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Nuodeng Ham

Introduced to millions of Chinese in the culinary TV series A Bite of China, Nuodeng ham has appreciated due to its special aroma and popularity visitors to Yunnan may have not known before.

Nuodeng Town of Yunlong County had an important economic status in West Yunnan in the past, because it boasts of natural brines that can be boiled to produce potassium-rich salt. Locals fetched brines from "salt wells" and traded home-made salt, a situation that finally made Nuodeng a vital station frequently visited by horse caravans on the Ancient Tea-Horse Trail.

Salt made here is consumed by locals too, and one of its major uses is to preserve pork such as Nuodeng ham.

People in Nuodeng would slaughter pigs to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year Festival; and the hind legs are usually made into hams, for which Nuodeng salt is a must. 

The fresh ham is at first appropriately smeared with salt, and several salted hams will be kept in a vat for about 20 days. The salted ham will be gotten out of the vats and before hoisted in wind, it will again be smeared with salt to guard against going bad.

Next, the salted ham will be kept (hoisted) in cool places to further mould. Generally speaking, such hams taste good after being kept for about one year.