The Sweetness of Chongqing Cuisine
China Today (English)|August 2020
The Sweetness of Chongqing Cuisine
SOUTHWEST China’s Chongqing is the city of hot pot. But just like the character of a person, Chongqing has another side other than what it is most famous for. If the spicy thick broth of the hot pot represents Chongqing’s stubbornness and appeal, then there also hides a trace of sweetness and softness in Chongqing cuisine, which is quite rewarding when discovered.

As early as in the Song Dynasty (960-1279), China already had five main sugar producing areas. The best cane sugar at that time was produced in an area adjacent to Chongqing. Planting sugar cane and cooking raw sugar has a long history with the people of Chongqing. The time-honored processing technique for edible sugar is very simple. As the color turned out to be reddish brown, it was named “brown sugar.”

Icy jelly with brown sugar juice is a popular local snack. A summer without the snack feels incomplete to local residents, while a bowl of icy jelly without brown sugar loses its culinary soul. Street hawkers usually ride on a tricycle loaded with several large iron buckets, hawking under the shade of trees in mid-summer. When customers come, the hawker opens the lid of the bucket, uses a big iron spoon to scoop the jellylike substance out and put it into an enamel bowl, and finalizes it with a spoonful of brown sugar sauce. A diner stirs the jelly and immerses it fully in the sauce. Now, it is time to enjoy the special treat unique to summer time in Chongqing.

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August 2020