Staple Food of Nu People

The staple food of the Nus is maize and buckwheat. They also eat rice, barley grain, wheat and millet. In the past, they rarely grew vegetables and gathered wild plants, especially when others sources are low. Both men and women drink large quantities of strong liquor. Meat mainly comes from family-raised animals such as pigs, chickens, cattle, sheep, fish and wild animals they hunt. Among the vegetables they grow are leafy greens, cabbages, pumpkins, radishes, taros, yams, sweet potatoes and towel gourds. They use capsicums, shallots, gingers, Chinese prickly ash and garlic as spices. Their sweet food includes honey and cane sugar. Their fruits are mainly oranges, persimmons, peaches, plums, pears and bananas.

Nu specialties include roast porkets, Xiala meat fried with Nu liquor). When Nu people make Xiala, they first chop the meat into small pieces, put some ghee in the frying pan, fry the meat until they get golden and crisp, turn down the fire, and put in the liquor, then cover the pan and cook for five to six minutes. Xiala was originally eaten mainly by women who have just given birth. Nowadays, everybody eats it. Gongla (egg fried with Nu liguor) is also popular. Other common dishes include rice served with meat, cooked corn and corn congee, pipa-shaped meat (pipa is a Chinese string musical instrument), Gudu meals (made from corn flour and buckwheat flour, similar to rice cakes), fried bee pupas, honeyed sticky rice congee, Mazi tofu, baked tea and pop corn.

The Nu like to drink wine, and are also good at it and other alcoholic drinks. Their main wines and spirits are "Gulu wine", "turbid wine" and "Sorghum spirit". "Gulu wine" is made from "Gulu rice" (made of corn flour and buckwheat flour, the same as their New Year cakes). To make it: 1) make the Gulu rice when temperatures are relatively cool, mix it with distiller's yeast, put it in a bamboo basket and cover the basket. 2) After several days, if the smell of wine comes out or the wine oozes out, it should be put into a jar and sealed for tens of days. 3) Before the wine is ready to drink, it is filtrated in a strainer and some boiled water or cold boiled water is added with some honey to sweeten it. After the wine is fully fermented, they drink it. This kind of wine is sweet and the smell of it is good and rich. It is the top-grade wine of the Nus, who say it is not only good for quenching one's thirsty, it also nourishes the body.

The Nu like to give wine or another kind of beverages when entertaining guests. When honorable guests come, the Nus entertain them with wine. Men and women, old and young: everyone drinks "one heart wine" with people and guests they regard as bosom friend. Their faces come close to each other, their mouths are next to each other, one hand holds the shoulder, and the other hand holds the wine bowl. They drink together with faces lifted up and the bowl of wine emptying down their throat. Even people who don't normally drink a drop of wine are expected to indulge. Only after you drink the "one heart wine" are regarded as a true friend of the Nus.

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