Nanjing City with Authentic Flavors and Lifestyle

Experience Nanjing at least once!

By That's, March 13, 2024

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As the thunder of spring awakens, the earthly delights come alive.

Nanjing, where all the hidden beauty is awakening.

This ancient capital with over 7,000 years of civilization history, having witnessed the rise and fall of six dynasties, is now painted with the vibrant colors of spring.

It's often said that "the most quintessential Nanjing lies within ten miles of the Qinhuai River."

The misty waters of the Six Dynasties era float gently along the Qinhuai River, meandering from east to west, flowing through the oldest residential market area of Nanjing—the Old City South. This has shaped the lifestyle of the old Nanjing residents, who live by the river, embodying a carefree and contented spirit.

As the boats drift lazily along the Qinhuai River, the sound of fishermen's songs fills the air; on both banks, rows of river houses stand tall, surrounded by rippling waves; beneath the neatly arranged eaves, people flow like a river, while the smoke from Nanjing households' kitchens wafts through the air, permeating the atmosphere with delightful scents. Amidst the bustling sounds of "Boss, wrap up half a roast duck to go" and "The fresh fragrance of fragrant buds, please give me a handful," one can always find the essence of spring in Nanjing, warming the hearts of its residents.

The colloquial phrase "What's the big deal?" coupled with Nanjing's tolerance, symbolized by its large radishes, reveals the leisurely and contented nature of the people of Nanjing.

In 2024, Nanjing Impressions celebrates its 30th anniversary, unveiling a completely refreshed menu on March 5 to capture the essence of Nanjing's flavors and the leisurely lifestyle of its residents.

Featuring nearly twenty authentic Nanjing dishes that encompass a variety of flavors—fresh, salty, fragrant, and sweet—the menu introduces city-exclusive dishes and those exclusive to cities outside Nanjing.

With the perfect weather of spring, why not take a moment for yourself amidst the bustling days?

Follow Nanjing Impressions to explore the vibrant flavors of Jinling!

Nanjing Impressions

"The Soul of Nanjing's Wild Vegetables"

As the spring breeze sweeps through the walls of Jinling, home-cooked dishes cannot compare to the fragrance of wild vegetables.

"If you encounter someone wearing a sun hat, headscarf, and sunglasses, carrying a small bamboo basket and looking around, don't be afraid—it's just someone out to pick some wild vegetables in Nanjing."

It is said that "Nanjing is peculiar; it prefers wild vegetables over meat." Unlike other regions where spring is usually welcomed with flower viewing, mountain climbing, or outings, Nanjing residents choose to embrace spring by savoring its flavors!

Stir-fried Asparagus Lettuce with Pork Kidney Strips

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The most flavorful asparagus in Nanjing comes from Baguazhou in the middle of the Yangtze River. As winter transitions into spring, the fragrant and slightly moist asparagus shoots emerge. At the old city south market, vendors swiftly select the asparagus, discarding the leaves, soft stems, and old roots, leaving only the crisp and tender asparagus stems.

The crisp and tender asparagus is quickly stir-fried with slippery pork kidney strips, enhancing the fresh sweetness to the fullest, making it mouth-watering.

Stir-fried Asparagus Root with Dried Bean Curd

City Exclusive in Nanjing

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As spring arrives, every Nanjing resident has a plate of stir-fried asparagus root with dried bean curd in mind. While asparagus is common, asparagus root is a rarity, resembling "folded ear roots" with a unique crispness and fragrance of the water town. Paired with authentic dried bean curd, the combination is delightful, a delicacy served only when welcoming esteemed guests in Nanjing.

Braised Ribs with Prosperous Duck Eggs

City Exclusive in Nanjing

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In Nanjing, besides ducks, there is another fantastic food—prosperous duck eggs. Peeled prosperous duck eggs, with the aroma of both chicken and eggs, make the ribs seem like supporting actors, distinct yet complementary, creating a freshness that is truly remarkable.

Steamed Eggs with Spring Chives and Snail Meat

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As the saying goes, "Spring chives are fragrant; summer chives are pungent." The local chives in Nanjing are at their freshest during this season, paired with plump snail meat harvested before the Qingming Festival, resulting in an extra layer of freshness. Unlike traditional steamed eggs, the master chef finely chops the vermicelli and mixes it with the egg mixture, steaming it in a sour and spicy broth. After being cooked over high heat, it becomes tender, smooth, spicy, and fragrant, surpassing traditional steamed eggs.

Shrimp Roe with Spring Bamboo Shoots and Pugai

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As mentioned in the Book of Songs, "What is it that grows there? It is bamboo shoots and pugai." At a grand banquet, the only vegetables worthy of mention are tender bamboo shoots and pugai. As the spring breeze blows across the shallow waters of Jiangnan's lakes, pugai grass begins to sprout, and bamboo shoots emerge. The combination of these two exquisite Jiangnan treasures, with the addition of fresh shrimp roe sauce from the riverbank, adds a bright touch to the white canvas, fresh and beautiful, dispelling the desolation of winter.


Nanjing Impressions

"The Nanjing Big Radish Delights"

Do you know what the "Nanjing Big Radish" is?

Mr. Ye Zhaoyan, a Nanjing writer, summarized in his book "Nanjing People": "It's most appropriate to describe Nanjing people as big radishes. Nanjing people can never be considered astute... They are carefree, doing things neither too fast nor too slow, a leisureliness inherited from our ancestors."

The "Nanjing Big Radish" also loves to eat radishes, and the only thing that can be compared to vegetables is radishes, after all, "vegetables and radishes ensure safety." When welcoming the spring, apart from enjoying spring rolls, biting into a crispy radish is also a unique taste of spring in Nanjing.

Pickled Radish Slices with River Clams

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Pickled radish slices stewed with salted meat and river clams are a dish commonly prepared by residents of Old Menxi during the spring season. The tangy and refreshing flavor of the pickled radish soup, combined with river clams freshly harvested from the riverbank and a few slices of salted meat preserved since winter, fills the air with a tantalizing aroma, instantly transporting people back to memories of the waterside by the Qinhuai River.

Radish Strips with Yanghua and Duck Eggs

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In March, the grass in Jiangnan grows lush, and the poplar fluff floats in the air. Radish strips are named after the poplar fluff that flies when they mature. Red and plump, delicate and lovely, they are displayed alongside green radishes, creating a tempting mix of red and green. Nanjing residents like to soak radishes in sweet and sour sauce, savoring the sweet taste with each chew, bringing a strong sense of spring to their taste buds.

Radish Strips with Lake Duck Eggs and Preserved Osmanthus Rice Dumplings

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After a winter of simmering, radish strips are stewed until tender and sweet, complemented by the savory taste of lake duck eggs. Legend has it that jars of duck eggs were discovered during excavations at the Hushu cultural site. Today, the habit of raising and eating ducks among Nanjing residents may have originated from the Hushu cultural period. The delicious aroma of aquatic flavors invigorates the spirit amidst the warmth of the heater.

Bite into Spring

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Nanjing residents love fried foods, and the bite into spring begins with its crispy texture! Encased within the spring rolls is the most renowned fragrance of Nanjing—fragrant chive blossoms. As golden as bars of gold, take a bite while it's hot, and beneath the thin and crispy skin, the green filling is revealed, along with preserved eggs and tofu, exuding the unique freshness of spring.

Spring Fresh Four Treasures

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What are the four treasures of spring? After the spring rain, bamboo shoots, "spring's first beans" broad beans, early spring tender vegetable buds, paired with secret sauce meat, simply stir-fried to bring out the essence of the ingredients, each mouthful is like spring.


Nanjing Impressions

"Nanjing Residents' Warmth 'Pot by Pot'"

For every Nanjing resident without heating, the alternating warmth and chill of "spring-like four seasons" are more challenging than winter. Fortunately, Nanjing residents have a unique way to keep warm—eating "pot by pot"!

Pickled Vegetable Spare Ribs

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Pickled vegetables are a traditional craft of Nanjing residents. Nanjing residents use large, leafy green vegetables called "arrow shaft white" to pickle vegetables. Each household's flavor may vary, but they all share the same savory taste. Stewed spare ribs with pickled vegetables make a bubbling sound in the earthenware pot, without the need for excessive seasoning. The salty and fresh taste of the pickled vegetables permeates the ribs, making them savory and fragrant, irresistible.

Putian Qiaolin Tofu Pudding

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In the hearts of Nanjing residents, the tofu from Qiaolin Town is unparalleled. The tofu pudding, handcrafted every morning, is a must-try. It is neither as creamy as tofu pudding nor as rich as old tofu, but has the perfect texture that leaves people wanting more. Add in the mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, king oyster mushrooms, green peas, and large prawns, and it truly becomes a combination of white, tender, smooth, fresh, and fragrant.


Nanjing Impressions

"Reviving Nanjing's Childhood Memories"

Nanjing is a city where the influences of both northern and southern China converge, blending the hearty flavors of the north with the delicate tastes of the south. Its culinary scene is a reflection of this diversity, offering a plethora of flavors ranging from savory to sweet, and everything in between.

Start your day with a bowl of fragrant steamed glutinous rice, awakening your taste buds to the promise of a new day. At lunchtime, seek out a cozy eatery and treat yourself to a hearty pot of braised frog legs and duck tongues in rich, flavorful sauce, energizing you for the rest of the day. And when the afternoon hustle and bustle sets in, indulge in a special dessert like sweet lotus root porridge, bringing sweetness and comfort to your life. In the midst of steaming hot vapors, worries seem to evaporate, leaving behind a sense of peace and contentment.

Old-Fashioned Black Rice Dumplings

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Renowned for its Jiangnan black rice, every spring and summer, Nanjing locals venture into the mountains to gather fragrant leaves of the Nan Zhuyu plant. These leaves are pounded into a pulp and used to soak glutinous rice, which is then steamed to perfection, resulting in glossy black rice with a tantalizing aroma. At Nanjing Impressions, we take this black rice and infuse it with the essence of roasted duck oil, wrapping it in handmade black pastry skins to create black rice dumplings that are as delicious as they are visually striking.

Traditional Nanjing Lotus Root Porridge

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"Doup, doup, doup, selling lotus root porridge!" From a cart pushed along the streets, this call has accompanied generations of Nanjing residents. In the "White Gate Cookbook," lotus root porridge is described as "soft lotus roots and sticky porridge, a nourishing delicacy." Made with glutinous rice, the porridge has a thick, creamy texture with distinct grains. It's sweetened with caramel and rock sugar, and filled with chunks of lotus root stuffed with glutinous rice. The resulting blend of flavors is reminiscent of childhood memories.

Green Wheat Honeyed Ice Jelly

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In spring, green wheat sprouts are used to make refreshing ice jelly, neither too sweet nor bland. Try your hand at making your own and sprinkle some raisins, kumquats, and pumpkin seeds on top for a burst of fresh, cool flavor, like a breath of spring breeze.

Large Bowl Vegetarian Egg Dumplings

Limited to cities outside Nanjing

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In the childhood memories of many Nanjing residents, the art of making egg dumplings by mothers and grandmothers was a rare treat, savored only on major holidays. Pour a ladle of beaten egg into a hot iron skillet, and with a sizzle, spread it evenly to form a round pancake. Then add the meat filling, fold it over, and it's done. Cooked alongside vegetarian egg dumplings, the flavors are rich and satisfying, reminiscent of home-cooked meals but even more flavorful.

Duck Tongues and Frog Legs in Sauce

Limited to cities outside Nanjing

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When it comes to duck, no place can rival Nanjing! Tender duck tongues, paired with succulent frog legs, are a match made in culinary heaven. Take a bite at the fullest part of the tongue, and the secret sauce combines with the crispy bones of the duck tongue to burst with flavor. Add a mouthful of juicy, tender frog legs, and you'll experience a taste sensation like no other!

Sauce-Braised Frog Legs and Bones

Limited to cities outside Nanjing

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Renowned eateries in the alleys and streets of Nanjing offer unique flavors. Combining juicy bone-in meat with tender frog legs, stewed in a secret sauce until tender, when served piping hot, the dish is a feast for the senses. Rich and flavorful, it's a satisfying indulgence!

In the bustling streets of Nanjing, immerse yourself in the flavors of spring, experiencing the vibrant atmosphere and indulging in the culinary delights that this ancient city has to offer. Come and explore the lively spirit of Nanjing, and let yourself be swept away by the magic of spring.


Nanjing City with Authentic Flavors and Lifestyle

March 5 - June 4, 2024

Available at Nanjing City Restaurants across the country!

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