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While some may consider Guangdong province a heaven for a seafood gourmand, it is actually the city of Zhanjiang that is largely responsible for earning the province this lofty reputation.
Because of its coastal location, Zhanjiang offers diners the very freshest choice of fine seafood.
The city boasts a myriad of seafood stalls where you can sample, among other things, lobster, abalone, crab, shrimp, grouper, oyster, cuttlefish and scallops.
The sights and smells can easily rouse the foodie in you, and help you to work up a real appetite at the same time.
Whether you opt for one of the random street bistros or vendors' stands around the city, you are certain to find something that will satisfy both your appetite and your curiosity.
You could also peruse the local markets and small food shops, which offer a cozy alternative to the hustle and bustle of street level.
Sea crab has long been regarded as a local treasure in Zhanjiang.
It is renowned as one of China's most famous varieties of edible crab, and its meaty thighs, rich creaminess and crispy texture were noted in ancient Chinese literature.
Chen Qiaosen, a Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) poet and painter, relieved his cravings for the crabs by drawing them.
Another well-known seafood item that tends to fly off people's dinner plates is oyster, which has a history of more than 2,000 years.
Although not super large in size, the meaty, rich and tender Zhanjiang oysters will simply melt on your tongue.
Once you've taken that first bite, you will likely find that you can't stop your chopsticks from snatching up more of the delicious fresh seafood.
Besides the city's renowned seafood, the cooking method of Zhanjiang's chefs is also unique. With an emphasis on the original flavor of the freshest ingredients, every chef uses this as the basis for developing their own individual style and concept.
Without the mass of chilies or gourmet powders, spicy clout or complicated cooking procedures found in other provinces, every ingredient is deftly handled. "Zhanjiang dishes are rooted in the original taste of the ingredients and simplicity," said Zheng Xiangyang, one of Zhanjiang's leading chefs.
Developed over a long period of time, this cooking style and philosophy have come to symbolize Zhanjiang's cuisine, and it has gained wide acceptance due to its respect for nature and natural ingredients. In essence, the very flavor and manner in which dishes are cooked are at the heart of Zhanjiang's culinary fame.
(China Daily 01/16/2017 page24)