Every provincial government has an official Provincial Representative Office 辦事處 in Beijing. And most of these would also run a hotel or reception like restaurants. These would serve really authentic cuisine, as they would use chef and ingredients directly from their province. Nancheng Hotel from Jiangxi is one of them.
Jiangxi 江西 is a very special region in China as it is at the crossroads of China. It is surrounded by Zhejiang, Hunan, Hubei, Anhui, Sichuan, Fujian, Guangdong, and therefore its cuisine is neither too spicy like Szechuan, not too sweet like Jiangsu, or too elaborate like Hubei.
It uses down to earth ingredients like wormwood 藜蒿, wood fungus, bamboo shoot, etc that can be found in abundance in Jiangxi.
1/ 黃豆燜豬手瓦罐煨湯 Soy Bean and Pork Knuckle Double-Boiled Soup
Double boiling involves steaming soup in boiling water. The temperature in the steamer would not exceed 100 °C as it is steam. However that is hot enough to bring the liquid in the inner earthen jar to raise and cook the soup. Double boiling technique has been used by chefs in the south to make slow-cooked soup 燉湯 that would need to avoid open fire that would breakdown the ingredients too quickly like herbal soup. Jiangxi is famous for double-boiled soup that involves putting all the small urns of prepared ingredients in a huge earthen jar, sealed and cooked for hours on end.
Soy Bean and Pork Knuckle Double-Boiled Soup is a difficult soup to make as it would be too oily if done badly. But here at Nanchang, the soup was clear and flavourful, and the result was not oily. What a fantastic way to start the dinner.
2/ 粉蒸肉 Steamed Pork Belly
I was introduced to this dish here. Since then, I had tried this dish at many places, but it’s still the Nanchang’s version that I found to be the best. Most of the Steamed Pork Belly are oily and very difficult to eat too much, Here, it was not too oily, and the fats will just melt in your mouth.
3/ 鱼籽鱼泡 Spicy Fish Roe and Intestine
Spicy Fish Roe and Intestines one of the classic Jiangxi cuisine. Simple to make, but not easy to make it well, it requires quick stir-fry technique that would keep the roe and intestine just cooked and not turned hard. It is the perfect dish to accompany steamed rice or with cold beer.
4/ 啤酒鸭 Duck Braised in Beer
Another Jiangxi classic, Duck Braised in Beer uses the braising technique of slow-cooking meat in a braising liquid which will reduced to a caramelised state. This dish used beer that provided flavour and also soften the duck in the process. The duck used was too skinny, but the flavour was just right.
5/ 砂锅扁豆 Claypot White Hyacinth Beans
White Hyacinth Beans 白扁豆 is a native plant in Jiangxi and it’s like snap peas but bigger and tougher. Cooking as a claypot dish, it helps to soften it to the right texture for eating. Claypot White Hyacinth Beans was a simple peasant dish. But it was done very well with lots of flavour.
6/ 藜蒿炒香干 Stir-fry Wormwood with Dried Bean Curd
Wormwood is a type of water weed that has the texture of Chinese celery. Stir-fry Wormwood with Dried Bean Curd has the crunch and the taste, and was perfect with beer.
7/ 南昌炒粉 Nanchang Fried Noodles
Nanchang Fried Noodles was more like braised than fried. The noodles used were like spaghetti and it was fried with black beans and julienned pork. Simple and pleasant dish.
And what best to down everything with Nanchang beer. It is not a very nice beer, but it was a hot summer night, the place has very poor air-conditioning, and therefore the cold beer was a great reprieve from the heat. The service was horrible, but you come here for the food and not really the service or the ambiance. They do have private rooms but book in advance. Only limited number of rooms available. And there’s no reservation for the main dining hall.
35 Xihuangchenggen S St, Xicheng Qu, Beijing Shi, China
Tel : +86 10 6607 9991
Date Visited : Aug 2018