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Delicacies from All Over

http://www.chinese.cn 12:28, December 10, 2009 China Internation Press

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The Chinese are accustomed to calling all kinds of delicious fare "rare tastes from the mountains and seas." These delicacies include bear paws, bird's nest, Shark-wing, sea cucumbers, elephant trunk, camel's hump, deer tail, monkey brain and the like. The ancient Chinese listed "eight treasured foods" as the cream of the crop.Bear's paw was at the top of the list. Actually, the bear's paw itself has no flavor, but relies on the many high-grade ingredients that are slowly simmered with it. Sometimes the process can take as long as two to three days. After the paw absorbs all the wonderfully flavored juices, it is braised or stewed. Either way, after all the essence extraction, it would be strange if the paw does not taste good! The bird's nest is nothing but the nests of the esculent swift, a bird that builds its nest on seaside cliffs.But the esculent swift preys on small fish, shrimp and seaweed, and the nest is made of the bird's saliva, thus it is very nutritious with very high protein. Shark-wing is really shark's fin. Sea cucumber is a kind of soft-bodiedsea animal with thorns. Shark's fin banquets and sea cucumber feasts were all rather grand ceremonial banquets in China's past.

The duck, in traditional Chinese medicine, is a premium tonic food. The Chinese believe eating ducks regularly is beneficial to health
The duck, in traditional Chinese medicine, is a premium tonic food. The Chinese believe eating ducks regularly is beneficial to health. (Photo by Feng Gang)

Several years ago, the Lamb Hotpot was still a premium treat for guests. The host and guests sit around the hotpot, conversing freely while savoring the delicious food. Aroma of the meat is most satisfying and people feel a strong sense of affection
Several years ago, the Lamb Hotpot was still a premium treat for guests. The host and guests sit around the hotpot, conversing freely while savoring the delicious food. Aroma of the meat is most satisfying and people feel a strong sense of affection. (Photo by Roy Dang, provided by Imaginechina)

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