Culinary voyage upstream

By Li Yingxue | China Daily | Updated: 2019-11-01 08:22
The newly-opened Qingshuiting in Beijing serves authentic flavors of Hubei cuisine, with most of the ingredients shipped directly from the province to the capital.[Photo provided to China Daily]

Big or small, the tastes and flavors of the fish shipped in from the fresh waters of Hubei province are delighting diners at Qingshuiting, a newly-opened regional eatery in the capital, Li Yingxue reports.

Culter alburuns is a grumpy and panicky fish-but an extremely delicious one too. They are also picky about the quality of water they inhabit and they rarely survive outside of the waters of the Danjiang River Reservoir in Danjiangkou, Hubei province.

It's also rare for Hubei natives to catch a glimpse of the fish alive, let alone on a plate, so it's a privilege for diners at Qingshuiting, a newlyopened Hubei eatery in the capital, to see their fish before it's steamed and served up at their table within the space of just 13 minutes.

The live fish are transported from the reservoir to the capital by water truck-a 1,200-kilometer journey that takes nearly 20 hours.

"The fish is so fresh that it takes less time to steam than others," says head chef Liu Guanghu.

Liu has a few tricks to tell whether a fish is still alive before it's cooked. One clue is that their eyes tend to pop out rather than cave in when they are steamed alive. Another is that the flesh of the fresh fish spreads out like it's flying when it's steamed, rather than remain flat and listless.

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