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15 July 2015

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[National Geographical Indication Products] Changle Tianjiu

Jiuniang is a sweet, soup-or pudding-like dish in Chinese cuisine. In Hunan, it is called Tianjiu, literally sweet liquor.


Changle Tianjiu of Miluo City was approved by the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) as National Geographical Indication Product in Dingcheng District in September 2016.



Changle Tianjiu can be traced back to the reign of Emperor Zhenzong (1034-1038) of the Northern Song Dynasty. It is said that a young man named Chen Yukun, who lost his father in childhood, was raised by his mother by doing needlework. The mother's stomach acted up one day. Chen filled the boiled glutinous rice into an earthen bowl, enveloped it with quilt, put it beside stove, and then hurried to find doctor. When his mother got better three days later, they opened the bowl and smelled rich aroma. The glutinous rice turned to white and crystal clear, encircled by some soup. Chen and his mother were enchanted by the amazing taste, and took it for a god-given food. Chen found a black seed of Qu flower in the bowl, and thought of its possible function in making this dish. He tried and finally made delicious Tianjiu. He set up a shop in Changle Street with the sign of “Changle Chen’s Tianjiu”, and handed down the cooking method generation by generation.


When Emperor Shun (1320-1370) of the Yuan Dynasty went through Changle Street one day, he had a taste of the Tianjiu, and reputed it "a gift to help forget worries". Till the Qing Dynasty, Emperor Qianlong (1711-1799) came to Changle, and made an imperial inscription of "Changle Tianjiu" after his taste of such delicious dish.


Authentic Changle Tianjiu, without complex procedures though, has strict requirements for materials, vessel, and preservation.



Local glutinous rice, fresh deep well water, local Qu flower seeds as fermentation starter, and pottery and bamboo tools are required to make Changle Tianjiu. The selected glutinous rice must be in plump-eared shape, white and glossy, without any mildew and insect damage.



Changle Tianjiu is not only a delicious drink, but also rich in nutrients including sugar, mineral substances, organic acid, amino acid, and vitamin B.


Changle Tianjiu has grown from workshop making to industrial production, and was gradually developed into a key industry of Changle Town, contributing a per capita income of 3000 yuan for locals.


There have been tens of Changle Tianjiu producers. They remained traditional techniques while innovating multiple by-products, building Changle Tianjiu a featured brand.


Chinese source: