Jiangsu cuisine tends to be on the sweet side and is characterized by an emphasis on flavour rather than texture, and by the use of wine in cooking. That said, one of the best-known dishes, yanshui ya (brine duck), has none of these qualities. The duck is first pressed and salted, then steeped in brine and baked; the skin should be creamy-coloured and the flesh red and tender. Other Jiangsu dishes worth trying include majiang yaopian (pig’s intestines), jiwei xia (a lake crustacean vaguely resembling a lobster, but much better tasting, locals affirm) and paxiang jiao (a type of vegetable that resembles banana leaves).

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