Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Preserved Meat at Chinatown Chinese New Year Bazaar Part 2
One of the unusual foods you'd find during this Chinese New Year season is the cured ham such as the Jinhua ham below that takes about 8-10 months before it is mature and ready to eat, hence the preciousness and the price.
Jinhua ham 金华火腿 is China's traditional preserved meat used in soup broths for cooking purposes, makes the soup tastes deliciously thick, therefore can be found in a lot of delicacies that uses expensive & exquisite ingredients.
According to historical records, the region of Jinhua has been known to produce leg hams for the past 900 years. With such history comes with many tales about the origin of the Jinhua ham 金华火腿.
Legend has it that when Song Dynasty Emperor Song Gao Zhong 宋高宗 named Zhao Gou 赵构 travelled south, upon reaching patriotic Song General Zong Ze's宗泽 hometown Jinhua in Yi Wu province, the villagers served the soldiers with preserved meat that was marinated with salt & dried. This turned out to be a deliciously fragrant meal for them. The soldiers fondly named the meat as Zong Ze 宗泽 hometown meat! This was the predecessor to the Kim Hwa leg ham.
Sometime later Zong Ze宗泽 hometown meat become part of the people's tribute offerings to the Song Emperor, who beholding the red fiery hue of the ham when it was cut, named it Jinhua fiery ham 金华火腿. In the early days the people used fire to smoke the ham, thence the name fiery ham 火腿.
Back in 1915, Jinhua ham was awarded the First Grade Prize at the Panama International Merchandise Exhibition.