食光 | 北京人的面食记忆

京食京事儿2020-06-01 10:58:06



Beijingers’ Memories of Cooked Wheaten Food 


Nowadays, speaking of the specialties and food culture in Beijing, there must be Beijing roast duck, Beijing hotpot, noodles with fried soybean sauce; or the boiled pork giblets, fried liver, glutinous rice rolls with sweet bean flour. These are all well-known delicacies. Today, let's talk about the cooked wheaten food that are Beijingers’ favorite. During the Ming and Qing Dynasties, the crop distribution of the southern rice and the northern wheat was fully formed. Naturally, the diet was also in a similar situation that “Southern people liked eating rice and northern people liked eating cooked wheaten food.” On the tables of Beijingers’ you can easily find a variety of cooked wheaten food, such as steamed wheaten food, boiled wheaten food, and fried wheaten food. Those that are often mentioned are noodles with fried soybean sauce, the Qingfeng steamed buns which was tasted by President Xi Jinping, and the pancakes served together with the roast duck, etc. As a girl who is indeed fond of eating, I walked through the streets to interview  some people (freeloading actually) and have discovered a lot of unusual cooked wheaten food which is rarely seen in the restaurants. Today, I’m going to talk about the memories of cooked wheaten food from these local Beijingers.

如今,说起老北京的特色美食及饮食文化,开口就是烤鸭、涮肉、炸酱面;要不就是卤煮、炒肝、驴打滚。这些都是大家熟知的美味。今天我们来说说北京人爱吃的面食。明清时南稻北麦的作物分布,已经完全成型,饮食上自然也是“南人饭米,北人饭面”的局面。北京人餐桌上的面食可谓是五花八门儿,蒸的、煮的、煎的、炒的。经常提到的有老北京炸酱面、庆丰包子、还有小伙伴说烤鸭里的卷饼... ... 作为一个爱吃的猪猪女孩,我走街串巷采访大家(去别人家蹭吃蹭喝)发掘了很多餐馆里不常见的面食。今天就来给大家讲一讲我采访的这些老北京人的面食记忆。


Yang Yang Yang


 24 years old


 A Beijing girl who lives in Fangshan District.

When it comes to cooked wheaten food, what I remember the most is the Hutazi, also known as Tantuozi, which is a kind of soft pancake made of flour, shredded zucchini and eggs. Although this is a very simple cooked wheaten food, it means mother’s taste for me. When I was in primary school, I was a little fat girl. I had to eat breakfast at home every morning, and I had to be full of food, otherwise I would be hungry before noon and couldn't concentrate on my study. But my mother was not very good at cooking, plus she had to run her own wedding studio then, so she was too busy to pay much attention to my breakfast. In my mind, my mother always bought some toasts in advance every week, so in that whole week, my breakfast would be toasts with ham sausage and milk, or with eggs and milk, or with jam and milk. But those were not enough to fill my stomach. My mother would make noodle soup for me occasionally, but I might as well prefer to eat toasts. Then there was one morning, because of the monotonous impatience of breakfast, I lost my temper to my mother and left home without eating anything. I bought a burrito at the breakfast stand at the gate of my community and I was angry while I walked and ate. Then I got a stomachache for the whole morning which might result from the cold I got when eating breakfast. From then on, my mother paid more attention to my breakfast and got up a little early every day to prepare various kinds of nutritious breakfast for me. 



Yang Yang Yang and her mother

I remember one night, my mother took me to the supermarket to buy zucchini, and mysteriously told me that, the next morning she was to make me a delicious breakfast. But she did not tell me what it would be. I was with great curiosity to wait until next day. When I just opened my eyes and I smelled something very good. When I came to the table, I saw the golden soft pancake with zucchini. I tasted it with anticipation. Hey! This should be the best food my mother has ever made. My mother told me that this was a kind of food made by her grandmother for her when she was a child. At that time, life was not rich, there were brothers and sisters in the family, and she could not eat it often. Later, when she worked, the Hutazi was relatively simple to cook, and she liked to eat them very much, so she would often learn to cook it. Later, when she got married and was busy with her business, she almost forgot such a technique. Because of the softness, plus the shredded zucchini and carrot, the taste was very wonderful. I was  attracted by it so much that I often pleased my mother to cook it for me. Therefore, my mother was also very good at cooking it by constant practicing.




Yang Yang Yang‘s mother

But later in high school, I always went to the KFC near the school with my classmates to have breakfast in the morning, otherwise, the choice would be egg pancake or the baked roll with meat in front of the gate of my school. I seldom ate the breakfast made by my mother then. I remember that during the preparation for the college entrance examination, the pressure was so heavy that sometimes I had no mood to eat the meals. My mother often got up early in the morning to cook for me. My favorite food was still the Hutazi, and then I ate some porridge. It was warm, and all I felt was my mother's concern and love. It just feels real. I left home for university in Miyun which is a place far away from my home. Although it is still within the region of Beijing, I did not come back home quite often. And my father would be in charge of the kitchen to prepare a table of food for me every time I came back home. Therefore, the Hutazi were not showing up with a high frequency on my table. Now I work in Tongzhou District, morning and evening commuting home is very inconvenient. So I share the rent with my colleagues in the vicinity of the company. My parents are not around, so my own breakfast is always in a fast way, such as buying some breakfast around the company or just eating bread. Sometimes we accountants are so busy that we work overtime until we forget to eat. At that time, I especially want to eat my mother's Hutazi, putting a bit more zucchini, which tastes particularly good.

I think my mother’s best dish should be only the Hutazi, which has  the even thickness and appropriated heat. Even though it is of a very simple and plain home-made style, it is the special growing up memories for me.




Aunt Wang,


46 years old


 An enthusiastic Beijing women who lives in Fangshan District of Beijing.

Northerners prefer cooked wheaten food. Our family members are all true northerners, so we all like to eat cooked wheaten food. As the person who is in charge of the kitchen in my family, I often make a variety of cooked wheaten food for the whole family, such as handmade noodles, steamed buns, fried cruller, etc. But I have a specialty with secret recipe, that is, deep-fried corn pancakes. I have improved the recipe and cooking process of it by adding vegetables or fruits, as well as eggs into it, which can be made into salty or sweet taste. It is so popular among my family members that my daughter could eat three at one time.


There are four members in our family, my daughter, my husband, my father-in-law and I. It's hard to cook three meals a day and take care of the tastes of three people. During week days, my daughter goes to school and does not go home to eat lunch, and my husband is an taxi driver, working busily outside for the whole day. I work in the community close to home, so the responsibility of cooking for my father-in-law naturally is mine. When my father-in-law was young, he was not rich and had suffered from the life. The vegetables were rare at that time, which caused a result that he prefer more food crop to fill the stomach to other food like vegetables, and this eating habit has lasted until now. As a result, his stomach status now is not good, and he prefers more cooked wheaten food. So he rarely eats rice, but often eats steamed bread, noodles, fermentative pancakes. In order to make my father-in-law eat healthier and more nutritious food, I often try to cook different kinds of food. So I often wonder how I can make him have more choices of staple foods, and can also help him eat more vegetables.



An enthusiastic aunt Wang

Once we went outing, we ate in a farmyard restaurant, where we ate a dish called stewed small fish with deep-fried corn pancakes, which gave me the inspiration. After this dish came up, I found that my father-in-law preferred it to other dishes. He ate one after another, I said: “Dad, you love the deep-fried corn pancake?” My father-in-law told us that when he was young, he went to the countryside for political reason. The most common food was corn, so he often ate deep-fried corn pancake and corn porridge. As soon as they got there, they tried to make their own deep-fried corn pancake for the first time. There were always people who did not wait for the proper heat but to stick the  raw corn pancake onto the inner side of the cool pot. While the cool pot was not hot enough to fry the corn pancakes, so the young people could only watch the pancakes sliding into the bottom of the pot, which always caused a burst of laughter of everyone. These are the memories of his youth, and the smell of the deep-fried corn pancakes were full of the house. At present, the deep-fried corn pancake is not the same as before, with fine grain added, which makes it not feel so rough and hard to swallow, still good.


When I got home, I began to wonder how I could make use of the deep-fried corn pancake to help my father-in-law eat healthier and more nutritious food. Then I decided to mix corn flour with soy flour and eggs, so it would taste better and wouldn't be too rough. It also would reduce the burden on the stomach and would be more nutritious. Then I also added some celery leaves, because celery leaves have the effect of lowering blood pressure. And I add some carrots, too, which can help to supplement vitamins. Finally, I deep-fry the corn pancakes with a electric baking pan. The taste is very good, and it got my father-in-law’s praises. Even my daughter who is a picky-eater loves it, too. I am afraid that they would be tired of it, so I always change the ingredients of the pancakes, such as adding vegetables or fruits, and then this homemade deep-fried corn pancake has become a regular food on our table.



Staple foods and vegetables

How do you like it? Is the cooked wheaten food on the Beijingers’ table very interesting? These are not common in restaurants. In fact, Beijingers’ tables also hide a lot of traditional food that Beijingers often eat. Although they may look unremarkable, they are indeed the taste that Beijingers eat from the childhood until now...


Now let’s learn how to cook the Hutazi and deep-fried corn pancakes.


The Hutazi.




1 Zucchini, 150g of flour, and 65g of eggs


Seasonings: Proper amount of oil, salt and water

辅料:油 适量;盐 适量;水 适量



1. Wash and shred the zucchini into small pieces and put them into a basin. 


2. Add flour, eggs, and salt.


3. Add proper amount of water and stir to mix them into batter.(The batter should be slightly thinner and then it is easy to pour out)


4. Preheat the electronic baking pan, add a little oil, and spread the oil evenly with a spatula.


5. Pour in the proper batter and spread the batter with the spatula.


6. When the batter is basically solidified, use the spatula to turn the pancake over to fry the other side.


7. If both sides turn to be golden, it can be taken out from the pan!


Deep-fried corn pancake:


 This time Aunt Wang teaches us to make sweet deep-fried corn pancake with persimmons.




 250g of Corn flour, 100g of soybean flour , some persimmons and eggs


Seasonings: baking soda, and water




1. Add the soybean flour into the corn flour and mix them well with a little cooking soda.Add the eggs, and the persimmon, pour the pulp and juice into the batter and mix well.


2. Knead the dough with the warm water of 30 degrees. Wait for 20 minutes after finishing kneading the dough so that the corn flour is fully rinsed with water.


3. Preheat the electronic baking pan. Round the kneaded corn flour with the hands into the shape of circle and put it into the bottom of the pot and flatten it. 


4. Fried both sides  until they look golden, then it is cooked and can be taken out.


So these are today’s Beijingers and Beijing Specialties. Remember if you have stories to share with us, please leave a message~


    图片 | 陈琪

    文字 | 陈琪

    编辑 | 陈琪