Large meatballs - hometown flavor of Huai’an
2017-11-02 16:52:00


Large meatballs, shizitou in Chinese, are a famous traditional dish in Huaiyang cuisine.

To make the dish, mix fatty and lean meat in a 6-to-4 ratio, and add onions, ginger and eggs. Then chop the mixture into ground meat and knead into meatballs about the size of your fist. Finally, braise the meatballs over low heat for around 40 minutes, and the dish is ready to serve.

This dish is fatty but not greasy. It was first cooked during the reign of Emperor Yang of the Sui Dynasty (581-618). Later, when Duke Xun Wei Zhi of the Tang Dynasty (618-907) gave a banquet at his home, this dish looked like the head of a male lion, with the minced fatty meat on the surface dissolved or half-dissolved, and the minced lean meat standing out. So this dish became known as shizitou, meaning lion head in Chinese.

Premier Zhou Enlai was born in Huai’an, the birthplace of Huaiyang cuisine. Braised meatballs in brown sauce was one of his favorite dishes. Zhou Enlai would invite workers of his office for a reunion dinner every Spring Festival, and braised meatballs in brown sauce was his specialty and a must-have dish.

Nowadays, this dish has become common. Some also add chestnuts in the autumn or freshwater mussels in the spring to enhance the flavor of the dish.

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