Nicola Twilley explores many aspects of the history of food refrigeration in China. Twilley’s report “What Do Chinese Dumplings Have to Do With Global Warming?” in the New York Times, ends with a visit to someone who is not thrilled at the culinary prospects of widespread, organized food refrigeration:
Still, not all Chinese people are ready to embrace the refrigeration revolution. Dai Jianjun is the 45-year-old chain-smoking chef of Longjin Caotan, a restaurant on the outskirts of Hangzhou, the scenic capital of Zhejiang province, which serves an entirely locally sourced, anti-industrial cuisine. When I asked him how he liked frozen dumplings, he took off his corduroy cap, rubbed his shaved head with both hands and finally, in a calm voice that carried a distinct undercurrent of anger, said, “If I may speak without reserve, they’re not food.
Twilley assembled ten related, brief documentary videos, on her Edible Geography web site, under the general heading “Ten Landmarks of the Chinese Cryosphere“. Here’s one of those videos, from a factory that makes approx 100,000 dumplings an hour. The video is called “Quick-frozen glutinous rice balls being bagged at the Sanquan factory:
“The first machines could only produce one ball at a time,” factory owner Chen Zemin told Twilley, “whereas today, our machines make it look like it’s raining balls.”
Chen’s company has seven factories, the largest of which, writes Twilley, “employs 5,000 workers and produces an astonishing 400 tons of dumplings a day.”
BONUS [unrelated]: “Dumpling fog in China”
BONUS: [unrelated]: The Taiwanese machine that wraps up a robber like a dumpling