Brief of Shelled Shrimps with Dragon Well Green Tea
Combining succulent shelled shrimps with freshly picked Dragon Well tea leaves results in a much sought-after Hangzhounese dish, a local specialty both highly recommended and swimming in flavour.
To prepare this dish the Dragon Well Tea’s elegantly dark green leaves need to be picked around Tomb-Sweeping Day in early spring and the shrimps, selected from local rivers, need to be fresh and as white as snow. The two ingredients both distinct in colour and texture are then combined together to form a dish oozing in flavour and aroma.
It is widely believed that this time-honoured dish was inspired by Su Dongpo’s Ci (a type of classical Chinese poetry), which told of building a new fire to brew new tea.
Inspired by his poem people came up with the idea of cooking fresh shrimps with Dragon Well Green Tea over Xinhuo (new fire). Without such poetic words we would not be able to enjoy such an exquisite dish, a perfect example of Hangzhou’s flavoursome cuisine.
Note: 1. Su Dongpo also known as Su Shi, was a talented poet and important figure in Song Dynasty politics.
2. Xinhuo: In Tang and Song Dynasty, there was a custom that on the day before Tomb-sweeping Day, no fire is allowed to be used. Hence, the fire lit on Tomb-sweeping Day is called Xinhuo (new fire).
Where to eat: Lou Wai Lou, Zhi Wei Guan, Kui Yuan Guan.