As a country boasting a long history, China is home to many of the world's oldest historical sites such as the Great Wall and the Forbidden City. The question of how to better protect these treasures remains a great challenge for the government and the people. To find out more about the efforts to preserve China's history, tune into China Horizons.
Shaoxing is also known for more than its people; Shaoxing Wine is famed throughout China. From the lowliest farmer to the highest official, they all take pleasure in imbibing this delight. The wine is made from glutinous rice and is distilled to a low alcohol content, which is a blessing for those who've had enough of fiery Chinese spirits. Perhaps only an excuse to drink more, Shaoxing wine is claimed to have therapeutic effects aiding digestion.
Lu Xun wrote a short story about the decline of the scholarly class, once the elite of Chinese society. By the end of Qing Dynasty, many intellectuals were reduced to mere paupers. In his story, Kong Yiji, a failed scholar and alcoholic visits a small restaurant called Xianheng, for a cup of wine and a dish of Huixiang beans, whenever he scrounges up enough money. Lu Xun set his story in Shaoxing and based Xianheng on the restaurants near his home. A real Xianheng opened its doors not long after his story was published. Today the restaurant retains its turn-of-the-century atmosphere; from the furniture to the recipes, everything has been preserved. Many visiting tourists have a small meal and a bottle of Shaoxing wine at this restaurant and locals claim that everyone in Shaoxing has eaten here at least once.
Being a water city it's natural that Shaoxing would have many bridges and waterways, and the city doesn't disappoint with over 4,000 stone bridges crisscrossing the waterways connecting the roads. The waterways are filled with tiny sampans called Wupeng, (ÎÚÅî) which are unique to Shaoxing with their black awning, and despite being extremely narrow, they can seat five to six people. Built low, these boats give passengers a feeling of sitting precariously in the water. The rowers wear traditional Shaoxing Wuzhan (ÎÚÕ±) hats and row using their feet and steer with their free hands. Sitting in a Wupeng while watching the street scenes float by is a defining Shaoxing experience.
Shaoxing's culinary delights reflect the agricultural richness of the Yangtze basin. Food in Shaoxing takes advantage of Shaoxing's famed wine and many of the dishes have a distinct aroma. Shaoxing Meigancai(ÉÜÐËÃ¹¸É²Ë) is made from preserved cabbage or mustard greens and served as a side dish or used as an ingredient for other dishes. Meat stewed with preserved vegetables is one of the Shaoxing's better-known traditonal dishes. Shaoxing stinky tofu, tastes better than it sounds or smells and it's particularly good deep-fried. So, enjoy your travel and dining experience in Shaoxing, I'm YF see you next time!
With that we come to the end of this edition of "China Horizons". As always, we welcome your suggestions and comments. You can send an e-mail message to email@example.com, or write us a letter to: English Service, China Radio International, Beijing, China, postcode, 100040.
If you want to listen to our program again, you can simply log onto our website at www. Crienglish.com, or www.chinabroadcast.cn, I'm Tim Stoney, reminding you that today is China's traditional Lantern Festival. This festival, which falls on the fifteenth day of the first month of the Chinese lunar calendar, marks end of the Chinese New Year celebrations. On this day, everybody displays and appreciates colorful lanterns decorated with birds, beasts and historical figures. Also, it is time to eat rice soup dumplings. The dumplings are round, and symbolize family unity and completeness. So I'm on my way to taste some rice dumplings. Goodbye and see you next week!