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Jinxian Youta: Unraveling the Flavors of Shaanxi Cuisine

If you want to experience what true royalties ate in Ancient China, then Jinxian Youta, or Steamed Twist Roll, is a perfect choice. 

At first glance, the Steamed Twist Roll presents itself as a work of art, its layers resembling delicate strands of golden thread meticulously intertwined. “Jinxian Youta,” meaning “golden thread oil pagoda” in Chinese, perfectly captures its characteristics. Its shape is described as ‘resembling lifted golden threads and, when placed down, resembling a pine pagoda,’ hence its name. 

Its appearance is akin to delicate golden threads entwined, offering a soft and moist texture upon tasting. It is oily yet not greasy, and nutritionally rich. When paired with sour pickled vegetables, sweet bean sauce, and slices of green onions, along with almond sweet paste, it becomes even more refreshing and flavorful, leaving a distinct and enjoyable taste.

As an Intangible Cultural Heritage, Jinxian Youta is the royalty in snacks and demands exceptionally intricate techniques for preparation. According to the records in “Qing Yi Lu,” during the reign of Emperor Mu of the Tang Dynasty, there was a housekeeper in the residence of Prime Minister Duan Wenchang known as the “culinary ancestor” who excelled in making this type of oil pagoda, displaying exceptional skill. Over a span of more than 40 years, she imparted this craft to over 100 servant girls. It is said that only 9 of these maids truly mastered the authentic technique. In local folklore in Xi’an, it is believed that there is only one person who can genuinely inherit the art of making “You Ta” from the old housekeeper in Prime Minister Duan’s residence, highlighting the difficulty.

The preparation involves a meticulous selection of high-quality ingredients, with a focus on fine wheat flour and a touch of culinary alchemy. The dough undergoes a process of fermentation that results in a light, non-greasy texture that sets this delicacy apart. The Steamed Twist Roll is not merely a treat for the taste buds; it’s a journey through time, blending ancient culinary wisdom with contemporary techniques.

In a world where culinary innovation meets time-honored tradition, the Steamed Twist Roll emerges as a shining star, inviting food enthusiasts to savor the magic woven into each layer. As you embark on this culinary journey, let the enchantment of the Steamed Twist Roll transport you to a realm where history and innovation coalesce in a symphony of flavors and textures.

About Bolin Miao

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