Hurry up! So many foods in season

In Suzhou, the spring is often marked by a variety of dishes cooked with seasonal ingredients.

Chinese toon sprouts and eggs are one of the most celebrated food pairings, others including Indian aster and smoked bean curd, and cured and fresh pork and bamboo shoots. To enjoy them, you must hurry, otherwise, it will be too late.[MORE]

Feel the spring in a bite of bamboo shoot

The bamboo shoots emerge out of the ground in early spring. They give off a sweet scent when dug out of the soil.

The Suzhou natives like bamboo shoots, and they cook a variety of dishes by steaming, boiling, stewing and stir-frying bamboo shoots solely or with other ingredients.

The peeled bamboo shoots have an ivory yellow color, and are soft and crisp. Braised Bamboo Shoots is a dish loved by many people.

The bamboo shoots are cut into small pieces and put into a hot pan. They are stir-fried until they turn browned, and then are added with sauce, sugar, salt and vinegar before being simmered. The sauce gradually reduces, and the bamboo shoots get red in color, with luster on the surface. The dish tastes good, with sweetness released soon in the mouth, followed by a kind of fresh aroma that makes you want to eat more.[MORE]

Edible wild plants recommended in spring

There are various wild plants in Suzhou in spring. The tender leaves of Chinese wolfberry, Indian aster, shepherd’s purse, Chinese toon, alfalfa and Chrysanthemum nankingense, pea seedlings and small garlics sell well in the market.

Stir-fried Chinese Toon Sprouts and Eggs is a common dish on the tables of Suzhou natives. The Chinese toon sprouts are chopped and mixed with egg liquid, and then stir-fried and added with a small amount of spices. It looks beautiful and is very delicious.

Fresh Indian aster is blanched in hot water, squeezed, chopped and mixed with smoked bean curd pieces and sesame oil. Then the dish is finished. The simple recipe can help maintain the original flavor of the Indian aster.

The tender leaves of alfalfa are often paired with pork braised in soy sauce, which is soft, fat but not greasy, and lustrous. The pork is put on the alfalfa leaves, and its sauce covers the leaves, making them especially delicious.[MORE]

Fishes and river snails cannot be missed

The rivers in Suzhou provide abundant food ingredients in spring, and the most representative ones are fishes and river snails.

Chinese perches (Siniperca chuatsi) are often found in the shallow water in spring. Squirrel-shaped Chinese Perch is a representative of the Suzhou-style cuisine. It is named for its shape. The dark reddish brown fish, crisp outside and tender amid, is sour and sweet.

River snails can be cooked into delicious food, too. The snails must be put in water containing a small amount of salt or oil for about half a day so that they could spit out the sand in their body. Then they are stewed in spicy sauce with garlics and green Chinese onion, and sugar should be added before they are served. Slurp the flesh of the snail out of its shell, and the taste is amazing.[MORE]