The Local Eight Bowls of Bai People, Dali
The Local Eight Bowls is the very symbol of the traditional food culture of Bai people. The table used in the feast is the old fashioned square table for eight people. It is made from marbles. There are eight courses altogether, and that is why the name of the Local Eight Bowls comes into being. In the Local Eight Bowls, meat dish and vegetable dish are arranged with reason. There are all kinds of dishes like blasted dish, crisp dish, braised dish and steamed dish. The courses are colourful and give prominence to the special taste of Bai people: vinegary and hot. The materials for the feast are very simple, but the scene is grand and the etiquette is complicated. The utensils used here are usually local earthen bowls, and red bamboo chopsticks which do not look coarse or too simple. Few people use high-grade china. The dining tables are fine and exquisite. They are usually the old fashioned square tables for eight people. The tables are engraved with flowers and painted with local lacquer of Jianchuan. After all the courses are served, the whole feast will give you an old-timey feeling.Each of the eight courses of the Local Eight Bowls of Bai people has its own way of cooking. The main course is Braised Red Meat. Braised Red Meat is made from fat and lean pork. Slice the pork first and dye it red with red rice marinated in the wine. Then braise the pork. The dish is red and white, and symbolizes the good luck. Su Meat is also made from fat and lean pork. Slice the pork and apply the seasonings. Wrap the pork with the egg and fry it until it becomes golden yellow. Wait till it becomes cold, and cook the pork. Finally, take it out, put it into the bowl, and spread some gingeli onto the pork. The dish is white and yellow and is good to eat. Qianzhang Meat is in fact meat cooked with pickles. The dish is golden red, and taste sweet and vinegary. The skin of the meat is like ripples and makes the dish look good. Fenzhen Meat is made from relatively fat pork. Cook the pork first and then slice it. Mix the meat with seasonings and fine rice which has been fried in advance. Put the meat into the steamer and steam it. The dish is fat but not oily, and smells really good. Qianxiang is the only cool dish in the eight courses. Slice the pot-stewed pork, liver and stomach. Spread the slices in the bowl in which pickles have already been put. Pour vinegary and hot juice into the bowl. The vinegary, hot and cool dish is done. Other courses include cooked haricot bean, cooked bamboo shoot and sweetbread soup. They are all vegetable dishes and soup rich in carbohydrate and vegetable fibrin.