Nanchang Street Food – A Culinary Journey through Wuxi’s Historic Gem

nanchang street food

Nanchang Street, a renowned ancient street in Wuxi, China, stretches over 5.5 kilometers. It has retained the charm of a classic Jiangnan water town, complete with small bridges, flowing water, and traditional architecture. This historical gem has been recognized as a “Chinese Historical and Cultural Street,” and it’s not only a place of rich history but also a treasure trove of delectable street food that caters to every palate. As you stroll from one end of Nanchang Street to the other, you’ll be overwhelmed by the array of culinary delights. In this article, we’ll explore some of the most famous street foods that you can savor on this ancient street.

Xiaolong Mantou (小笼馒头)

Wuxi’s version of xiaolong mantou is essentially a type of soup dumpling, but the locals prefer to call it “mantou.” These dumplings are known for their precise ingredient selection and expert craftsmanship. Steamed to perfection, these xiaolong mantou have thin, yet resilient skins that never break, with ample fillings. Enjoying xiaolong mantou in Wuxi comes with a local saying: “Lift gently, move slowly, open the window first, then savor the soup.”

Sanxian Huntun (三鲜馄饨)

While you may have encountered various versions of wonton (huntun) in different cities, Wuxi’s sanxian huntun consistently features the same filling regardless of where you enjoy it. This filling is a mixture of fresh meat, dried shrimp, and pickled vegetables. Served in a flavorful broth with tofu shreds and egg skin, it’s an irresistible dish that offers a uniquely savory experience.

Tang Yutou (糖芋头)

Tang Yutou, or sweet taro, is a traditional pastry from Wuxi, often consumed during the Mid-Autumn Festival. It’s made from premium taro, peeled and then simmered with brown sugar and osmanthus flowers, resulting in a soft and sweet treat that’s perfect for any time of the year.

Mati Su (马蹄酥)

Mati su, or horseshoe pastry, is another traditional delicacy of Wuxi. It’s crafted by mixing flour, malt, lard, sesame, and white sugar to create a pastry dough. The dough is then baked to golden perfection. The result is a flaky, tender, and sweet delight that melts in your mouth.

You Mianjin (油面筋)

You mianjin, known as oil gluten, is a traditional fried noodle snack in Wuxi, also referred to as “qingshui you mianjin.” Its preparation involves a meticulous seven-step process, including preparing the dough, washing, kneading, spreading, soaking, extracting, and deep frying. One of the most famous variations is the meat-stuffed mianjin, which features a delightful combination of flavors.

Yulan Bing (玉兰饼)

Yulan bing, or magnolia pancakes, is a traditional snack that originated in Wuxi during the Qing Dynasty. These pancakes are made by using glutinous rice flour to create a pancake base and filling it with ingredients like fresh meat, red bean paste, sesame, and rose petals. The pancakes are then pan-fried in oil. Freshly made yulan bing boasts a golden exterior and a crispy texture, while the fillings offer a harmonious blend of savory and sweet flavors.

Meihua Gao (梅花糕)

Meihua gao, or plum blossom cake, is a specialty snack from Wuxi. Legend has it that the name was given by Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty after he tasted it during a visit to the region. This delectable cake is made from a combination of ingredients, including flour, red bean paste, lard, and nuts. The mixture is formed into a cake base and baked to perfection. Meihua gao is not only visually appealing, with its enticing colors and patterns, but it’s also a sweet, aromatic, and delightful treat.

Nanchang Street’s culinary treasures encompass a wide range of flavors and textures, reflecting the rich cultural heritage of Wuxi. From the savory and fragrant xiaolong mantou to the sweet and satisfying meihua gao, each street food item tells a story of tradition and innovation. Nanchang Street is more than just a historical and cultural attraction; it’s a gastronomic journey that allows visitors to taste the authentic flavors of Wuxi, offering a delightful experience that lingers in the memory of all who visit this remarkable ancient street.

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