dishes such as Banan twice-cooked pork, Kung Pao Chinese yam, traditional Sichuan dish Mapo Tofu, and braised goose. After tasting each dish, the students expressed their delight, finding them delicious and delightful.

International students taste Mapo Tofu. (Photo/CINC)

Inspired by the flavorful offerings, the international students entered the kitchen to learn how to make a Chongqing local dish called “spicy skewers.” Wearing aprons and disposable gloves, they blanched ingredients like broccoli, lotus root, tofu, and bean curd in a pot and then let them cool.

Under the chef’s guidance, they understood the crucial role of seasoning. Mixing garlic paste, ground Sichuan peppercorns, chili oil, soy sauce, salt, granulated sugar, Sichuan peppercorn oil, chili oil, and sesame seeds with cold boiled water, they achieved a well-blended marinade.

International students learn to make Banan cuisine. (Photo/CINC)

Following the chef’s instructions, they carefully threaded the seasoned ingredients onto skewers, ensuring even distribution. Once complete, they drizzled the skewers with the marinade and garnished them with chopped green onions. 

International students learn how to make seasonings. (Photo/CINC)

The students picked up the freshly made dish and said, “It smells so good, and it looks beautiful!” After taking a bite, they found some skewers were salty while others were bland. “This is mainly because the seasoning was not measured accurately.” The chef explained that aside from adjusting the amount of salt used, the students’ dishes were quite good.

Listening to the chef’s comments and enjoying the Chongqing dishes they had prepared themselves, the students were delighted and intended to recommend these delicious Chongqing delicacies to their friends and family.


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