Huge vinegar lake in Shanxi to attract world's attention
A local saying goes that people in northern China's Shanxi Province would never have a meal without mature vinegar. To show their passion for vinegar, people in Shanxi built a huge lake to fill with vinegar.
The lake, built in 2013, is located in a mature vinegar themed park in Yuci District in the city of Jinzhong. Measuring 270 meters long and 24 meters wide at its widest point, the vinegar lake can hold over 15,000 tonnes of Laochencu (mature vinegar).
Shanxi has an over 3,000-year-long history of making vinegar. Its Laochencu is especially famous.
Different from the Western cider vinegar, Shanxi Laochencu is brewed from a combination of sorghum, peas and barley. Studies show that Laochencu is a rich source of amino acids and vitamins and can help soften blood vessels.
The five processes for brewing the mature vinegar includes steaming, leavening, fumigating, spraying and aging, said Guo, who is also an inheritor of the vinegar brewing skill which has been listed as a national intangible cultural heritage.
"To make the vinegar purer, we expose the vinegar in the sun in summer and sometimes we have to remove a thin layer of ice from the top of it in winter during the aging process in the lake," said Guo.
Shanxi people's craze for vinegar has developed into a form of culture in the area, said Guo. To better showcase this cultural craze, the Shanxi Mature Vinegar Group Co., Ltd. established the park as a national intangible cultural heritage preservation base. This 15,000-tonne vinegar lake is one of the most eye-catching projects in the area.
The park where the vinegar lake is located is now a tourist attraction featuring Shanxi mature vinegar culture. Guo said a series of vinegar products developed by his team including Shanxi mature vinegar and Shanxi health vinegar have been exported to countries like the United States, Germany and Japan.
Now, over 100,000 tourists visit the vinegar lake each year. Therefore, Guo and his colleagues are planning to apply for the Guinness World Record for the lake so as to enhance the prestige of the vinegar culture and attract tourists from across the world.