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Pickled treat with unique flavor from Guangxi pleases palates in Beijing

By CHEN MEILING | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2024-06-15 08:43

Participants taste suanye, a snack of pickled fruits and vegetables from Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, at a promotional event in Beijing on Friday. WANG JING/CHINA DAILY

Suanye, a snack of pickled fruits and vegetables from the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, tickled the taste buds of foreigners with its unique sweet, sour, spicy and salty flavor at a promotional event in Beijing on Friday.

The snack is made of fruits and vegetables that have been soaked in vinegar and salt for about an hour. They are then mixed with various spicy or sour powders. Suanye is known for its thirst-quenching, refreshing and appetizing effects.

Guangxi's abundant natural mountain and water resources nurture more than 200 varieties of tropical fruits, and the region has led the nation in fruit production for the past six years, said Cao Kedi, second-level inspector of the Department of Commerce of Guangxi, at the event.

Guangxi residents love the sour flavor of suanye, which is frequently seen at events ranging from high-end banquets to family gatherings, she said, adding that the region is building an industrial chain for the treat to promote standardized production and expand its influence.

About 100 people, including company representatives, foreign journalists and college students, attended the event in Beijing, where they had the chance to not only sample suanye, but also learn to make it.

Haneen Abdulraheem Jameel, a student from Guilin University of Electronic Technology in Guangxi, said she first tried suanye while taking a walk with her Chinese friend in Guilin. She was surprised to see a seller mix watermelon with vinegar and chili pepper.

"It was a really new taste for me, salty, sweet and spicy. And I liked it," she said, adding that now she often eats suanye after dinner as a snack, each time costing about 10 to 15 yuan ($1.4 to $2).

Guilin Suandoudou Food Co, which participated in the Beijing event, has more than 10 chain stores in Guilin that are popular stops for foreign tourists.

"I'm glad when they give us a thumbs-up and come back to buy more," said He Yilin, general manager of the company.

Liang Xuan, an intangible cultural heritage inheritor for suanye-making techniques, said one of the most prominent features of Guangxi suanye, compared with other pickled foods, is that it has little to no fermentation.

"It achieves its sourness through ingredients such as rice vinegar, sugar and salt. As a result, its production time is very short, and you are actually eating fresh fruits and vegetables with vinegar, which is healthy," he said, adding that the process can also eliminate substances in fruit such as pineapples that cause allergic reactions.

Liang said that the region is establishing local suanye standards.

"Once these standards are set, it will facilitate better expansion efforts, including promoting exports or the opening of stores overseas," he said.

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