Chinese consumers love peanuts. The country is the number one producer of peanuts and yet China still imports peanuts from the US and other countries to meet the demand. This summer, American global food brand McDonalds tapped into Chinese love of peanut products and launched an LTO of a beef burger topped with a steamed egg and creamy peanut butter sauce. In a four-star review of the sandwich, this site said, “for those not in the know, peanut butter is probably the single greatest addition to a burger.”
A burger topped with peanut sauce at a global chain is definitely a modern interpretation of peanuts in China. But what recipes and packaged products with peanuts are popular with Chinese people?
Peanut oil is the most popular use for peanuts in China and is used for frying, like in this recipe for Chinese Fried Peanuts. Chinese consumers love to snack on peanuts like spiced boiled peanuts. Peanuts are a traditional snack for Chinese New Year as well. The all-American staple peanut butter is growing in popularity too.
Traditional Chinese dishes with peanuts include blistering hot dan dan noodles made with “chili black bean paste, ground pork, a dollop of raw minced garlic and crunchy ground peanuts topped off with scallions and cilantro. The sauce is placed at the bottom of an empty bowl, unseasoned al dente noodles are put over the sauce and the diner is charged with the task of mixing it all up,” according to Derrick Chang in this article. Another dish, eggplant with red chilies and ginger, is stir fried in peanut oil for extra flavor.
Walk the aisles of an upscale grocery store chain in a large city in China and you’ll find popular American brands like Skippy, Jif and Peter Pan peanut butters, and Planters peanuts alongside Chinese brands like spicy Huang Fei Hong peanuts with tongue-numbing chilies and Farmer brand in-shell peanuts. Like in the US, a growing number of Chinese consumers are choosing to do more of their shopping online and can buy products like Hoody’s, Kirkland Signature and Planters brands of USA peanuts.
Peanuts are rooted deeply in Chinese culture and--from fast food to online shopping--they are staying relevant today.
Header image: sohu.com