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Dou Zhi 豆汁 – A Beijing Snack Food With Many Health Benefits

Ira Wahrman L.Ac drinking fresh dou zhi in Beijing.

     I usually make a trip to Beijing once a year.  I go to visit my wife’s family, to study acupuncture, tuina and to just take it easy. The first thing that I want to eat when I get off the plane is not one of the other famous Beijing dishes like Beijing duck,  zha jiang mian, chao gan, etc.  All I want are a few bowls of dou zhi. Dou zhi is a Muslim Beijing snack food that is very popular with old Beijing people.  When I say old Beijing I mean both the elderly and people that have family roots in Beijing going back a few generations.

     Dou zhi is a fermented soup/drink made from mostly mung beans.  In the summer it can be drunk raw and in the winter it can be heated.  All places that make dou zhi in Beijing keep the recipe a very closely guarded secret.  There are definitely mung beans in there but I am not sure what other ingredients.  Most restaurants that serve it need to have it brought in because most cooks do not know how to make it.When you walk into a restaurant or a dou zhi place you can smell it as soon as you walk into the door. When I first tried it I thought it smelled and tasted horrible.  It smells like sweaty gym socks and tastes sour.  It was awful.  After two more times of trying it I started to love it.  Now I am addicted to it.  Local people say after three times you are hooked.  Traditionally most people drink dou zhi with jiao chuan and some pickled vegetables.  Jiao chuan looks like a thin doughnut but it is crunchy all the way through.

     Dou zhi is considered  a local health food.  Many Chinese medicine doctors suggest drinking it to their patients.  Most dou zhi places advertise this stinky drink as a very good accompaniment  to the treatment of diabetes.  Dou zhi can be helpful for most chronic diseases. mung beans are used in Chinese medicine to remove heat and toxins from the body.  In the summer time dou zhi can be drunk raw.  It is very good to keep the body cool in the hot and humid weather.    I prefer to drink dou zhi warm.  The heat allows the dou zhi to take on a quality that warms the spleen/stomach and drains dampness.  If you have read prior posts from this blog you would be familiar with the importance of these organ systems.  Usually you would need a complex herbal formula to warm and nourish the spleen as well as remove heat and toxins.     Dou zhi is perfect for jet lag.  I always have dou zhi when I get off the plane and I do not have any trouble adjusting to the time difference between New York and Beijing.  Once my wife was bleeding from her throat due to Lung fire.  I had her drink four bowels of dou zhi and the bleeding stopped.  We had a friend in Beijing that had a urinary tract infection. She had a few bowls of dou zhi and the damp heat in her lower jiao cleared up.  The infection was gone. Dou zhi is a food so it is safe for most people to drink. If you can get past the stink you will enjoy it very much.

– Enjoy
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