Voice of Jinan: A taste of sweet Jinan

(chinadaily.com.cn)| Updated : 2023-09-01

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[Video by Liu Chuan/chinadaily.com.cn]

Chanmi, a handmade local snack that is amber, translucent, gooey, and incredibly sweet, has always been popular among the natives of Jinan.

To make chanmi, sugar made from sweet potatoes is cooked with water in a small pot over a coal stove until the water evaporates. The result is a thick and sticky paste that is then wrapped around two thin wooden sticks to create the chanmi snack. Today, chanmi, which has a history of over 100 years, is mostly made with maltose and honey.

In such cool autumn days, parents in Jinan usually take their children for a stroll from Furong Street to Wangfu Pool, and all the way to the Baihuazhou Historical and Cultural Block. Along the sides of the stone-paved road are small courtyards with white walls and black tiles. Perhaps there is a clear spring hidden in the inconspicuous courtyard. Further north, the street at the block is filled with small bridges and flowing streams, and shops here offer a wide variety of goods.

In one inconspicuous corner is a table with a semi-transparent plastic box on top, beside which a sign reads "chanmi". An old man sits behind the table, smiling, waiting for customers to buy his chanmi.

The traditional techniques of making chanmi were passed down from the previous generations of Grandpa Xue's family. After retiring, he set up a chanmi stall in front of his house just for fun. This stall has always attracted many people, and not just children, but also young and middle-aged people. Some are trying chanmi for the first time, while many are regular customers.

A small and humble piece of chanmi brings indescribable sweetness and contentment to the customers. It is also a sign that this traditional craft is still alive and well.