The flavor of Yunnan: Zhaotong barbecue

Barbecue is one of China’s most popular snacks. Among different barbecues, Zhaotong Barbecue is really appealing to people who want to have a party with friends. 


Zhaotong barbecue (Xinhua/Xu Hualing)

Compared with other barbecues, Zhaotong barbecue is small in size. Zhaotong people usually use tiny sticks to string tiny pieces of beef together, and that’s why one consumer often eats tens of skewers at one time. Because small pieces of beef are easier to cook and spread sauces thoroughly, some people think it is more delicious than other barbecues. 

As Zhaotong barbecue has become increasingly popular these years, many locals choose to leave Zhaotong city to sell barbecue in other places. Ma Ronghua is one of them. 


Ma Ronghua’s barbecue restaurant (Xinhua/Xu Hualing)

“To guarantee the quality and taste of barbecue, all the beef sold in my restaurant is from young yellow cattle,” Ma Ronghua said. 


Beef transported from Zhaotong (Xinhua/Xu Hualing)

To make authentic Zhaotong barbecue, secret sauce and chili powder made in Zhaotong is necessary. Before roasting, the skewers are soaked in a secret sauce to improve the flavor of the beef. 


Fat spills from the beef. (Xinhua/Xu Hualing)

After being soaked in sauce, skewers are put on a grill heated by burning charcoals. Then, the cook needs to gather and spread out them again and again until the fat begins to drip. 


Sprinkle with chilli and the barbecue is ready. (Xinhua/Xu Hualing)

When the skewers are almost cooked, sprinkle with sesame seeds and cumin, continue to roast for more than 10 seconds, then sprinkle with chili powder, and a handful of tasty Zhaotong barbecue is ready to be eaten. 


Lots of Zhaotong barbecue (Xinhua/Xu Hualing)

“It provides an opportunity for people to communicate with family members and friends when eating Zhaotong barbecue,” Ma Ronghua said.

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(Editors: Alison, Christine)

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