Phase 3: Interpreting Information

Updated 1 year 7 months ago

Background Information (from Phase 1):

Restaurants in XiZhou :

-There is a restaurant called the Golden Flower (黄金饭店), and it is considered to be a more "high class" part of the town [1]. It is definitely more spacious and open to customers. There is no menu for the restaurant, instead, the food you receive is based on what is left in the refrigerator [1]. Mr. Yang is the owner of the shop, and he has kept the shop there for 25 years [1]

This is a picture of the golden flower restaurant.

Linden Centre Food:

It is a great eating experience in the Linden Centre. Many dishes there use hot spices from SiChuan [2]. Vegetables are available year round, which provides a limitless menu. Dali fields are extremely fertile, and main crops being rice, rape seeds, beans, maize, and tobacco [2]. The people from Yunnan appreciate dairy products, and their cheese is made from goats milk [2]. A popular street food is to roast the cheese and lather sweet rose flavored paste on it [2]. The Xuanwei Huotui is a strong tasting ham used to add flavor to other dishes [2]. In the spring, tender, emerald green beans are grown and used in various dishes. In the summer, eels are caught in wet rice fields [2]. In the Fall, a large variety of mus hrooms are grown from fields, including chicken tasting mushrooms and moral mushrooms [2]. Various vegetables are grown, like pea-sprouts, Chinese broccoli, different beans, bamboos, lotus roots, and green garlic [2].

Special foods and drinks

Some special foods are the Three course tea, the Dali cold rice noodles with chicken thread, the Mild curd, the XiZhou cake, and the Rice cake shred [3]

These are pictures of the famous local snack or dessert called the baba.
Information From 3-5's:

The dali cheese that the cheese factory produces are a signature food in XiZhou. People deep fry the cheese, and then put sugar on it. To make it, they pour milk onto a hot bowl, and wait until it solidifies. Once it solidifies, the cheesemakers use two big sticks and wraps the cheese around it. Finally they wrap all the cheese onto a giant long bamboo stick and wait for it to dry in bright sunlight. he MiXian is a signature dish made in Yunnan. MiXian is a type of round noodle from rice. The Chef (Ms. Yang) from YangZhuoRan would be a reliabe source because she goes out to buy food from XiZhou and would also know the signature dishes in XiZhou including the recipe and how to cook them. ErSi is a signature dish that is a special type of noodle made from rice, it is stickier than MiXian, and not round but a bit flatter [4]. ErKuai is a signature rice cake that tastes like NianGao but is thinner. The raw pork skin is a local dish that is a popular street food [4]. They use a blow torch to cook the pork skin to make it crispy [4]. The frozen fish is also a signature dish in XiZhou. It is cooked in the daytime and it is served later on when the fish is frozen. The fish is also served with some jelly to add onto the taste [4].

Information From Local Contacts:
XiZhou baba is a famous signature dish that is like a puffy crispy cake. Mr. Wang is a man who makes and sells the XiZhou Baba. He has been producing baba ever since his great-grandfather began creating one of the first babas 200 years ago. His great-grandfather started making babas when he was small, and his grandfather made the XiZhou baba famous [8]. There are 3 types of Baba, one is the plain flavor, one is the sweet flavor, and one is the salty flavor. The plain one is just a fried crispy dough cake. The sweet one has red bean paste, rose flavored paste, and brown sugar. The salty one consists of salty pork and onions [7]. Mr. Wang told us that there are 5 main specialty foods in XiZhou, the baba, the pea noodle, the ErKuai, the brined vegetable, and the pickled vegetable. Mr. Wang told us that most of these specialty foods are already extinct, and most people do not make these signature foods anymore [10]. It is possible that these foods are still made, but possibly not as well done as 200 years ago.

This is the first step of making baba, where Mr. Wang first rolls the dough for the baba with a rolling pin. Then he shapes the baba into a circular shape.

For the next step, Mr. Wang inserts the ingredients inside the baba. The cup with the black sauce is rose aroma, which are for sweet babas. For salty babas, Mr. Wang puts in salt, onions, and pork meat. After putting in the ingredients, he rolls the baba and shapes it into a round ball again.

This is a picture of what a salty baba looks like before it is fried. It is flattened so that the baba can become crispier.
This is a picture of Mr. Wang frying the babas.
Along with the XiZhou baba, the MiXian in Yunnan is also a signature dish. MiXian is a circular noodle made from grinded up rice. With this information, it is possible to interpret that noodles are popular foods in XiZhou. Ms. Zhong's family creates noodles and works in a shop inside YangZhuoRan. She can create both soup MiXian or cold dry noodles. In soup MiXian, she uses pork meat soup, and also adds some spices into the soup. Many of the dishes in XiZhou have a strong flavor and are usually spicy. The dry noodles have vinegar, onions, spice powders, and meat sauce. The MiXian is put into and bowl with the other ingredients and all of them are then mixed together. There are other toppings that can be added to the MiXian like brined or pickled vegetables, onions, and more spicy sauce [11].

This is a picture of a bowl of hot MiXian from Ms. Zhong. It looks extremely spicy but really is not.
While talking to a shop owner called Mr. Yang, he told us that the fish produced from the ErHai lake used for the frozen fish is a signature dish in XiZhou [10]. This is information I already heard about from my interview with Bryce [4]. He told us that the ErHai lake produces some of the finest fish used for the frozen fish dish. He did not tell us much about the fish after that [10].
While walking past the food market, I noticed Ms. Li cooking deep fried barbeque similar to the one I saw in ZhouCheng. She had a barbeque stand, where there were chicken tenders, hotdogs, french fries, and potato wedges. In the middle of her stand, there was an oil pit used to deep fry the foods. She also had different toppings for the skewers next to her barbeque stand, which included spicy powder, onions, and vinegar. Through noticing these toppings, it is clear that spicy powder, onions, and vinegar are all ingredients commonly used [12]. Since I saw the same deep fry barbeque stand in ZhouCheng, I am considering this dish to be a popular dish in XiZhou .

This is a picture of the local snack skewers and the oil pit used to cook it.
When I had a meeting with Fay, we walked past a woman making pea noodles (WanDouFen). Pea noodles are a signature dish in XiZhou. The WanDou (pea) is originally green, but after the proccess of grinding it up and making noodles, it becomes yellow. There are also toppings that can be put onto the bean noodle, like vinegar, spicy powder, onions, and sugar [7]
Here are examples of different types noodles. The circular orange block is the WanDouFen, the beige tube like noodle is actually a flat rice noodle called KuanFen. The yellowish skinny noodles are just regular noodles, otherwise known as MianTiao. The thicker white circular noodles are a Yunnan specialty rice noodle called MiXian.

This is a picture of many ingredients used for WanDouFen. These ingredients include spicy powder, grinded meat sauce, onions, vinegar, soy sauce, and honey.
Ms. Hong is a woman who sells Fried potatoes. Fried potatoes otherwise known as QiCaiTuDou is a signature and popular street food. Ms. Hong's stand is located near the centre or heart of SiFangJie. She told us that potatoes are grown year-round in XiZhou. I've also seen the same QiCaiTuDou stands all over XiZhou. To make the most crispy and crunchy potatoes, she first fills her pot halfway with oil, then puts in perfectly sliced up potatoes inside the oil. When the potatoes are nearly done, she takes out the potatoes and dumps them into a large metal bowl. In her mixing bowl, she adds spicy powder, barbeque powder, salt, and other sauce to enhance the flavors. She will then begin stirring and mixing up the potatoes and the other ingredients to add more flavor to the potatoes. Finally, she puts all the potatoes into a paper bowl and serves the red hot bowl of potatoes to you [9]. A medium bowl is usually the right size for 2-3 people, but when you have a large group a large bowl would be fine. 

This is the banner for the Fried Potato Stand. There are many different sizes for the bowls, including a big bowl costing 6 rmb, a medium bowl costing 4 rmb, and a small bowl costing 3 rmb. In Chinese, there are also different flavors for your potatoes. There are spicy potatoes, salty potatoes, sour and spicy potatoes, ketchup potatoes, curry potatoes, and BBQ potatoes.

This is the pot of oil used to deep fry the potatoes.

These are all of the toppings used for potatoes, some include BBQ powder, curry powder, soy sauce, spicy powder, and ketchup. 
Ms. Zhang is a local woman near YangZhuoRan in the cheese factory. Ms. Zhang makes RuShan, a dried cheese product, which is a popular snack or dessert in XiZhou. RuShan is named after the chinese name Shan, which means fan. It is named after the fan because of its looks, a fried thin layer of cheese. The RuShan is best topped with sugar or salt to taste like a dessert [4]. While looking at Ms. Zhang make RuShan, it seems easy, but in reality, it is extremely difficult. The proccess of making RuShan is complicated, and requires a variety of tools. First, she pours curd and milk into a warm pot, and then stirs the liquid and waits for the milk to solidify. Once it does, she picks it up with a flat plastic tool and uses it to make the cheese stick together. Then, she uses her palm and fingers to squish the cheese, making it soft and squishy. After that, she uses two large chopstick and wraps the cheese around the chopsticks. Finally, she wraps the cheese from the chopsticks to a two meter bamboo stick and leaves it in the sun to dry. Ultimately, the RuShan will dry up and turn hard but still stays soft enough to become a dessert. The bamboo stick can only fill up to 6 RuShans. Ms. Zhang works 2 and a half hour each day to make 50 RuShans. This information is relevant to my topic because it tells me a signature snack and dessert of XiZhou [13].

In this step, Ms. Zhang is pouring milk and curd into her pot to solidify the RuShan.

In this step, Ms. Zhang is stirring the mixure of curd and milk in a pot using a large spoon.
This is an image of a finished RuShan, and being dried in the sunlight.

Here is a picture of me milking the cow to produce milk for some RuShan.
When I was interviewing Ms. Yang, our chef from YangZhuoRan, I asked her a series of questions relating to my hanger. First of all, she told me each season in XiZhou has its own special crops grown. In the springs green peas and carrots are everywhere. During the Summer, pumpkins and wintermelons are produced. When it's autumn, wild mushrooms are grown on mountains, and people harvest them to make common daily meals. During the winter, soy beans are grown, and these beans are used to produce tofu. Ms. Yang also told me that a common meal in XiZhou households contain 2 dishes like fish, vegetables, or meat, and also a soup [14]. Through this information, I interpreted that households in XiZhou do not eat much compared to what I eat at home: 4 dishes and 1 soup.
Ms. Ma is a local ErKuai and ErSi Vendo. ErKuai and ErSi are similar signature foods from XiZhou, Erkuai is a rice cake and ErSi is a rice noodle. ErKuai is made from grinded up steamed up steamed rice, and then the steam rice is put into a machine which sticks all the grinded up rice into a block. The block can now be used for two purposes, to make ErKuai or ErSi. To make ErKuai, Ms. Ma cuts up the block of rice into thin slices. The slices can now be fried and made into ErKuai. The ErKuai has a variety of flavors, including normal (non-spicy), spicy, sweet, and salty. Different ingredients can be put into the ErKuai to make it into a burrito-like pancake. Toppings like chicken, ham, bacon, sausages, shredded potatoes, peanut butter, and onions. ErSi is a rice noodle made by cutting up thin flat noodles from the block of rice stuck together. ErSi can fried or boiled in soup, and it can also have many different flavors. There are spicy ErSi, normal ErSi, and vegetable ErSi [15][16]17].

This is a picture of Ms. Ma frying a chicken sausage for the ErKuai.

This is an image of Ms. Ma adding shredded potatoes to the ErKuai.
This is an image of a completed ErKuai, and it looks very much like a chinese burrito?
Answers to Previous Questions (from Phase 1):

1: What are some specialty or signature foods in XiZhou? Why are they considered a signature food? 
The XiZhou baba is a signature food because many people eat it as a popular dessert [8].

2: What is the recipe and cooking directions for one of the special foods in XiZhou?
For the sweet baba, you first roll the dough, then you put rose flavored sauce, red bean paste, and brown sugar on it. Then, you lather pork oil on the baba, after that  you roll up the baba and flatten it one last time. When it is finally flattened, put it on the hot stove and wait for it to become crispy and delicious [8].

3: What is the normal flavoring for food in XiZhou?
Food in XiZhou are usually flavored to be spicy with spicy powders or sour with vinegar. Flavoring in XiZhou has a stronger taste that foods in Shanghai [5][9][11][12].

4: What is are some common dishes served in homes of citizens in XiZhou? For example what is normally served for breakfast, lunch, or dinner?
MiXian is a commonly eaten food because it can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner [11].

5: What is a beloved dessert in XiZhou?
The XiZhou baba is a deloved desert because it is a signature dish and is very popular in XiZhou [4][8].

6: What crops used most often for dishes in XiZhou?
Onions are commonly used in every dish as well as peppers to add spice. Onions are used as toppings and peppers strengthen the flavor [5][9][11][12].

7: What type of meat do the XiZhou people eat most?
Pork is used in many dishes, but in the Muslim area of XiZhou, pork is used less [14].

8: What is a more popular restaurant in XiZhou?
The Dali Old Town Snacks restaurant is a popular restaurant because many children go to eat there after school, so it has become a popular place for people to eat [11].

9: Are there any foods that are picked off from or improved from neighbor provinces from XiZhou?
The MiXian is eaten all over Yunnan, but the MiXian is XiZhou has it's own special soup and taste [4][11].

10: What are some special foods eaten in holidays, festivals, or any other special celebration?
I will not be answering this question because it does not relate to my hanger.

Hanger (Phase 4): My hanger will focus on what would a meal of signature foods from XiZhou have? Some points I need to focus on are recipes/ingredients for signature foods, steps to make the foods, and also background information on them. 

Moving onto Phase 4:

In phase 4, I will be working on my hanger, and developing who my audience and what my final product will be. I will know when I am ready to move on when I have collected all the information I need for my hanger. I will also know when I am able to move on to phase 4 when I am confident and capable of answering questions on signature foods in XiZhou.


1: Online: Ivy, Microcampus blog,, accessed 11 November 2013

2: Online: Linden Centre Staff, Information on Linden Centre,, accessed 11 November 2013

3: Online: Easy Tour China Travel Co., Ltd., Information on food in XiZhou,

4: Bryce, Linden, XiaoTang. Personal Interview conducted by Vincent C, 25 November 2013

5: Fay. Personal Interview conducted by Vincent C, 25 November 2013

6: Craig, Tafel. Peronal Interview conducted by Vincent C, 25 November 2013

7: Fay. Personal Interview conducted by Vincent C, 28 November 2013

8: Mr. Wang. Personal Interview conducted by Vincent C and Michael C, 29 November 2013

9: Ms. Hong. Personal Interview conducted by Vincent C, 29 November 2013

10: Mr. Yang. Personal Interview conducted by Vincent C, 29 November 2013

11: Ms. Zhong. Personal Interview conducted by Vincent C, 29 November 2013.

12: Ms. Li. Personal Interview conducted by Vincent C, 29 November 2013.

13: Ms. Zhang. Personal Interview conducted by Vincent C, 29 November 2013.

14: Ms. Yang. Personal Interview conducted by Vincent C, 10 December 2013.

15: Ms. Ma (1). Personal Interview conducted by Vincent C, 11 December 2013.

16: Ms. Ma (2). Personal Interview conducted by Vincent C, 11 December 2013.

17: Ms. Ma (3). Personal Interview conducted by Vincent C, 11 December 2013.


Interesting Project

Good job Mr. Chong. I'm proud of your work. It is very interesting. Are you doing the same project as Michael? About food? Cool project anyways. Keep up the awesome work.

Hi! My name is Vincent, and this year I am 13 years old. I was born in Canada. I go to school In Shanghai American School's 8th grade. I lived YangZhuoRan, and I already finished investigating my inquiry project, which is about local foods and cuisine in XiZhou. I enjoyed my stay at the Microcampus site in XiZhou. I enjoy playing badminton, tennis, volleyball, and floor hockey.