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Camel Hooves and Fried Hump

Since ancient times, camels have been the most efficient and cost-effective mode of transportation on the Silk Road. Their strong hooves make it possible to trudge through the Gobi desert and are highly prized for tendon (thought to be highly nutritious by Chinese). However, since camels generally live long lives and are most valuable as modes of transportation, camel hooves (tuozhang) for use in cooking are quite hard to find. In fact, camel hooves are almost as hard to find as another Chinese rare gourmet dish, Bear claws (Xiongzhang), which is actually illegal in recent times (the bears are nearly extinct).



To prepare camel hooves, the hoof is first soaked in water and softened. After that, it is stewed for as long as eight hours. By that time, the tendon can be detached from the bone. After steaming for another two or three hours, the tendon is then cut into small pieces and placed on a serving platter with other ingredients for decoration. Generally, egg whites are added to the tendon at some point, so the hooves not only have a unique, hearty flavor, but also make a great presentation as well.

Deep-fried camel hump (Youbaotuofeng) has been a cherished delicacy in the northwest for over 1500 years. Local chefs cut the hump into uniformly slices or shreds and deep-fry them. The finished dish is both tender and crispy and has a purplish color. Since camel is an extremely important mode of transportation in Dunhuang and nearby desert regions, camel is fairly rare and it may be difficult to find a restaurant that serves this dish. If you happen to see it on a menu, give it a try!



Source: ineedhotel.com


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