Xinghua, a county-level city under the administration of Taizhou city in East China's Jiangsu province, is renowned for its distinctive zaocha, or early breakfast tea, setting it apart from Yangzhou and Taizhou with its diverse offerings and remarkable cost-effectiveness.
To whet the appetite, locals typically enjoy cold dishes like sweet pickled ginger, candied dates, lotus root filled with sticky rice, and Taozhuang beef slices as appetizers.
Following these cold dishes, a variety of hot dishes are served. The 4-yuan ($0.56) gansi – blanched tofu skin shreds adorned with ginger, coriander, carrot shreds, peanuts, and diced pickled turnip – is seasoned to perfection, offers a slightly sweet and umami flavor.
And no zaocha is complete without chasanzi (a flour-made pastry that is covered in brown sugar) and meatball vermicelli soup.
The spotlight then shifts to dim sum, featuring steamed buns, shaomai (a steamed dumpling with thick dough on the top), and steamed dumplings, each in XXXL size to astonish gourmets. Other delicacies include glutinous rice cake, omelettes, pickled radish, and spring rolls.
A must-try is the crab roe bun, which boasts a perfect blend of crab roe and pork, ranking at the pinnacle of its genre.
For those seeking Xinghua dim sum, sharing a table is advisable due to its generous portions. The entire meal typically costs just over 40 yuan per person.
Dishes of Xingua zaocha. [Photo/WeChat account: tztour]
A dish of gansi. [Photo/WeChat account: tztour]
Xinghua crab roe bun with pork and crab roe filling. [Photo/WeChat account: tztour]