A Way with Otark
We Are Various
broadcasting from nearby the kitchen
from 17:00 to 20:00
Bei Wen Tan
as a central guest
and a menu with
Mandarino Tardivo, the late mandarin,
a sweet lime
and other peels and pickles
that once came from China
I was born in a region in southern China river delta with an abundance of fresh offerings from the land, and it’s customary in this area to sun-dry [曬] almost every edible—from oysters, bok-choy, fish maw, shrimps, soy beans, to ducks and daikon…a delicate balancing act that deeply transforms the flavors.
Sun-dried peels of the mandarin Citrus reticulata cv. 'Chachiensis', with the finest specimen coming from Xin Hui [新會]—新會茶枝柑, a domestication of the wild mandarin from the area’s mountain ranges.
The fruits are harvested and prepared between September ( for green peels) and November (ripe fruit peels). The peels are first dried gently in the shade to preserve the nutrients before exposing to the sun, then kept in storage in jute bags from February to protect from the rainy season.
From may onwards until November, they will be brought again to dry. The humidity of the subtropic mountain valley in combination with the fierce high sun creates a natural aging process, similar to a sort of sauna I imagine.
They are again stored away and brought out again every subsequent year, peels should be aged for at least three years before considered ready to consume, but can be kept for decades, as the medicinal value increases and the aroma deepens.
陳皮 is both a food and medicine. It can be used as a spice for cooking, paired with pu-erh to make tea, ground up as fragrance for incense. Medicinally, it nourishes the lungs, strengthens the spleen and comforts the stomach—an all around treasure.
Bei Wen Tan
took me to China
when we were
from tiny green
i recognised this
was the mandarin
when i was
Music and sounds
a prayer ritual on Kudaka Island
a steamboat ride down the Mississippi
a bumpy road trip in the Tibetan Plateau
a story accompanied by moon lute under the banyan tree