Su’s Wild South sights at Huizhou

Huizhou is a city located in central Guangdong province in the south. Part of the Pearl River Delta, Huizhou borders the provincial capital of Guangzhou to the west,Shenzhen and Dongguan to the southwest, South China Sea to the south. Its southern part (Huiyang district) is a part of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen built-up area, the biggest built-up area in the world with more than over 44 million inhabitants encompassing the whole Shenzhen known for electronic manufacturing.

The city also has a West Lake where Su and his concubine Morning Cloud strolled.

Huizhou West Lake

A pagoda named “Six Metaphors” after the last lines Morning Cloud recited from the Diamond Sutra at her death.

“All laws of actions are
like dream, mirage, bubble and shadow
as dew and lightning.
It should be observed as such.”

Pagoda and Morning Cloud's grave

You can see her grave right behind the Pagoda and there are statues of Morning Cloud and Su on site.

Statue of Morning Cloud Dong Po and Morning Cloud statue

Elephant Head Mountain mentioned in the second Novella is 18 kilometres away from the Huizhou city area. 

Other than the exotic fruits and lychee poetry, Su also wrote about locals eating rats in the Wild South. It is interesting to read Peter Hessler’s first chapter “Wild Flavor” in “Strange Stone: Dispatches from East and West” inviting readers along on a taste test between two rat restaurants in South China.

History and Culture of Dong Po Pork

Dongpo Pork is the most famous cuisine of Hangzhou both for its cultural legacy and taste.  It was first documented in Ode to Pork when Su Shih was banished in Huangzhou (Today’s HuangGang City of Hubei province) where he took on the name Dong Po, but best known as Hangzhou cuisine.

When Su returned to Hangzhou as governor the second time, he led the people to dredge West Lake. The people loved him so much that they carried a large amount of pork and wine to show their appreciation for him. Su Dongpo cooked and then distributed the pork workers who contributed to the dredging. They named it Dongpo Pork.

Jade Dong Po Meat

This piece of tender, juicy, melting-right-in-mouth Dongpo pork is a hard, cold stone transformed along with “Jadeite cabbage” into two of National Palace Museum’s most famous masterpieces . It is quartz curio of jasper chlcedony.

Dong Po Meat Recipe

Dongpo Pork is Hangzhou’s most famous cuisine for its great taste and  cultural legacy. The main ingredient is pork, exactly an approximately 2-inch square pork comprised of half fat meat and half lean meat. It is fat but not greasy, also with some fragrance of wine. You will need at least four hours to make dongpo pork during which time it is simmered twice, braised, sautéd and steamed.

Dong Po Meat

Ingredients (Serves 4)
1 kg (2.2 lb) piece pork belly
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon tea leaves
4 stalks spring onions
7 cm (3″) length fresh, young ginger, sliced lengthways into matchstick widths
Optional: 300 g (11 oz) broccoli, cut into small florets
Sauce Ingredients
1 cup water
8 cloves garlic, lightly crushed
5 slices old ginger (or 7 slices young ginger)
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons yellow  wine (e.g. Shaoxing wine) or rice wine
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons sugar
Thickening: 1 teaspoon corn flour, 1 tablespoon water, stirred well before use.

You can also watch CCTV Chinese cooking Dung Po Pork Most authentic recipe below

Here are the detailed steps if needed.

  1. Blanch pork in a pot of boiling water. Throw out the water.
  2. Put pork back in pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, and simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. Heat a wok and add sauce ingredients. Mix well and bring to a boil. Add pork and cook each surface for a few minutes over a medium heat. Remove pork and drain well. Pour remaining sauce into a small saucepan and set aside.
  4. Clean and drain wok. Heat vegetable oil to a medium heat. Fry pork on all sides until it is well browned, making sure skin side is a little crispy.
  5. Steep tea leaves in hot water for a couple of minutes, remove and set aside. Place pork in pot of water again–topping up water if necessary. Add tea leaves and simmer for 30 minutes.
  6. Place scallion stalks on bottom of a steamer. Transfer pork to steamer. Steam for 2 hours, turning pork after 1 hour (because of long steaming time, you may need to replenish steamer water).
  7. Add broccoli to steamer for final 5 minutes of cooking time (boil it separately for 3 minutes if there is no room in steamer.
  8. Remove pork to a serving dish and arrange broccoli around it. Reheat sauce in saucepan, adding and stirring in thickener. Pour over pork and serve.
  9. Garnish with young ginger slivers, which are meant to be eaten.

Notes: The leftover simmer water makes a good pork stock starter.

Ode to Pork

Wash the pot clean,
Put a little water,
Keep the stove fire small.
Let the meat cook by itself, don’t rush it.
It will be delicious when it is well cooked.
Yellow District’s pork is good
but dirt cheap
The noble would not eat it,
the poor does not understand cooking.
Scoop two bowls in the morning
A belly full, others cannot bother me.

Dong Po Meat

Recipe and demo on Dong Po Meat