Fried Lotus Root Rolls Covered with Bean-curd Sticks, commonly known as Bean-curd Stick Rolls, is a reputable traditional and folk vegetable dish in Xiaogan, Hubei. Xiaogan is famous for its abundant output of high-quality lotus roots. The locals like cooking dishes with lotus root. Especially in festivals, nearly every household cooks a delicious dish with bean-curd sticks.
Tradition has it that Zhao Kuangyin, the founder of Song Dynasty was poor in his childhood. He went to the State of Chu in early days and worked as a dealer with a wheelbarrow. In a chilly winter, he pushed his car forward from the ancient “Chucheng” (nowadays Yunmeng, Hubei) to Xihu Village, Xiaogan. When the car was fully loaded with lotus roots in Xihu, it was nightfall with snowstorm. Zhao was hungry and cold, pushing his car to a wine house in Xihu for putting up at night. He wanted wine and dishes to allay his hunger and resist coldness so much. However, it was filled with famine, frequent fighting and wars at that time. The royal court forbade wine making by the folk. In addition, the wine house had no any food. There were only two pieces of unused bean-curd sticks, scallion, gingers and few items in the kitchen. The smart chef was inspired by the scene and was adaptable to the circumstance to show his superb skills. The chef took several lotus roots from the car as his materials. Such roots were washed, peeled and cut into filaments. After preserving with salt for short time, the chef mixed them with scallion, gingers, and sliced mushrooms as well as a little flour, made strips tightly with clean cloth, and then securely covered them with bean-curd sticks applied with paste. He then cut them into drum rolls shaped like “wheels” with sawing cutting and fried for a little while. The waiter served with a dish of “Fried Lotus Root Covered with Bean-curd Sticks” and a bottle of privately made wine for Zhao. Zhao was really grateful. He praised such a dish while drinking and eating,“ bean-curd sticks roll and wine removed my worries immediately upon having both of them.” It is thus the dish named “Fried Lotus Root Rolls Covered with Bean-curd Sticks in Xiaogan” to take when drinking wine is born and passed on.
About a dozen years later, “the Chenqiao mutiny” happened in AD 960. Zhao Kuangyin became the founder emperor of Song Dynasty with a leap. One day, he suddenly thought of the uncommon good wine and delicacy he had had in Xihu Wine House in that very year. He was with deep emotions at once. To carry forward his affection, he issued an edict to Xiaogan specially where stated that the alcohol ban in Xihu was abolished. According to the records transmitted by Local Record of Xiaogan County from Fang Yu Sheng Di Lan, after Emperor Taizu (Zhao Kuangyin) became the emperor of Song Dynasty. He ordered to abolish the alcohol ban in Xihu. It was thus that thousand of wine houses started their businesses. Since then, “Xihu Wine Market” has been revitalized and passed on for years.
Today, the site with a history of thousands of years still exists. There is a stele engraved with “Place Where Emperor Buys Wine” characters along with a poem saying “a restaurant faces the lake but it is neglected. The trees decorating the market are weeping willows. There are no signs of vehicles for the Emperor. The bouquet of wine at that very year is to be recalled.” at the entrance of the west of Xiaogan. This is the historic site of Xihu Wine House which is one of the Eight Sights in Xiaogan. Time flies, things have changed and relevant personnel have passed away. However, we have records in historic documents. The wine and cuisine Zhao Kuangyin had in Xihu Wine House in that year still spread in the world today.