We're Nate Tate and Mary Kate Tate, a brother and sister cookbook author team obsessed with all things China. We create authentic and accessible Chinese recipes for home cooks. See more...

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First Stop: Nanjing

As we make our way down China's East coast, the first stop on our itinerary is Nanjing. This city was once the capital of China but is now a laid back college town (if by "town" you mean 5,320,000 people). With numerous universities and nearly a million students, there is no end to the amount of cheap eats you can find here.

For our visit to Nanjing, we thought it only appropriate to stay at a university dorm. Mary Kate knows her way around Nanjing from her time spent studying abroad and suggested we try her Alma Mater, Nanjing Normal University. The foreign student dorm here has cheap rates and clean rooms and turned out to be a great choice. The campus's location is in the heart of town and the front gate opens to a cluster of vendors selling delicious street fare.

There are many, many dishes available in Nanjing. Some originated here, most did not. I found the best to be flour-based foods like guotie dumplings, baozi dumplings (more round and bready than traditional dumplings), and youtiao, a variation on deep fried donuts. The Chinese potstickers, called guotie, were my favorite Nanjing find. Well be sure to include the recipe we found at the Wu family's restaurant in our book. If the long line of locals out front is any recommendation, these are some of the best around.


Here's an easy recipe for the donut-like youtiao. In some regions of China it's enjoyed with a piping hot bowl of sweetened soy milk.



1 1/4 cups self-rising flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/3 cup lukewarm water

peanut oil


Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir in water.

Lightly knead dough. Loosely cover for about 20 minutes, or enough time for the dough to rise.

On floured surface, roll the dough into 2 inch wide and 14 inch long strips. Twist together in pairs, pinching the ends. Holding each end of twists, pull until 9 inches long.

Deep fry each twist in peanut oil until golden brown (about 25 seconds)

Let cool and eat.

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Reader Comments (8)

This all sounds wonderful and it even made me want to be there. Looking forward to more.
June 1, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterJOMOM
This all sounds wonderful and it even made me want to be there. Looking forward to more.
June 1, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterJOMOM
I agree with JoMom!! For the FIRST TIME I am really excited about the possibility of me getting to go over there and see you two "collaborators" in action....gotta go process my visa ASAP. (don't forget your little project today...with the embassy?) Love, Daddy
June 1, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterStephen Tate
Plan to check your site as you go along. Be carful but I know you will have fun and many more Tate stories!!!!!!Bill
June 3, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterBILL kOHLER
N/MK check your email for an important message entitled: Change in my Travel Plans
June 7, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterStephen Tate
Heard you had another trek into the jungle...Glad yu made it out in one piece...Sounds like MK you need to write a book about your adventure..Have fun and be safe..CA
June 15, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterCArol Ann
Where are you on your map?? Was the handsome guy (white-haired dude) your host at the farmhouse? Excellent article...in my humble opinion!! GOTTA have a blog entry on the elephant story!! You go girl...........and man
July 1, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterST
Thank you so much for this youtiao recipe. every year i visit my in laws in Kaifeng PRC and mere steps from thier front door is a sidewalk vendor producing youtiao that melts in your mouth faster than a disapeering houdini. He combines it with suan la tang, and frankly i am the bane of the family because i barely eat anything else during my whole stay.
January 25, 2007 | Unregistered Commenter"Miantiao"

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