Xuanwei ham
  • March 10,2023

I don't remember where I saw joke about "Sheng Xuanhuai, who was in charge of Li Hongzhang's western affairs. There are two Xuanwei hams from Yunnan, and gift card says "pair of Xuan legs." When Sheng Xuanhuai saw word "Xuan legs", he suddenly became angry and said bitterly: “What kind of Xuan legs are these Xuan legs, take them away.” !'"

By way, this can only be regarded as a joke.

He who really loves ham will never refuse Xuanwei ham thousands of miles away.

Xuanwei ham
Ham Craft

Why is taste and price of Xuanwei ham sold at market so different?

In addition to breed of pigs, processing technology is also one of key factors.

In past, some people processed and ate it themselves.

Slaughter pig and remove a large piece of pipa-like hind legs, rub it with salt and marinate. Sometimes a second salt is added a month after first aging of ham. Winter-dried ham is ready to eat by end of next summer.

Those who know how to eat can experience delicious taste, crispy crust, tenderness, sweetness, no residue after chewing, fat but not fat, and moderate saltiness of real Xuanwei ham. Especially for people of Yunnan who are used to eating ham, real Xuanwei ham is brought every year in season.

Xuanwei ham

The flavor of Xuanwei ham is said to be composed of 43 aromatic compounds identified by Kunming Medical College.

As a native of Yunnan, I also ate Xuanwei ham. Although I don't know if this ham is authentic or not, I always feel that compared to other hams on market, Xuanwei imported ham has a slightly less salty taste, and aftertaste of jerky is not easy to remove salty taste.

In process after that, Xuanwei ham market standard became more and more detailed, and processing method has standard parameters, which is also much more difficult.

From what I know, if you just add salt twice, it definitely won't work.

Pig leg slaughter, trimming and shaping, salting, stacking and pressing, washing and shaping, hanging and air drying, fermentation control and other references include many detailed standards.

Xuanwei ham

For example, each leg weighs about 9 kg; pig's hind legs require thin skin, thick meat, no scars, etc.; remove fat and connective tissue covering lean meat on inside of hind legs; pickle after first application of salt, each stack has 20 layers, turned over once every 5 days; salt is applied at least three times during entire process; even salt applied to a pig's hind legs also meets "fine table salt" standard. and ground black salt.

Xuanwei ham

Furthermore, best season for processing Xuanwei ham is when average temperature is around 10°C during frost season every year. Generally speaking, fermentation time of Xuanwei ham is more than 6 months.

If you want to come, it is also necessary to combine right time, place and people to observe features of different places. Xuanwei is located in northeast of Yunnan Province, Yunnan, and climate here is cold in winter, which is very suitable for curing Xuanwei ham.

Some experts believe that total vasoactive biogenic amines (tryptamine, phenylethylamine, histamine and tyramine) of less than 20 mg/100 g is one of indicators of higher quality of fermented meat products. To be honest, I cannot understand this phrase and do not dare to delve into it.

The only thing I know is that sweet taste of Xuanwei ham is due to certain amino acids and proteins.

Growth of Xuanwei ham

Most comments say that Xuanwei ham has a thousand-year history.

However, there is evidence to support story, but Xuanwei ham is said to have been developed for nearly three centuries. In other words, since Xuanwei Prefecture was founded in fifth year of Yongzheng of Qing Dynasty (1727), ham was named after name of a place called Xuanwei Ham.

Xuanwei ham

Xuanwei ham was developed early, but its fame has also been linked to Republic of China.

In 1915, Xuanwei ham won a gold medal at International Exhibition in Panama, and in 1923, at a national culinary competition held in Guangzhou, Xuanwei ham won "Decent Food and Drink" award for itself. This is where word "Dehe" comes from in Dehe cannery.

After company rose to prominence, promotion of Xuanwei ham to market did not go smoothly.

Xuanwei ham

Businesses seek profit, and lack of effective market surveillance leads to problems such as uneven product quality, low market competition, disorderly industrial development, and chaotic production technology. At that time, businessmen who joined Xuanwei Ham production line were different.

In context of "internal and external problems", supply of high-quality products is in short supply, and low-quality products have almost smashed golden sign of Xuanwei Ham.

Needless to say about substandard products, market development and survival of fittest is only a matter of time.

However, Xuanwei's high-quality ham still faces challenges such as production and pig production.

Xuanwei ham

Starting in 1970s, with promotion and popularization of breeding and improving pigs, Xuanwei City began to introduce a large number of different breeds of pigs for breeding and fattening piglets. However, due to irregular crossbreeding, pedigree of most breeding sows in city was disordered, which directly led to a large difference in quality of pig ham raw materials, and quality of ham was uneven, which seriously limited development of sows. ham industry.

With regard to high-quality raw materials of Xuanwei pig breed, many people have long believed that "Wujin pig" in northeast of Yunnan Province is best. However, Woojin pigs grow slowly and breeding time takes about two years. And in order to make Wujin pork taste better and have a stronger meat flavor, Wujin pig feed is also more focused on traditional pig feed, including natural crops such as corn, potatoes, and marya.

In other words, limiting factors such as litter size, growth rate, feed reward, and lean meat percentage of Wujin pigs make Xuanwei ham raw material cost control difficult.

After research, today's Xuanwei ham is still primarily made from hybrid pigs, with coarseness removed and essence extracted, which at very least allows for more flavor and cost control in production of Xuanwei ham. Among these high-quality hybrid pig breeds, shadow of Wujin pigs is still indispensable. It is said that taste and aroma of ham made from hybrid pig breeds containing blood of Wujin pigs is also better.

Xuanwei ham
fulfilled a small goal

In year 2000, many people welcomed dawn of a new century, but Xuanwei ham heralded decline of industry.

After years of disorderly development, powerful enterprises in Xuanwei ham market are gradually being squeezed out. Around 1996, a number of large state-owned ham companies in Xuanwei began to decline, and their losses became more and more serious. The situation of "bad money crowding out good money" led to a turning point in development of Xuanwei ham industry in 2000.

Despite difficulties, only desperate can survive.

Xuanwei ham

In 2001, mandatory national standard GB18357 "Huangwei Ham" was issued.

In second half of 2008, GB/T18357-2008 "Xuanwei Ham Geographical Indication Products" was released and implemented. At same time, disorderly development of Xuanwei ham production attracted attention of government and relevant departments.

In April 2009, Xuanwei ham was recognized as a well-known trademark. Shortly thereafter, 9 enterprises received permission to use Xuanwei Ham Geographical Indication Certification Mark.

Xuanwei ham

As a result of perfect market supervision, final product of Xuanwei ham is classified.

In 2013, Xuanwei City was named "Hometown of Chinese Ham Culture".

In 2015, Xuanwei's fresh ham production reached nearly 100,000 tons, ranking second in domestic ham industry.

In August 2019, Qujing City celebrated 70th anniversary of founding of New China with a series of press conferences: Xuanwei's special press conference was successfully held, and city positioned Xuanwei City as a "famous city of Chinese ham and food culture", it also became clear: to About 68,000 tons of ham will be produced in Xuanwei City in 2021, and output of ham industry will exceed 10 billion yuan.

Xuanwei ham

In 2021, Xuanwei City's promised "10 billion dollar output" was also achieved. Xuanwei city radiation has resulted in slaughter of about 3 million pigs, about 62,000 tons of fermented ham, and about 30,000 tons of intensive processing. The production value of live pigs is about 5.859 billion yuan, and production value of ham is about 10.4 billion yuan.

Now, Xuanwei City ham production continues to work hard to move forward. Online sales channels can also easily search for Xuanwei ham by keywords.

However, Xuanwei ham is still not well known in other provinces. I remember last May a friend from Beijing asked me which brand of Xuanwei ham is real one?

I'm in shock.

Xuanwei ham

In addition to being a little savvy about ham mooncakes, this large piece of Xuanwei ham that looks like a pipa is a blind spot for me.

Which brands are more famous, which brands are more authentic, which brands have a longer history, and which brands are more profitable...

Perhaps other than people of Xuanwei, few people from other places can speak clearly.