Yunnan Province, China ●Yang Lo Mei Sheng (mutton rice noodles)
The “frontier photographer” Tetsuo Kurita, 51, began taking pictures when he was stationed in China and traveled to the interior of the country while working for a company. Since then, he has been strongly attracted to what he calls “frontier” areas in various Asian countries, and has frequently visited them and pointed his camera at them. For Mr. Kurita, the most attractive features of the frontier are its people and culture.
In Mileu City, Yunnan Province’s Honghe Hani Yi Autonomous Prefecture, the specialty is yanlou meisheng, or “mutton rice crackers. The Ashi, a branch of the Yi tribe, live there. Every year, the Ashi people hold a traditional festival called “Ashi Festival Fire Festival. This festival is said to be over 1,000 years old, and is held with the entire village mobilized. Both men and women strip naked, paint their entire bodies, and dance around praying for happiness in the coming year. It was visually very intense and really surprising. ……”
Like their traditional events, many of the foods in the frontier also have a strong visual impact.
In the frontier, many of the stores are small, and sometimes you can talk to the staff, go into the kitchen, and they can show you how it’s made. For example, the cooking scene of mutton rice wire is very dynamic. I was worried about the smell, but when I tried it, the taste of mint and green onion was surprisingly refreshing. Lamb stewed in a large pot is very aromatic. We tried adding seasonings to change the flavor and enjoyed it very much,” said Kurita.
Although it is difficult to actually visit the area, we hope you will experience the depth of the frontier through these fascinating local dishes.
Yunnan Province, China ●Jianshui Tofu
Jianshui Tofu is a specialty of Jianshui County in Yunnan Province’s Red River Hani I Autonomous Prefecture. Tofu made from clean well water has a firm skin and a soft interior when baked. It is eaten with powdered chili peppers mixed with umami seasoning and other seasonings.
Qinghai Province, China ●Chula
Dried cheese from the Tibetan region made from yak milk. It is often eaten with tsampa, one of the traditional staple foods, which is a kind of “haat flour” made by kneading roasted naked wheat flour. The texture is very hard and has a slightly sour taste.
Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China ●Khaokawar
Khao qawkaw is a pumpkin baked in a kiln called “tonur,” which is used to bake Uyghur naan. Uyghurs are famous for their sweet fruits thanks to the abundant sunshine and the climate with a large difference in daily temperature. Khao Kah Wah is also sweet and tasty like a sweet treat.
India ● Skew
A specialty of Ladakh in northern India. The flour dough is rubbed with both hands to make it long and thin, then torn into bite-sized pieces. Vegetables such as sauteed onions and carrots are added, and the dough is then simmered with spices. It can be called “curry-flavored sudon.
A dish similar to steamed dumplings, with buffalo meat filling. In Nepal, many Hindu people do not eat beef, but buffalo is considered to be different from cow. It tastes almost the same as beef. It is eaten dipped in a tomato-based sauce with a hint of chili pepper.
Sri Lanka ●Fish
It had a peppery taste, but it was not curry-like. Garlic, leeks, and onions were added to bring out the natural flavor of the fish.
From the December 23, 2022 issue of FRIDAY
Photographed by： Tetsuo Kurita