No Chinese New Year celebrations in Jiangsu province are complete without consuming a slab or two of ribs. The tangy, East China style of cooking ribs is nationally acclaimed. However, as China Central Television (CCTV) recently sought to prove, you need to leave the cities to uncover its truly authentic recipes.
After extensive research, the CCTV crew decided the small village of Doushan was the ideal setting to sample traditional Wuxi fare and capture the ways in which locals have celebrated the Lunar New Year for centuries. The program's director certainly echoed these thoughts about the village located 20 kilometers from downtown Wuxi.
Yu Shigao, master chef at Shenyu Rouzhuang restaurant, showcases his fine cooking skills to CCTV reporters as he whips up some classic Wuxi sauced spare ribs. [Photo/Chen Huichu]
"It is the perfect place to capture some of the city's oldest tastes." He was also impressed by the area's beautiful natural environment, vividly representative of classic countryside living, and enduring folk culture.
It is often said Wuxi has three specialties; fried gluten puffs, Huishan clay figurines, and spare ribs. The ribs hold arguably the highest status and one individual ensuring this reputation continues is Wang Xinyi, owner of the family restaurant Shenyu Rouzhuang currently in its fourth generation.
The restaurant is famed for its spare ribs and is a time-honored local brand with a successful branch prominently placed on Zhongshan Road in downtown Wuxi. Wang, together with head chef Yu Shigao, showed CCTV and its viewers the vintage cooking techniques that have helped raise the restaurant to its elevated status.