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Rings of fiber: local dish on the menu in Chongli

By ZHANG YU in Shijiazhuang | China Daily | Updated: 2020-10-07 10:29
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A Chongli dish made of naked oats resembles the Olympic rings. [Photo/CHINA DAILY]

One of the dishes served up for visitors to Chongli district, Zhangjiakou, Hebei province, when they come for the 2022 Winter Olympics will have a distinctly local flavor.

As a co-host with Beijing, Zhangjiakou will hold most of the Games' snow events in 2022.

"Youmian (or naked oats powder) is a food that we locals eat almost every day," said Hu Zhengde, a senior master chef in Chongli.

In 2018, he led a team in a competition to select dishes to be served at the Winter Olympics.

One of the 10 dishes from his team that were chosen is the "Olympic Rings Youmian"-five wooden steamers containing steamed naked oats resembling the Olympic rings.

"I want to combine the food with elements of the Olympics," he says.

To make the different colors, Hu uses the juices of spinach, carrot, pitaya, green pepper and red cabbage. Mixed with boiled water and the juices, the youmian is kneaded into a dough.

From the dough, many doughnut-like youmian rings are shaped by hand and put into steamers. It will be steamed for about eight minutes, after which it can be eaten together with a sauce made of mushroom and meat.

"It's very delicious," Hu says.

According to Hebei Department of Commerce, an official Chongli menu consisting of 360 dishes, pastries and snacks has been created via selection competitions.

As well as local food in Zhangjiakou, the menu also includes food from other places around the country.

Visitors to Chongli can taste the dishes at their hotels when the Olympic Games are held in 2022.

The 57-year-old Hu is very glad that local youmian has been chosen for the official menu. "It will be known by more people, it's our culture," he says, adding that it is also a very healthy food.

According to Hu, the nutritional value of naked oats is very high.

"Among nine major grains that Chinese people eat, naked oats ranks first in terms of its protein, fat, vitamin, mineral and cellulose content."

The calcium content in naked oats is twice that of wheat, 5.5 times that of rice, 2.3 times that of millet and 1.5 times that of corn, he adds.

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