Dongpo Pickle: Little Culinary Delight from Meishan to the World

CHENGDU, China, Nov. 12, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The 12th China Pickles Food International Expo and 3rd World Sichuan Cuisine Conference will be held between November 16 and 22, 2020, at Dongpo District in Meishan, China. The Expo is sponsored by the China National Food Industry Association and China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Foodstuffs, and organized by the Sichuan Provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Affairs and Meishan Municipal People’s Government, while this year’s World Sichuan Cuisine Conference is sponsored by the World Federation of Chinese Catering Industry and also organized by the Meishan Municipal People’s Government.

The event will also be broadcasted online, with delegates from 25 nations and regions to partake through the Internet. Meanwhile, more than 1,500 individuals including representatives from over 300 well-known Chinese and foreign enterprises, some 120 professional procurement agencies alongside Sichuan restauranteurs and chefs have confirmed their attendance.

Revolving around the theme of "Healthy Food, World Sharing", the event will spotlight Dongpo pickle, which has conquered the taste buds of countless gastronomes across the globe with its healthily low salt content, crunchy texture, irresistible aroma and unique flavor. The COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged the planet, and the crispy and appetizing Dongpo pickle, a healthy and leisurely consumable, has helped reinvigorate the palate suppressed by the dire circumstance, endowing people with an extra bit of joy in this difficult time. Pairing Dongpo pickle with bread, steak or instant noodles have even emerged as a culinary trend around the world.

Dongpo pickle is named after the revered intellect and gastronome Su Dongpo, who was born in Meishan, the "home of Chinese pickled vegetables", where the custom of pickling foodstuff dates back to three millennia ago. Su Dongpo was a fan of eating and making pickled vegetables, which he used to cook Dongpo ham hock and Dongpo fish, two classic dishes in the Sichuan culinary repertoire. One reason why Sichuan cuisine has swept the world by storm is because of the magic in this seemingly ordinary pickled food, which some call the soul of Sichuan cuisine.

Since the 1980s, the production of Dongpo pickle has shifted from traditional folk workshops toward modernized methods. Today, Meishan is home to more than 60 pickled foods and condiments enterprises capable of processing 2.06 million tons of ingredients and generating sales revenue in excess of RMB20 billion. They account for one third of the entire Chinese market and half of the Sichuan market, with products sold in over one hundred nations and regions around the globe.

Located around the 30th parallel north, Meishan is noted for its mild and comfortable climate that is conducive to the fermentation of Dongpo pickle and the growth of constituent natural ingredients. To guarantee the quality of Dongpo pickle, Meishan not only built the National Pickled Vegetable Quality Inspection Center and founded the Sichuan Dongpo Chinese Paocai Industrial Technology Research Institute, but also pioneered the first pickled vegetable industry standard. The stringent vegetable base product output requirements ensure the standard, quality and safety of raw ingredients used to make pickled vegetables. At present, Meishan is home to 460,000mu of pickled vegetable raw material bases and has established the food safety supervision, monitoring and traceability systems, with 100% agricultural products certified harm-free.

When the fresh, green and ecological vegetables arrive from production base to the enterprise, workers at the Jixiangju Food Co., Ltd. swing into action. They have to pre-process, clean and cut the vegetables within the shortest possible time, then apply pickling materials to preserve the nutrients of the vegetables to the maximum. After months of fermentation, workers would further process and then package the pickled goods. After completing the final pasteurization step, bags of healthy, nutritious and delicious Dongpo pickle are ready to be shipped to corners around the world.

At Sichuan Laotanzi Food Co., Ltd., "Dongpo pickle production technique" intangible cultural heritage inheritor He Yanping produces Dongpo pickle using ancient method that creates a distinct flavor profile. Clean veggies are submerged and sealed in 5,000 ancient ceramic jars that contain old pickling solution, and after undergoing lactic fermentation that lasts several months or even up to a year, vegetables emanate a robust and pure sour fragrance that bestows on Sichuan cuisine a unique, delectable taste. Laotanzi joins the ranks of Jixiangju, Chuannan and Liji Pickle as one of the country’s first pickled vegetable enterprises with independent export operation. Jixiangju even partnered with the Walt Disney Company to collaborate on high-end pickled vegetable products with packaging that features IP imagery such as those of Marvel Comics superheroes, Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse, joining hands with Ironman, Captain America, Thor, Mickey and Minnie in leading a new gastronomic trend.

This year marks the 12th year for Meishan to host the China Pickles Food International Expo, and at every session the Dongpo pickle has always tickled the taste buds of attendees with its crunchy yet soft texture, sour yet tantalizing flavor, and long-lasting after taste. Over the past years, guests had witnessed the evolution and progress of Dongpo pickle, and this little culinary delight has emerged alongside Meishan as yet another brilliant calling cards well-received worldwide.

Source: Dongpo Pickle: Little Culinary Delight from Meishan to the World