Quaint town is home to hidden treasures
Updated: 2013-01-24 10:51
By Sindy Chan (China Daily)
Boiling hot summers attract the bugs, bitterly cold winters bring frost and rain, autumns are too dry and springs too humid. These are the challenges nature brings to Baiwan, a mountainous town in northern Guangdong province.
Despite the extreme weather conditions, cassava, corn, soybean, peanut, sweet potato, vegetable and rice grow out of the infertile soil.
These fruits of the earth produce some of the loveliest local delicacies: cakes made of cassava flour, porridge cooked using corn powder mixed with rice, nutritious milk and bean curd from soybeans, cooking oil extracted from peanuts and delicious and healthy steamed or baked sweet potatoes.
Children in the town are familiar with a fun way of baking sweet potatoes in the fields. First, dig a big hole on the ground, then stack up rounded mud balls to form a "beehive" and put in charcoal pieces to heat up the beehive.
When the mud is heated up, remove the coals, place the sweet potatoes between the mud balls and collapse the beehive. Within 30 minutes, you will get mouthwatering sweet potatoes baked using hot mud.
If you visit Baiwan and see people baking in the fields, it is worth buying a couple of sweet potatoes or whatever is cooking to taste the difference.
Baiwan farmers are also well-known for their meat products. Tasty tender chicken and meaty pork cooked in the local style are some of the must-try dishes.
Because of the high concentration of limestone, water in Baiwan is rich in calcium, which strengthens bones and teeth.
But the true attraction of Baiwan lies in its primitiveness. It is common to see village women carrying bamboo shoots freshly picked from the forest or drying yuba or bean-curd skin under the house eaves.