Tag Archives: Zhenjiang

Zhenjiang’s Cured Meat

Of Zhenjiang’s local specialties, perhaps pot covered noodles 镇江锅盖面 Zhènjiāng guō gài miàn and vinegar are two of the most well known. There is, however, a third: cured pork 肴肉  Yáo ròu. On a recent trip to the city, I had the opportunity to try both. On a menu board, the dish goes by Yao Rou Mian 肴肉面.

The soup itself has a brown soy-based broth that is quite similar to local noodles in other cities. The main difference is in the preparation. As the above cited English name suggests, the noodles are cooked in a covered pot, and that has an effect on both the noodles’ texture and taste.  So how about the meat?

it’s basically cured pork held together with what I gathered was either a gelatin or an aspic.  In many respects, it can be taken as a Chinese version of head cheese — although the two evolved independent of each other.

However, I also highly doubt the meat in the Chinese version comes from a pig’s head. The origin story I read involved accidentally using nitrites instead of salt while preparing a pig’s foot. In my noodles, though, I made the mistake eating one of the slices of yao rou immediately. It was cold. However, I quickly discovered that if you submerged it into the warm soup, the gelatin / aspic dissolved.

This allowed me evenly distribute the remaining bits throughout my noodles. Once I had done this, I enjoyed my soup a little bit more. The meat had the same tough texture as corned beef, but since it was pork, you could easily say the taste was not the same. A friend likened it to ham, but the yao rou I had didn’t have the saltiness I often associate with ham. All in all, this was a satisfying dish, and I imagine I would have it again the next time I am in Zhenjiang.

Ni Hao, Yangzhong

Usually, my first visits to a new city are not all that exciting in terms of adventure. I usually do no planning other than, “Hmm? I have a day off. Where to go?” I arrive at places blind, sometimes, and that’s because sometimes walking into the sheer unknown sounds exciting. That sounds good in theory, but in my experience, it hardly works out. My recent foray into Yangzhong was no different.

This is a city that takes up a one very large island in the Yangtze river, and it technically part of Zhenjiang. It is not as industrialized as other nerby cities like Changzhou or Yangzhou. As some cities go, this one has a a less developed and small town feel. Then again, that’s just an impression based only on a few hours of walking.  Here are some photos from that walk.



This is the long distance bus depot. I live and work in Changzhou, and the ride was an hour and twenty minutes.


I have a trick when I go to a new city for the first time. I pull up Baidu Maps and see if the area has a Starbucks. If so, I make it my mission to find it. Yes, I like coffee, but the practicality is that Starbucks is an expensive luxury for many Chinese people. So, these coffee shops are usually in built up, commercialized areas. Yangzhong, according to Baidu Maps, has only one Starbucks, and so here is what I saw in my trek to that Starbucks.


Eventually, I had to get back to Changzhou because of business / dinner arrangements. I had misjudged how long the ride to this place was. I needed to give myself ample time to get back.


Yangzhong is mostly a rural place, and one of the major industries here, historically, has been farming. When you live in a Chinese city, sometimes you are not used to the wide open spaces that surround place like Yangzhong.

While I didn’t see anything too exciting this time around,  I left saying to myself, “I missed out on something there.” So, I need to go back and find out what that “something” was.

Ni Hao, Danyang

Danyang is a small little city on the periphery and under the jurisdiction of Zhenjiang. The most prevalent industry here is the carving of lenses and the manufacture of eyeglasses.  As of this writing, I have only visited Danyang twice, and the areas I have seen seem bisected by the high speed rail line.  The amount of construction going on here seems to be equal on both sides. This is a city that is steadily expanding and upgrading and growing.

The Shanghai-Nanjing line runs north to south here, and sometimes trains pass through here without stopping as they hurtle towards Zhenjiang or Changzhou (the two stops before and after the city when travelling from Nanjing to Shanghai).

The Western part of the city seems to be home to the downtown. A large city square can be found here with a subterranean supermarket. Also, there are a lot more department stores, boutique shops and more.

The eastern part of the city is home to a large radio tower, and unlike others throughout China, this one is not rigged to light up at night. East of the train tracks is also home to Injoy Plaza. There are Starbucks to be found on both sides of the rail line. So, far, I think the city has four total.

This is just an initial impression of the city. As I said, I have only been here twice, and Danyang does have a northern high speed rail station on the line connecting to Shanghai to Beijing. So, I get the feeling that I am missing out on something here, and that’s why I plan to return a little more often.