Our final stop on “The Lost Plate” food tour in Xi’an was literally a sweet, fragrant ending to a lovely morning spent eating and touring markets. Rice cakes with fresh honey and a rose petal syrup. PHENOMENAL.
Located on a street corner, this wonderful vendor had a cart with real ceramic bowls to hold a ransom’s worth of spectacular natural honey, a deep maroon rose petal syrup and some red bean paste. She had her rice cakes, sesame seeds and assorted utensils to create her street food masterpiece of a dessert. You could tell by the way the cart was so meticulously arranged, the stainless surface, the wooden chopping board, the order and cleanliness of it, that this wasn’t ordinary street fare, or was it??
First, the vendor cuts the cold or cool rice cakes with a string. Ingenious tip, I thought. The rice doesn’t stick to the string like it would to a knife and you get clean even cuts. She puts several of these slices into a styrofoam container, then added several squares of rice cakes that have red bean paste sandwiched in between and rolled in toasted white sesame seeds (in the background of photo above).
She then gracefully ladles on some organic raw honey (I think we got extra because we were on a tour)…
…then several spoonfuls of rose petal syrup that was redolent with rose fragrance and had a deep burgundy brown color.
Throw in a few toothpicks and three of us shared this enormous serving to cap off the morning tour. It was SUPERB. I never associated rose syrup or jelly with anything memorable to date (I lack experience in this taste profile) but this use was just stunning.