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The Cantonese all-time favorite: Beef offal

When asking visitors of the Guangdong province of China what the most memorable snack was during their stay, the answer is probably beef offal. This dish isn’t your usual meat dish as it includes organ meats such as heart, kidney, tongue, liver and sweetbreads. While this might not sound very attractive, this dish will definitely surprise you in the best way possible. It does not only taste great, but it also nourishing and inexpensive.

The history

Before getting into this dish, let’s talk a bit about its history. While there are many stories going around about the origin, there’s one that stands out. Because of a great cold during the Qing Dynasty, the demand for beef was very high. When a Hui chef had run out of beef, he needed to find something else to keep his guests entertained. He decided to make a stew out of the remaining beef viscera, radish, star anise, fragrant leaves, tangerine peel and other spices, finishing it up with a special sauce. The delicious smell of the stew floated all over the area and spiked an interest and an appetite all over.

The health benefits

It’s very healthy to eat organ meets because it’s filled with important vitamins, minerals and micronutrients that benefits our health. It’s even higher in nutrients than the usual meat we’re used to eating. For example, beef liver contains 50 times as much vitamin B12 as a steak and more folate and B vitamins than any other food which are often integrated in our daily lives. And not only other meats should move over for organ meats, surprisingly so should vegetables. Healthy ones such as kale, spinach and broccoli include less vitamins and minerals than beef offal.

The preparation

Although it looks like a very ordinary dish, creating it requests some cooking skills. First of the cook needs to cut the fresh organs from the abattoir every morning, wash them, and squeeze out the blood and dirt. Then, they need to be pickled with wine, salt, and other herbs, and be cut into slices. All steps should be done precisely to create the perfect beef offal.

Typical representative of Guangzhou

The taste, smell, and health benefits have led beef offal to be a popular snack in Guangzhou, often sold at the streets. Even so, that it’s indispensable for Cantonese people. And the most delicious beef offal? That’s found in the stables of the city.