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Culture Insider: What did ancient Chinese people eat in summer?

Updated: 2017-06-27 13:21:16

( chinadaily.com.cn )

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Cherries with cheese and cane syrup

During the Wei, Jin and Southern and Northern dynasties (220-581), dairy food appeared more frequently on ancient Chinese people's tables.

People made three kinds of cheese. One was called tian lao, or sweet cheese, which tasted like cheese yet looked like yogurt. Another is gan lao, or dried cheese, similar to solid cheese eaten today. The last one is cu lao, a kind of half-sour, half-sweet cheese, like yogurt.

The climate in the Yellow River area in the Tang Dynasty was warmer and moister, very different from today. Many cheery trees were planted there at that time. The fruit was common in early summer and people often added cheese and cane syrup to the cherries.

Lu You, a noted poet from the Song Dynasty, once wrote: "eat cherry, peach and cheese at the same time".

Thus in the Song Dynasty, when ancient Chinese people sent cherries as gifts, cheese was often presented together.

When rich noble people had cherries with cheese and cane syrup, they often used plates and bowls made of gold or colored glaze to make the fruit look more mouthwatering.

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