Natual Diet Custom of Li Ethnic Group
The Li nationality diet custom has remarkable characteristics, making use of the natural resources. Li people generally live in the mountains, the mountain mouse, filed mouse, and squirrel all being their delicacies. They catch mice in the field, burn the hair in the bonfire, and take out the internal organs. At last, the mice are either roasted or boiled, then flavored with some salt and hot pepper. Li people also make pickled cabbage: they first clean the wild herbs, then add some livestock bones or wild animal bones as well as some salt, finally seal them into a jar to ferment.
Li people call this kind of pickled cabbage “Nansha”, which has strong sour odor and can relieve summr heat and whet the appetite. It is an essential dish of Li people throughout the year. From the old times, the Li women have the habbit of chewing the betel. They cut the betel nut into small thin pieces and chew them together with the kernels. The dry betel nut is by airing after boiling it thoroughly. When eating it, cut it into small pieces, and add some thick liquid mixed with mussel ash and lime. The stuffs are all wrapped in “Fuliuye”, then people can slowly chew it and have the remaining juice. The more one chews, the sweeter it becomes. Since chewing the betel nut has the functions of relieving the chest depression, geting down the dropsy and eliminating the malaria, it is regarded by Li people as a mascot and a love token of the young.
What makes the visitors most interested about is the bamboo tube food. Under the guidance of warm-hearted Li girls, they first chop a length of thick tender bamboo, and fill in the local special product, fragrant glutinous rice, and the right amount of water, or mix some lean meat and salt into it. The bamboo tube is then placed above the burning firewood. When the water in it is boiling, cover its upper mouth with leaves or wooden stopper, and rotate the bamboo tube frequently to make it evenly heated. After the fragrance of rice overflows, remove it from the fire. In a moment, split the tube with the knife, then it can be eatern. For people who hurry on with their journey, the Li girls will put several tubes into their travel bags.