China.org.cn: A taste of Chinese food culture - The story of Xiaozhan Rice
Thursday, 14 February 2019
BEIJING, Feb. 14, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- A news report by China.org.cn on the story of Xiaozhan Rice:
Rice is a staple food at the Chinese dining table. Many people associate plump-eared rice with happy lives. A popular quote by ancient Chinese poet Xin Qiji goes - "The air is thick with the fragrance of rice, promising a bumper year."
Rice is planted all over the north and south in China, and has many varieties. Xiaozhan Rice, a variety from Tianjin, has grown into a national favorite over the past few hundred years. Local people love Xiaozhan Rice very much. They describe that the "fragrance from one house's cooking (Xiaozhan Rice) spreads over the entire neighborhood."
The name of Xiaozhan Rice originated from Xiaozhan Town in Tianjin. Small as it is, the town has been a place of strategic importance since ancient times because of its location – it faces the Bohai Sea and guards the national capital and its surroundings. The heavy military presence in the town and the history-changing "Xiaozhan Troops Training" made the place very famous and it was included on world maps drawn by European and American cartographers in the 19th century. The original Xiaozhan Rice was planted by soldiers as early as in China's Liao and Song dynasties. The rice became a special offering to the imperial families in the Qing Dynasty. In the 1950s, it was sold to Japan, Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia and Cuba as a high-quality agricultural product.
Today, Xiaozhan Rice has been integrated with new technologies. Dozens of high-quality and high-yielding varieties have been bred, all marked by distinctive features including resilience to diseases and pests, drought and salinization. In addition to this, modern rice production also utilizes machines and automated devices. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are now widely used for ecological protection. As a result, production efficiency has been greatly improved.
With the country's rapid economic development, Chinese people are increasingly pursuing higher-quality lives. They need not only a full bowl of rice, but a full bowl of tasty, nutritious rice. To fulfil these needs, entirely new breeds of rice have been created. "Jinchuan No. 1," "Tianlong 619" and "Jindao 919" - are all new varieties which have been judged by experts to be of equal quality with Japan's "Koshihikari" in terms of color, fragrance and taste. This shows that China has become a global leader in rice-breeding.
With great wisdom, farmers have successfully used their shallow-water rice fields to let fish, ducks, crabs and rice coexist, building a virtuous cycle. And that reflects the philosophy of "harmonious coexistence" in traditional Chinese culture.
For China, agriculture is the foundation of the country. The breeding of Xiaozhan Rice uses a combination of traditional agricultural techniques and new technologies. It has, in a new way, brought about greater prosperity and better living conditions in rural areas and increased wealth of farmers.
*A taste of Chinese food culture - The story of Xiaozhan Rice
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