Once the second political center of the Han Dynasty (260BC-220), Xuzhou has been greatly influenced by the Han culture, particularly when it comes to cuisine. Nearly every dish has a legend or a historic story linked to it. Here are some of our favourites:
Fish Stewed in Mutton (Yang Fang Cang Yu): Over 4,000 years old, this dish is thought to be one of the first Chinese dishes, though it’s changed a lot since its creation. It’s made by mixing fish with various seasonings and stewing them together in the belly of a sheep. The dish is extremely popular among locals, and is both tasty and nutritious became popular among the local people and still remains so.
Bawang Bie Ji: This dish was created by Xuzhou people in order to commemorate certain Chinese historical figures. The dish is made by steaming turtle and chicken in a pottery pot with fresh soup, wine, shallots, hams, mushrooms and other ingredients. It is famous for the crisp meat, mellow and fresh soup as well as its unique appearence.
Dongpo Hui Zeng Rou: This dish is made by selecting meat from the ribs of streaky pork, which are cut into big pieces and then stewed with various seasonings in fresh soup. The result is crisp, tasty meat that’s full of flavour.
Sha Soup: This soup was named as ‘the First Soup under the Heaven’ by Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty. It’s made by boiling pheasant meat, pigs’ bones and pork together with shallots, gingers and other seasonings and cooked in a low oven. The soup is often eaten together with thin local cakes and has become one of the most popular breakfasts for Xuzhou people.
Though Xuzhou is a more traditional, historical city, people still enjoy a modern lifestyle and the city is home to several bars, clubs, cinemas and shopping malls. Most of the city’s nightlife is located at Hubu Hill, a pedestrian street where you’ll find popular bars like Cool Show Bar and the E Bar. If clubbing isn’t your thing, Gupeng Square provides a great alternative. Here you’ll find a music and light fountain show that’s very popular among the locals. Occasionally, local opera and dance performances take place in the square, which are great to see. The city is also home to many traditional teahouses, cinemas and shopping malls. In an attempt to boost the city’s nightlife, Xuzhou has begun hosting the annual Pengcheng Beer Festival in August, during which time people come together to drink beer and celebrate.