Liuzhou Laowai

Random thoughts on life in Liuzhou, Guangxi, China

Friday Food 52 – Osmanthus

Friday food is a weekly article about one of the more unusual food items to be found in Liuzhou that week. This week, osmanthus flowers.

Osmanthus flowers are the flowers of a tree  (osmanthus fragens) native to this part of China. It is often called Sweet Osmanthus or Tea Olive in English and the Chinese name is 桂花. This first character is the same character as the in Guilin (guì lín) which means ‘osmanthus forest’ and the character at the front of all Guangxi vehicle registration plates.

Many of the trees in Liuhou park in the city centre are osmanthus trees.

Osmanthus flowers

The flowers are collected from around October into the winter and can sometimes be bought on the streets of Liuzhou, although I haven’t seen any so far this year. Something to look forward to. Their sweet fragrance is highly valued.

Osmanthus flowers are added to tea in the same way jasmine or chrysanthemum flowers are. Typically this will be green tea, but not always.

Osmanthus green tea – 桂花绿茶

Osmanthus green tea – 桂花绿茶

Alternatively, they can be used to flavour rice wine.

Osmanthus rice wine 桂花酒

The flowers are also used to flavour and scent cakes and cookies (桂花糕). These are available from Nancheng supermarkets.

Osmanthus cake 桂花糕

The flowers are also added to soups and dumpling fillings etc. In Taiwan and in Tianjin, in northern China, the flowers are used to make a type of sauce or jam known as 桂花酱. This is used to flavour porridge. I’ve never come across it round here, but I haven’t been looking for it.

Osmanthus jam (桂花酱) from Taiwan

Note: After a full year of weekly Friday Foods, I’m going to be giving them a rest for a bit. Not that there aren’t many weird and wonderful foodstuffs out there still to be investigated. Just that I have other pressures on my time at the moment.

A big thanks to everyone who has expressed their appreciation. I will be doing more; probably just not on such a regular weekly basis. – LL

. This entry was posted on Friday, November 9th, 2012 at 7:00 am and is filed under Food and Drink, Friday Food. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

6 Responses to “Friday Food 52 – Osmanthus”

  1. keith Says:

    Good Job LL. Well appreciated and well done.

  2. Angelika Says:

    I hope one day you will go on with your Friday food , was really good and I liked to read and also could learn a lot from
    Please try to go on when you have time ( maybe once a month ? )
    But thank you for all this information about food in Liuzhou

  3. Liuzhou Laowai Says:

    Thank you Angelika. I’m sure I’ll manage at least one a month. Maybe more. Friday Food will return.

  4. Angelika Says:

    Xie xie

  5. David Says:

    Always look forward to your Friday treat so sorry to hear this , but perfectly understand . Never quite undstood how you found the time for all the research needed . Thank you for a very enjoyable series , and look forward to the monthly version .
    Er , just one thing….”other pressures on my time” couldn’t mean you’ve been elected boss of bosses in Beijing could it…sir ?

  6. Liuzhou Laowai Says:

    “Er , just one thing….”other pressures on my time” couldn’t mean you’ve been elected boss of bosses in Beijing could it…sir ?”

    That is a State Secret! Sshhhh!



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