Best season to travel to China

Jiuniang

Rice wine with high nutritional value and health benefits

Sweet Fermented Rice, also known as 酒酿 'Jiuniang' in Chinese, is a sweet rice wine fermented by steamed glutinous rice and distilled yeast. As it is sweet and mellow and low in alcohol, this Chinese dish is popular across different regions in China. People in Beijing usually eat Jiuniang as it is or mix it with some Osmanthus or charlotte. After mixing the Jiuniang with milk, the mixture would be solidified the following day. This is the other way for Beijingers to make Beijing cheese. People in the south of China eat it with eggs and milk as a supplement after giving birth.

The sweet rice wine is good for health. It has a similar effect as yoghurt—anti-inflammatory and aids in digestion—but it's dairy-free. People can both eat the cold sweet rice or warm it up. Especially in chilly winter, the hot sweet rice wine can help to warm you up from inside and strengthen your immune system. In Dongzhi Festival, Jiuniang is often served with another Chinese dish named Tangyuan. At this time, the dish is called 酒酿圆子 'Jiuniang Yuanzi'.

Jiuniang is commonly made and consumed in the winter months when fermentation can be halted easily. It's also the best time of year to warm up with this glutenous and healthy local dish.