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Happy Chinese New Year from Chaozhou

Written by Daniel Otero

My love for Chaozhou

Written by: Chen Yiying (Rosalind)

In collaboration with: Daniel Otero


Hello, my name is Yiying, but my English name is Rosalind. I took up the former name because many people refer to me as a ‘rose’ or like a certain delicate flower.

But more important than that, I want to talk today with all of you about my hometown. The most beautiful place on earth, Chaozhou. A special place in Southern China that’s like heaven to me. And why is it special?

Photo by: Chen Yiying

Because it’s a city all my own and moreover, I want to talk about our traditional ‘beef ball’. Friends, you can’t beat it!

The shape of it is not only circular, and most importantly, people make this recipe in a very a slow way. It’s a tiresome motion.

However, this dish cannot be prepared too fast. It needs the art of perfection.

First, you need to put the beef in a basin after marinating and making it into the shape of a big ball! Get the image, right! Then, with a rolling pin you beat it. Those experts who make it, have to do this for three-whole hours, wow!

Photo by Chen Yiying

There’s a another specialty in my hometown, the bittern duck. Yeah baby! It’s the principal staple of the Chaozhou culture, made and eaten during Spring Festival. Locals also take a long time in making it. The steps are too many. Starting with the bittern water and making it with 20 more ingredients: from salt to pepper. However, the most important element of the duck is to keep that skin soft and tender. Yeah, nice, juicy and fatty. Importantly is the taste of the duck, that is: fresh and soft.

Paifang Street, Chaozhou’s famous food street, photo by: Chen Yiying

Finally, we can talk about the third and most important dish. Do you know? Yes, it is fruit, of course. The Chaozhou mandarin orange is too special. This particular mandarin orange is too small, but at the same time, tactile in its feel. It’s concave-convex. The skin is so thin and it’s full of natural sweetness, making it almost syrupy and with great zest.

Photo by Chen Yiying

Chaozhou is the perfect place for me and it can be for you. Just take a trip and you’ll enjoy our gorgeous environment. Then the foods, which you all can already try three different foods and delicacies, etc. But not only that, it’s the place itself. Full of love, food, the environment, ceramics/pottery and most importantly, its people. All of them are almost perfect. I’m sure that you’ll indulge in it for the first time and I guarantee, it won’t be your last!

Photo by: Chen Yiying


About Rosalind:

She is a 15-year old young lady and native from Chaozhou, Guangdong. Her target is to study in the EHL (Switzerland), that’s the university of her dreams.

About her hometown, she expresses, “I want to say, I love it! There are hundreds of foods here and the places are also beautiful and famous. Chaozhou has a great tradition for people, food and those who come here fall in love with it!”

About the author

Daniel Otero

A New Yorker who has been living in China for the past nine years. He's a freelance writer and ESL teacher.

Former member of the military with extensive travel and living experiences throughout different countries.

Lover of life, good food, travel, writing and dealing with social issues.