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A taste of China / Food & Drink

What is the Dai Flavor?

By Jocelyn Yi

April 28

The Dai like spicy dishes very much, and add peppers in dipping sauces and when stir-frying vegetables and boiling fish.

The Dai like spicy dishes very much, and add peppers in dipping sauces and when stir-frying vegetables and boiling fish.

The Dai people are known for both their festivals and delicious food. What is the Dai flavor like?
Every year in the middle of April, the Dai (a minority nationality) living in Yunnan Province will celebrate their new year by holding the Water-Sprinkling Festival, which is not only a carnival but a good time to taste delicious Dai food, which tastes sour, sweet, bitter and spicy.
Dishes in sour flavors are based on pickles, sour bamboo shoots, sour papaya and other ingredients and are cooked with fish, chicken, pork and potatoes.
The most popular sweet dish is pineapple steamed rice, neither oily or overly sweet, and mixed with pineapple meat and glutinous rice.
The Dai like spicy dishes very much, and add peppers in dipping sauces and when stir-frying vegetables and boiling fish. In addition, they also like bitter flavors, which are thought effective in combating summer heat. Due to the hot and humid weather, raw vegetables such as cabbage, lettuce, carrot and cucumber with homemade dipping sauce are definitely indispensable for the Dai during summer nights.
Dai barbecue is anther tasty treat you cannot miss, in addition to chicken, grilled pork, grilled fish with lemongrass and grilled banana leaf-wrapped tofu and enoki mushroom.

What are the specialties of Dai food?

1. Sapie

A bowl of cold rice noodles with cured beef, served with specially made lemon sauce or bitter sauce. [Image Credit: Dehong.gov.cn]
2. Grilled fish with lemongrass

A fish tied with lemongrass, fixed by bamboo pieces and grilled with chopped onions, ginger, garlic, green pepper, coriander and other condiments stuffed into the belly of the fish. [Image Credit: China.org.cn/Jocelyn Yi]

3.  Paoluda

A cold beverage mixed with sago, condensed milk, creamy crispy bread, shredded coconut and crushed ice.
[Image Credit: yn.xinhuanet.com]
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