Sanmenxia, located in Henan province and adjacent to Shanxi province, boasts delicious cooked wheaten food. Those specialties and snacks in Sanmenxia, bear high reputation, mainly including: Sanmenxia mahua(fried dough twist), Guanyintang beef, Zhiyoushaobing(fat baked wheat cake), Large-knife noodles, Spray Bergamot Cake and so on. The night markets in Sanmenxia are very boisterous, among which the most famous one is the night market in cultural palace.
Sanmenxia Mahua (Fried dough twist)
The Sanmenxia Mahua derives from Daying Mahua in Shan county. Legend has it that a long time ago poisonous scorpions were rampant around the region of Daying. For the purpose of cursing the scorpions, local people would stretch the dough into long stripes on every 2nd February of the lunar year, twist them into scorpion shape and fry them to eat, which was called ＂biting the scorpion tail＂. Gradually, the so called ＂scorpion tail＂became into mahua(the fried dough twist). According to the moisture in it, mahua can be divided into two kinds: soft and hard. In the beginning, all of the mahua made in Daying are of the soft kind. In the middle of 19th century, ＂tough dough＂mahuawas invented in Daying county. After liberation, Daying mahua was improved by a chef named Cai Tiangui working in the Food Service Company of Sanmenxia.
With greatly advanced cooking skills and ingredients, the special ＂Sanmenxia mahua＂came into being. Mahua of this kind is about one Chinese foot in length with edges and corners. In color of ransparent persimmon-red, it can stay crisp and crumbly for a long time, tasting sweet and delicious With high value of nutrition. In 1960, when inspecting in Sanmenxia, the prime minister Zhou Enlai, after tasting the mahua, said humorously ：＂Even people without teeth can eat it!＂
Guanyintang Beef, produced in Guanyintang of Shan county, is made in special method with strictly elected materials: first, put fresh raw beef into a jar full of water,adding salt and potassium nitrate for pickling. The pickling time changes according to different seasons. Generally speaking, in winter the process lasts for one month,in summer for three or four days and in spring and autumn during which right amount of fennel, clove, angelica, ginger, garlic, pepper should be added and beef should be checked frequently so that the fire can be always in control, until the beef is boiled into a very soft while no-separating texture. Guanyintang Beef is bright in color, soft in texture with strong sauce flavor and moderate degree of salt.
Fat Baked Wheat Cake
Fat baked wheat cake, also called fat cake in short, is one of the most famous specialties in Lingbao. Shaped in flat round with many concentirc rings on the bright camarel yellow surface, fat cake is crisp outside and soft inside where, after you have a bite, will show many clearly separated layers as thin as paper,and then, a strong flavor will confront your nose.Fat baked wheat cake is cooked in a delicate and cunning way, with wheat flour, pork suet, cottonseed oil, salt, Sodium carbonate as its main ingredients. You can eat it in two ways:in one way,you can first ask the chef to squeeze and then fluff it so that the cake turns into fluffy strips filling your dish and you can enjoy it with chopsticks；in another way,you just eat it with the shape in which it originally is Different ways bring you respective fantastic experience.
Large-knife noodles are the most popular special food in Lingbao,boasting a long history more than 200 years. The large knife used to slice dough into noodles is very similar to a hay cutter with 3 chinese feet in length and five chinese inches in width. A dough will first be rolled out into a thin slice ,about one chinese foot in width,then folded into ten layers and finally cut into noodles. According to the different ways of using knife, Large-knife noodles can be further divided into four kinds: vermicelli, as thin as dried fine noodles; Lianzimie noodle, as wide as a stripe in Chinese ancient curtain; wide noodle, as wide as leek; (most of them was used to cook noodles without soup); flash-knife noodle, twice as wide as leek. The reason why it’s called flash-knife noodle lies in the flashing method to cut noodle.Usually，vermicelli and lianbi noodles are served in the morning and wide noodles at the noon.
The flavor is mainly sour and peppery,with meat sauce and vegetables used to match with the noodles changing with seasons.
Spray Bergamot Cake
Spray bergamot cake deserves the name of one wonder in western Henan. The story goes that when the Eight-Nation Allied Forces invaded Beijing ,the Empress Dowager Cixi escaped to Xi’an. When returning to the capital, she passed by Shan state whose governor ,for the purpose of fawning and gaining favor with Cixi, had a brainwave, demanding a chef to cook a distinctive ＂spray bergamot cake＂with a surface looking like sprays in yellow river, heaping up and bursting with foam. The red-gold cake is as thin as cicada＇s wings,wholly in the shape of bergamot, which pronounces like ＂Buddha＇s hands＂in Chinese. Religious Buddhist Cixi, when seeing ＂Buddha＇s hands＂, regarded it as a auspicious sigh, gerring joyful very much. When tasting, she found it crisp outside and soft inside while no glutinous at all. Besides, in its sweet some faint scent of rose could be felt which served just right. Thus Cixi acclaimed the cake and bestowed on the chef a piece of yellow mandarin jacket. From then on, the Spray bergamot cake gained a prevailing reputation. The master of cooking the Spray bergamot cake today should be the retired chef Ren Hongwen of the Food Service Company in Sanmenxia. The superb skill of cooking Spray bergamot cake has descended in his family for four generations.