What is it?
Xuanwei is to the Chinese what Iberian ham is to the Spanish. Salty, savoury, and chewy, the dry-cured ham is often used in Chinese cooking to flavour stewed and braised foods. It is used in broth and soup stock too.
One of the most popular Yunnan dishes is slivers of Xuanwei ham sandwiched between thick slices of winter melon, and put in the steamer for 10 minutes.
And the name…
Xuanwei ham is named after the city of Xuanwei in Yunnan, where it is produced.
The Yunnan ham is usually processed during the winter. The best hogs are salted and then cured until they develop a mahogany colour and a smoky aroma. The ham should have a pungent flavour and a firm (but never leathery) texture.
When to eat it?
Xuanwei ham is available all year round.
Where to find it?
You can try your local specialty store, as Yunnan ham is now exported to the US and Europe.
To sample the most authentic Yunnan cuisine, go to Feng Huang Zhu, Dongcheng District, Gulou Dajie, 25 Lingdang Hutong, Beijing (Tel: +86-10-6402-0227).
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