As the summer heat fades and autumn's gentle breeze provides welcome relief from the suffocating humidity, people in Wuxi start to enjoy seasonal food.
Candied lotus roots
Candied lotus roots. [Photo/WeChat account: wuxishilvyouju]
Lotus roots are usually presented as an appetizer, or cold dish, during autumn. Candied lotus root stuffed with slow-cooked glutinous rice and topped with osmanthus jam is one of the most common starters.
This dish was once native to the East China region where diners liked having something sweet to start the meal. These days, the dish is popular all over the country, attracting loyal followers with the shiny luster of the osmanthus syrup, its appealing fragrance and, above all, the soft and sticky lotus root, cooked to a melt-in-the-mouth mealy texture.
Steamed meat-filled buns mixed with crab ovary. [Photo/WeChat account: wuxishilvyouju]
The annual frenzy for hairy crabs starts as September arrives, together with the cooling days and the scent of blooming chrysanthemums. It continues through October and tapers off as year-end approaches.
Hairy crabs are best enjoyed steamed, served with a tiny bowl of finely diced ginger in aged vinegar. This is the best way to savor a crab's sweetness.
Some restaurants in Wuxi in autumn will make steamed meat-filled buns mixed with crab ovary, which are appreciated for their delicious taste.