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  • Alex Gillam

Youtiao, a Sweet Treat with a Story

The perfect snack to start your day, Youtiao is as simple as it is tantalizing – Chinese breadsticks are fried in pairs to create a crispy, yet tender, treat that is often served alongside early morning staples like porridge, scallion pancakes and sticky rice.

Also known as ‘Deep Fried Ghosts’, Youtiao dates back to the Song Dynasty, when Chinese politician Qin Hui ordered the execution of a beloved general known for his loyalty, Yue Fei; as a way of protesting the execution, one cook made a pair of human-shaped breadsticks (to resemble Qin Gui and his wife, who was said to have played a role in his decision) and symbolically deep-fried them in a vat of hot oil, instantly creating what would end up being one of the country’s most legendary dishes.

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