Tasty lotus seeds now even easier to enjoy
Undulating in the summer breeze, pink and white lotus flowers are now in full blossom in Hangzhou’s West Lake. To create more space for the densely dotted plants, local government dispatched workers to pluck leaves and seedpods between late July and August.
The raw lotus seeds embedded in the round seedpods taste refreshing and aromatic, which makes them popular among gastronomes. Locals have long appreciated the lotus seeds for their delicious taste.
Previously, buying freshly picked seedpods from the West Lake required some good luck, because the selling sites were not fixed. However, since July 29, the scenic area has set up a stall at the Orioles Singing in the Willows Garden where visitors can purchase the freshest seedpods picked within two hours. It opens from 8:30am and closes once the seedpods are sold out on weekdays.
Since supplies are limited, every buyer can only spend up to 10 yuan (US$1.4) — 5 yuan for three seedpods and 5 yuan for four leaves. Alipay and WeChat payment are recommended.
The West Lake is the best place in the city to appreciate lotus flowers. However, lotuses found in the lake are the hualian (花莲) species which mainly grow flowers and rarely produce seedpods. Therefore, pods from the lake don’t always meet the demand of the market.
Visitors can buy seed-powder gifts from souvenir outlets or savor popular local dishes including steamed pork rib and rice wrapped with lotus leaves, and lotus seeds with white fungus soup in restaurants.
Hangzhou locals grind dried lotus seeds into powder. The sweet, sticky starch is considered a nutritious food in China. It is often mixed with hot water for a drink.
Tourists can also view lotus flowers from the banks of Broken Bridge, the Moon over the Peaceful Lake in Autumn Garden, the Solitary Hill and Beishan Street. They will bloom from late August till early September.