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Food@PKU | A taste of Zhuzhou cuisine (and culture) at PKU
Oct 16, 2023
from clipboard"Taste of Zhuzhou" event at PKU fosters intercultural understanding, PKU News journalists report

Peking University, October 15, 2023: Steamed fish topped with chopped chili, Liling (醴陵) fried noodles, Chaling (茶陵) beef stew… Peking University students were spoiled for choice at the three-day "Taste of Zhuzhou" event held at Jiayuan and Xinyuan canteens.

From Oct. 12 to Oct. 14, PKUers had the luxury of trying 29 regional dishes from the city of Zhuzhou on campus. Located in the southeast of China's Hunan Province, and bordering Jiangxi Province, Zhuzhou is home to the delectable cuisine that offers the best of both provinces, with a signature punch of spice in many dishes.

“This was definitely one of the most exciting meals my friends and I have had in school,” raved Jakob Bull from Germany. The second-year graduate student at Yenching Academy queued in line for a plate of Liling fried noodles after his girlfriend, who is a Liling native, recommended this event to him. “Compared to food from Northern China, I find (Zhuzhou food) fresher and spicier in taste.”

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Zhuzhou dishes at Jiayuan Canteen

Deng Jiewen, a first-year graduate student at the School of Foreign Languages, brought his international friends to try out Zhuzhou cuisine. “As a Hunan native,” commented Deng, who comes from the city of Huaihua, “the dishes looked authentic but lacked a bit in flavor.” However, his acquaintance Oliver Cutts, from the United Kingdom, was won over by the chicken and wood ear mushroom stir-fry. “I don’t usually go for meat dishes, but the chicken was good,” the freshman at Yenching Academy said. “I would travel to Zhuzhou for this dish!”

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Chefs from Zhuzhou cater for PKU students and teachers

Artists from Zhuzhou also brought to the table exciting performances right in the middle of Jiayuan canteen. 

The opera performance “Spring Breeze in Zhuzhou” featured traditional opera singing techniques, accompanied by specially written lyrics that introduce the attractions and achievements of Zhuzhou.

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Zhuzhou opera performance at PKU

Booths at the entrance of the canteen also showcased the rich history of Zhuzhou, where the tomb of Yan Emperor is located. In recent years, Zhuzhou is also known for being a city of rapid development, as it produced the first electric locomotive made in China. Zhuzhou is a city that perfectly combines tradition with modernity, just as how the gentle demeanor of native Hakka people counteracts the spiciness of Zhuzhou cuisine.

Written by: Yu Peijia, Wu Jiayun
Edited by: Dennis Meng
Photos by: Courtesy of the organizers, Peking University Center of Dining Service, Wu Jiayun, Zhu Chengxuan
Cover photo: Canva