Tuesday, October 28, 2008
The street vendors are back in force now, bringing with them the foods of the autumn season.
Some sell roasted yams, and others a green-brown fruit on a stick.
They're called jujubes, or Chinese dates. Over time they lose their green colour, then when dried, the flesh is softer and becomes hong zao, or red dates that are commonly used in Chinese cooking and soups.
Fresh jujubes are in season now. They're oval-shaped, and raw they taste like mini apples without much of a crunch and have pits in them.
They are quite enticing when several of them are lined on a stick and then coated in a hard sugar coating. Some are then decorated with sprinkled sesame seeds or peanuts.
I finally tried this Beijing snack the other week when my colleagues and I stepped out for lunch and saw a vendor selling these red-beaded sticks.
We got one with peanuts that was 1.50RMB and I took a bite. Since the jujubes aren't that sweet, the sugar coating makes for a nice combination.
Later did I find out that fresh jujubes have a high vitamin C content -- if you eat about eight of them, that's enough for one adult's recommended intake.
I'll remember that the next time I see a jujube vendor again...