Basin Mutton Gets Popular after A Bite of China Recommendation

On February 19th, the third season of “A Bite of China”, known as a food guide in China, debuted at the prime time on China Central Television. The episode named “Snacks with Inviting Smells” broadcast on February 20 featured a delicacy of Shaanxi - basin mutton.

According to Liang Yin, president of Shaanxi Folklore Society, basin mutton is a snack of Shaanxi-style and can only be enjoyed in Shaanxi. Due to differences in spices and cooking methods, basin mutton may taste differently in different places.

According to textual research, the basin mutton cooked by Lao Bai Jia, a restaurant in Xi’an, as introduced in “A bite of China”, has a history of 150 years. A number of local celebrities including Yang Hucheng and Yu Youren have tasted it and gave high comments.

Ingredients of basin mutton include lamb, specially-cooked soup, bean vermicelli, garlic sprouts, corriander and so on. For the locals, basin mutton is usually enjoyed with steamed buns or crusty pancakes.

During the heyday of the Tang Dynasty, Chang'an, located in the hinterland of the Central Plain and very close to the pastoral areas, was an ideal market for cattle and sheep trading, which is proved by the street names of nowadays Xi'an, such as Dong Yang Shi (East Sheet Market), Xi Yang Shi(West Sheet Market), and Niu ShiXiang (Cattle Market Lane). The prosperous beef and sheep trade gave rise to a lot of folk cuisine related to cattle and sheep, including the basin mutton.

The basin mutton in Dali, Pucheng and Chengcheng in Weinan City, Shaanxi Province is most well-known.