Although intake of too much nitrite is unhealthy, moderate quantity of pot-stewed foods are enjoyable, especially in Huai’an.
People in Huai’an do have a talent in making pot-stewed foods. Soybean paste made by my grandma is unbelievably better than those sold in supermarkets, various self-made pickled vegetables (lettuce, cucumber, radish, etc.) in my hometown are also very delicious, not inferior in any respect than products of those famous pickle factories.
Even pickled mustard tubers sold in food markets in Huai’an are far better than those in Nanjing.
If you prefer stewed meat than vegetables, then Huai’an can just suit your taste better. Whether people admit it or not, “Spicy Goose” (麻辣鹅) has become a local specialty which can be found everywhere in Huai’an.
This kind of deeply loved stewed meat is said to come from a city of Sichuan province called Luzhou, and people who sold it in Huai’an often speak with foreign accent, but Huai’an turns to be its best haven. And it’s weird that you cannot find it even in Nanjing, the nearest big city; thus, Huai’an people living in Nanjing have to come back to eat spicy goose.
Speaking of Nanjing, the city is famous for roast duck and boiled salted duck, but the former is comparatively sweet, making it not a typical pot-stewed food, and the latter is so hard to make that only several shops provide high-quality boiled salted ducks. Most salted ducks you can find in Nanjing either have a fishy smell or taste not good. Spicy goose faces a similar situation but you have a bigger chance to get a qualified one in Huai’an.
The different tastes of a same product category in Nanjing and Huai’an are more persuasive – stewed chicken feet. I bought some stewed chicken feet from an inconspicuous shop in Huai’an recently, and I was stunned by its taste. It’s just as good as the best packaged stewed chicken feet produced by big enterprises, and is much better than any self-made ones in Nanjing.
Excellence of pot-stewed foods in Huai’an can be attributed to the heavy taste and culinary legacy of Huai’an people – inherited via Huaiyang dishes. Such taste and gift make Huai’an a haven of pot-stewed foods – local people become good at making them and masters from other places also gather here.