This time we watched an episode of document series called A Bite of China. The programme presents not only different kind of traditional Chinese foods and regional differences, but where and how people get all the ingredients. It demands a lot of know-how to find matsutakes or dig lotus roots.
Matsutake is a very expensive mushroom because it is quite rare and hard to find. It demands certain type of environment to grow and that kind of forests don’t exist anymore that much. Beside of that matsutakes are hidden under the moss. In a document, old woman who has collected matsutakes for years said that normally you find one matsutake per one kilometre.
The other interesting thing in the document was how people collect lotus roots. Roots are deep in the soil of pond or river bottom so it is not exactly easy to dig them up. Roots are also quite big and you must be careful not to break the roots with your shovel. Roots can only be harvested by hand so the work can be physically challenging. Harvesting time is usually in late summer right after the plants has produced seeds and started to dry out.
The document taught a lot about Chinese food culture. It is fascinating to learn how the food ends to your plate. How ingredients are grown, collected, cooked and why they are served in certain style and certain plates or bowls. All the episodes of the document can be found in Youtube so I will probably watch them all to learn how to cook authentic Chinese food.