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Baked Sweet Potato (烤红薯)

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Sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas) were first brought to the New World by Columbus who came upon them on the Island of St. Thomas. Other people believe it silently moved across the Pacific. The Chinese people encountered the sweet potato in the Philippines when a famine in Fujian district reminded the governor to send several expeditions in search of food plants.

In the Chinese cuisine, sweet potatoes are not appreciated as much as they should be. Only few sweet potato recipes can nowadays be found in the Chinese cookbooks, the reason behind that being that this dish is still stigmatized as "poor people food". Because of China's huge population, here this plant tends to be more widely consumed than in any other country of the world. Though it may be sometimes served as a confection or dessert, it is mainly eaten as a high carbohydrate vegetable and even if it does not have as much protein as white potatoes, it still constitutes an excellent source of carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins and beta carotene.

Baked sweet potatoes is a Chinese type of street food, sold by vendors to passersby on the street. Sweet potatoes can be prepared the same way as the regular potatoes: they can be baked, boiled, microwaved, grilled or tossed in the coals. The dish usually serves as a nutritious appetizer or everyday vegetable to have on standby, or they can be considered a real epicurean delight. The sweet potatoes need to be beautifully decorated, to make them eye-catching, attractive and mouth-watering.

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