Water chestnut cake is a traditional Cantonese dim sum dish made during the Chinese New Year. On festive occasions, people will prepare the delicacy hoping it will attract good fortune. The Chinese words for water chestnut cake carry the auspicious connotation of "rising to eminence at once" due to phonetic resemblances between the two expressions.
The best water chestnut cake is golden brown with visible chopped water chestnuts embedded in each slice. [Photo/Guangzhou Daily]
The best water chestnut is said to be produced in Pan Tang, a region near Lychee Bay, Guangzhou. It is cherished as one of five delicacies of Pan Tang. The other four are lotus roots, water caltrops, water bamboos, and water rice stems.
With a golden-brown color and sweet fragrance, the cake is usually cut into square-shaped slices and steamed before serving. A variety of flavors are available for people to choose like osmanthus, red beans, ginger, and coconut. Also, Cantonese people like to use water chestnuts to make sweet soups, which are perfect for relieving summer heat.
Lychee Bay abounds with water chestnuts. [Photo/Guangzhou Daily]
Water chestnuts are suitable for both young and old. With the effect of "detoxing, eliminating phlegm and clearing away the heat and damp", they are not only popular in Guangzhou, but across China and the world.
A slice of osmanthus-flavored water chestnut cake. It's chewy and crunchy, with the scent of osmanthus flowers. [Photo/Guangzhou Daily]