宣威火腿 (xuān wēi huó tuǐ)
Also known as Cloud Ham, Xuanwei Ham is one of China's three most famous ham dishes along with Jinhua Ham from Zhejiang province and Rugao Ham from Jiangsu province. It is known for its fragrance, appearance, and fantastic taste.
Xuanwei county, located in northeast Yunnan province in Southwest China has been renowned for producing dry-cured ham. The history of Xuanwei ham dates back to 1766 and in 1909, it was first mass-produced and has gained popularity ever since. In 1915 Xuanwei ham won a Gold Medal at Panama International Fair.
Xuanwei ham is one of the specialties in Yunnan and has already been introduced to the global market. In Qing and Ming Dynasty, it's a necessary gift for friends and guests. During the gourmet festival, ham is used as the main ingredient to create different delicious dishes.
Xuanwei ham is like good wine: the older the better. A ham that's been aged at least 3 years can be eaten raw like prosciutto di parma.
Xuanwei ham has to be made from a specific breed of black pig known for its high-fat content, muscle quality and thin skin. The ham is slightly salty and sweet, without any oily taste. It is one of Yunnan province's most popular dishes.
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