Guilin is a city in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region of China, bordering Hunan to the north. Its name means, “Forest of Sweet Osmanthus”, owing to the large number of fragrant Sweet Osmanthus trees located in the city.
Guilin cuisine is known for its snacks and the use of spices, especially chili. Guilin chili sauce (桂林辣椒酱), is used widely in local cooking and is famed for its exceptional flavor throughout China. It is made from fresh chilis, garlic, and fermented soybeans and while it is available as a commercial product, nothing compares to homemade.
Guilin cuisine is a mixture of Cantonese cuisine and Zhuang cuisine. It is known for its snacks and the use of spices, especially chili. Guilin chili sauce (桂林辣椒酱), used widely in cooking by locals, is made of fresh chili, garlic, and fermented soybeans, and is considered one of the city’s Three Treasures (桂林三宝). The other two of the Three Treasures are Guilin Sanhua Jiu (桂林三花酒), a variety of rice baijiu, or liquor distilled from rice; and Guilin pickled tofu (桂林豆腐乳).
Guilin rice noodles have been the local breakfast staple since the Qin dynasty and are renowned for their delicate taste. Legend has it that when Qin troops suffering from diarrhea entered this region, a cook created the Guilin rice noodles for the army because they had trouble eating the local food. Specifically, the local specialty is noodles with horse meat, but this dish can also be ordered without the horse meat. Zongzi, a dumpling made from glutinous rice and mung bean paste wrapped in a bamboo or banana leaf is another popular delicacy in Guilin.
Guilin chili sauce is often made from peppers known as 朝天椒 (facing heaven chilis; pinyin: cháotiānjiāo), however, these are very hard to find in the U.S. As such, I have chosen instead to use the far-easier to source red serrano pepper in its place. With this one exception, my recipe is (as far as I can tell) the only recipe on the Web in English on how to make this unique and delicious condiment and it is totally authentic.
I even went so far as to seek out a native of Guilin for tips on how to make this properly. I hope you enjoy it, Citizens!
Battle on – The Generalissimo
Citizens, please note that I can no longer afford to absorb the nearly $1000 per month it costs to keep the site running smoothly, including marketing expenses, etc. There is, however, a solution that benefits us all – one that will help to avoid the only other alternative, which is to add obnoxious ads throughout the site.
Become a Citizen Prime for only $4 per month and receive exclusive recipes, 3 free historic cookbook scans, discounts from TFD sponsors and so much more! For less than the cost of 1 Starbucks coffee, you can keep TFD Nation strong and proud! Details are here.
You can also show your support by listening to our podcasts, liking them, and sharing as you see fit – try them out here.