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China: Around The Nation

Australian envoy heads home with a taste for Chinese province’s fiery cuisine

Nancy Gordon was nation’s first consul general in Chengdu and has grown to love Sichuan and its spicy cooking, according to news website report

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 12 January, 2017, 12:54pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 12 January, 2017, 12:54pm

Australia’s first consul general in Chengdu is heading home after her 3½ year stint in the southwestern Chinese city – and she’s packed her bags full of the local products she has enjoyed while in the post.

“In my suitcases, there are several packs of Pi county fermented bean paste, a replica of the Sanxingdui ancient city bronze mask and some green tea from Mount Emei,” Nancy Gordon told reporters from the news website Thepaper.cn.

The products are all unique to Sichuan province where Chengdu is situated.

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The fermented bean paste, known as dou ban jiang in Chinese, originated in the province’s Pi county during the reign of Kangxi in the Qing dynasty (1644-1911). It is on the representative list of China Intangible Cultural Heritage and has been widely touted as the soul of Sichuan cuisine.

Sanxingdui ancient city, the oldest and largest Shu ancient city in China located 40km outside Chengdu, is recognised as the most important ancient remains in the Sichuan region.

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Gordon said her two children had also stuffed their bags with Chinese products – 43 toy pandas and their cherished ping pong bats.

The outgoing consul general recalled during her first visit to Chengdu in the summer of 2000, she succumbed to the peppercorns in her bowl of dandan noodles.

Before starting her posting in July 2013 and setting up the Chengdu mission, Gordon served as second secretary at the Beijing Embassy and vice-consul at the Australian Consulate-General in Shanghai. She speaks Mandarin and Japanese.