In Jiayuguan city, mutton tallow envelops lamb skewers with layers of flavor. In the Ganjia pastures, herders cook lamb with tripe using hot stones.
Baked, steamed or stir-fried, the root of the lily plant is sweet and aromatic. Its flower also serves as a salad ingredient or a noodle topping.
From Linxia to the Hexi Corridor, sheep offal can be found sizzling on hot plates, stuffed into casings and wrapped in caul fat.
In Wuwei County, watermelon farmers enjoy flaxseed rolls as a dry staple food. Flaxseed oil also infuses pastries like Yongdeng mooncake with aroma.
Grown in the Longdong plateaus, buckwheat can be made into jelly noodles, pancake batter and Tianshui guagua, a savory breakfast dish.
A slow-cooked beef broth is the soul of the hand-pulled Lanzhou beef noodle, a go-to dish for discerning eaters searching for a taste of home.
Baked, air-dried or sliced into strips, the absorbent wheat gluten can be added to soups and meaty stews, making it a perfect flavor reservoir.
Found in mullet roe and hot pot, souherb is a white soupy ingredient made by fermenting vegetables like endive, celery, carrot or cabbage.
From Lanzhou to Wuwei, epicures put a different spin on niang pi, a glutenous cold noodle dish that often comes with sesame, cucumber and chili oil.
Dingxi boasts more than 30 varieties of potato, eaten sliced, mashed or made in the form of noodles cooked with pork or spicy sauces.
Yunnan is known for a variety of dairy products, including Dali rushan: thinly sliced cheese that can be fried, grilled or dipped in honey.
A local wild berry features in nanpie, which refers to different types of flavorful pastes made from mashed vegetables or fish.
Sa is a culinary tradition that pairs cold meat or raw vegetables with a versatile sauce that is often mixed with pig blood curd.
Derived from the fruits of the Chinese lacquer tree, qiyou is an oil used to cook eggs, congee, pork stew, roast chicken and even bee larvae.
Found in local moon cake fillings, Xuanwei cured ham can be thinly sliced, steamed, cooked with egg, stewed or served as cold cuts.
Salted and partially dried, the sow thistle can be pickled and stir-fried with pork to lend a sour, crunchy flavor, or added to white radish stew.
Wrapped in leaves with sticky rice or spiced fish, the Musa basjoo -- a banana found in Yunnan -- can make for a sweet snack or a savory dish.
Besides being an appetite stimulant, tart fruits like lemon and sour papaya can be added to shredded chicken, carp or a sauce for dousing live shrimp.
The er, a flattened rice flour cake, can be baked into a sticky snack, sliced and stir-fried with vegetables or julienned into noodle-like strands.
Zha, an old custom, is an assortment of dried fermented vegetables or fish served as side dishes, made with ancient methods of food preservation.
In Chaoshan, olives are preserved in distinct ways and appear in a variety of dishes, including fresh juices and meat soups.
A quintessentially Chaoshan staple and a taste of home for many, kway teow (rice-noodle strips) can be stir-fried or wrapped around tasty fillings.
Garlic. Cilantro. Chili pepper. The marinated raw-crab dish varies in style from Puning to Shantou, but it's always fresh and tender.
Cinnamon, anise and galangal are among the spices that go into Chaoshan brine, a key ingredient in braised offal, goose head and hot pot.
Long ago, migrants from the north brought soybeans to Chaoshan, now home to a unique bean paste featured in many dishes, from spinach to steamed fish.
An age-old Chaoshan tradition, the preserved white radish can put an innovative spin on various dishes, from spare ribs to stir-fried squid.
To bring out umami and impart the flavor of the sea, the versatile ingredient seaweed can be stir-fried, deep-fried, roasted and sprinkled on soup.
Steamed, marinated, stir-fried, grilled or dried. A classic in Chaoshan cuisine, the oyster is traditionally cultivated in the town of Jingzhou.
A regional product, the Chaozhou orange can be deep-fried or dried and preserved to make sweet treats, while its peel can be used for zesty seasoning.
In the Hakka tradition, tea leaves are cooked with fresh herbs, then ground with sesame seeds or peanuts in a mortar to make lei cha, a fragrant drink.
Garlic, fat, liquor and fermented bean curd. The traditional tofu cake is a baked pastry boasting a rich taste profile and centuries of history.
Expert butchers in Chaoshan sharpen their knives to slice premium beef into perfect, marbled cutlets that are juicy, tender, and ready for hot pot.
Inheriting the techniques of previous generations, makers of Chaoshan beef meatballs dedicate hours of hard work to achieve perfect texture and flavor.
Enjoyed with vegetables and dipping sauce, yu sheng (freshly sliced raw fish) is a delicacy with a long history in Chaoshan.
Salted, boiled and air-dried in bamboo baskets, the mackerel scad is among many seafoods that make for a chewy, flavorful and simple main dish.
Indispensable to Chaoshan cooking, fish sauce is traditionally made by salt-curing and fermenting hilsa herring, but new methods have cropped up.
In Chaoshan, the lizardfish is deboned and pounded to make surimi (fish paste) -- a versatile ingredient with a uniquely smooth and elastic texture.
Harvested from Nan'ao Island's shores, mussels are a summer delicacy that can be cooked with basil, folded into spring rolls and added to fried rice.
Galangal arrived in Chaoshan from Southeast Asia a long time ago, imbuing meat dishes like chicken and lamb with a fragrant punch.
Known for both taste and nutritional value, Chinese motherwort is blanched and added to soup and congee as a breakfast favorite.