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September 16, 2019

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Home » City specials » Hangzhou

Sauce specialist relies on tasty traditions

Located along the Xiaohe River, Xiaohezhi Street is one of the most popular areas in Hangzhou thanks to its charming mix of crisscrossing lanes, fashionable boutiques and traditional architecture.

The time-honored Fang Zengchang Sauce Store epitomizes the street’s long history. According to local records, it was established in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) when the street thrived by virtue of the prospering river trade.

In its heyday, it had a large-scale workshop and sold a myriad of hand-made, mouth watering sauces and pickled vegetables, attracting endless streams of customers.

“Today, automated machines are used in modern sauce factories. Thus the production takes less time and the labor cost is lower. However, our hand-made products are still tastier because of our secret recipes,” said Zheng Qing, owner of the Fang Zengchang brand.

Today, the brand retains only an outlet on Xiaohezhi Street. Production lines have moved to Haiyan, Haining and Anji counties, where its veteran staff still practice traditional production techniques.

“We keep a pure hand-made process. For example, a bottle of soybean paste takes about 180 days to ferment, far longer than machine-made products,” Zheng told Shanghai Daily.

In the traditional fermentation process, sauces are stored in large vats and stirred every day. This process might raise production time and costs, but the final product is a sauce that’s full of aroma and savory flavor.

Three years ago, the recipes of Fang Zengchang sauces and pickles were inscribed onto the list of Gongshu District’s intangible cultural heritage. With government support, this centuries-old brand has gotten more exposure.

Last week, the Hangzhou government hosted a temple fair, which offered a platform for local artisans to promote their traditional crafts. Fang Zengchang was invited to attend the event.

“We seize every opportunity to promote our products. Compared with other brands that advertise themselves in the media, we rely on our quality and government support to secure our reputation,” Zheng added.


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