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Cicheng New Year Cake
2017-02-28Text Size: A A A

   The New Year Cake is a special food that the locals will prepare when the Spring Festival is coming each year. It uses selected raw materials and employs meticulous production process. It is made with high quality japonica rice, washed clean first, soaked for 3-4 days or one week, ground into pulp, pressed it and get it half dried and crushed, put it into steamer box and get it fully steamed. Then pound it, and finally cut it into different bar-shaped cakes.

Every year when the spring festival comes, the locals of Ningbo will be busy preparing for the holiday. One of the most important item of food to be prepared is the cake. This is partly because niangao, the Chinese pronunciation for the rice cake, is similar to that of “Happy New Year”. As Cicheng is the most famous production place of Niangao, therefore it is called Cicheng Niangao. As the rice cake is favored by the seniors and the juniors alike, the rich and the poor, therefore it is a very popular food. People use different plates to press various auspicious words on the cake, such as Happiness, Fortunes, Best Wishes, and also lovely animals are pressed on the cake, such as rabbits, goose, etc. In 1974, archaeologist unearthed remains of full grains of rice seeds at the Hemudu ancient cultural site, an evidence that our ancestors grew rice more than 7,000 years ago. And the cake-production history of Cicheng also lasted for more than 1,000 years. Legend goes that General Wu Zixu of the Wu state at the end of the Apring-Autumn Period once fought at Cicheng of Ningbo. Before he died here, he said to his subordinates: “ If mishap befalls us and people starve, dig at the foot of the city wall for three Chis(one meter), you can get grain.” Then soon after his death, the city was surrounded by the Yue troops, and many people starved to death. Then people remembered the words of General Wu, then they dug at the foot of the city wall, and got plenty of food shaped like city wall bricks. The troops got enough to eat and defeated the enemy. It turned out that General Wu, when he monitored the construction of the city walls, he prepared food for the arrival of hard times. After that, every year before spring festival comes, the locals of Cicheng made niangao to remember General Wu.


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