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Crystal Sugar Turtle (Bingtang Jiayu)
2017-02-28Text Size: A A A

Crystal Sugar Turtle, the number one of Ningbo top ten dishes. It takes on a yellow luster. It tastes glutinous and sleek, giving off the flavors of sweetness, tartness, fragrance, and saltiness. It retains heat as the turtle is cooked within the wrapping of the seed powder of Gorgon Euryale. Crystal Sugar Turtle is also known as "Number One Scholar Turtle". It was first cooked by the Zhuangyuan (Number One Scholar) Mansion Restaurant.

Legend goes that in the late the Qing Dynasty there was a small inn in the north bank of the Yongjiang River of Ningbo. The shopkeeper was well known for the dish of Crystal sugar turtle. This dish cooked by him has the flavor of faint scent, and its viscous, salty and sweet at the same time.

One day, two scholars came for drinking and enjoying the river scenery on their way to the capital for royal exams. When the servants asked what they wanted. The two scholars replied: Just bring all your specialties.”

The last dish was Crystal Sugar Turtle. It was shining brilliantly and had a delicate fragrance with the turtle head up. Impressed by its gluttonous and savory taste, the two scholars praised the dish highly and inquired about its name.

Seeing they were going for exams in the capital, the smart shop owner said that it was named "Number One Turtle". Thinking of it as a great name, the two scholars left with content.

When the exam results came out in the autumn, one of the scholars became zhuangyuan, the number one scorer. On his way back home, he came to the inn and ordered the “the Number One Dish” again. He said that the dish contributed to his success for its refreshing and nutritious efficacy. The owner made the dish with special efforts for the number one scholar and presented writing brush for the zhuangyuan to inscribe a name for the drinkery.

Being in a good mood, the zhuangyuan took the brush pen and wrote Zhuangyuan Mansion” for the drinkery.

Afterwards, Zhuangyuan Mansion became a household name in the east of Zhejiang Province, and the dish became well-known domestically and overseas. Two other drinkries “Yongjiang Zhuangyuan Mansion” and “Siming Zhuangyuan Mansion” were opened in Shanghai later on. Both of them are famous for good skills in cooking the dish.

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