Well Salt is salt made in China by boiling down brine obtained from wells, particularly in Sichuan.Cooks in Sichuan prefer their own local well salt in cooking. They say that sea salt, for instance, gives pickles a bitter taste. Sichuan Cuisine. China Internet Information Center. Retrieved June 2009 from http://www.china.org.cn/english/imperial/26133.htm
The historic centre of production in China has been Zigong City in Sichuan Province, though by the late 1980s, other areas of China such as Hunan and Hubei started to boost their own Well Salt production.
To make it, a well is drilled. Historically, bulls turned cranks that hauled up barrels of brine from the well.  When the oxen died, they were fed to the workers as beef — cooked by boiling in salted water, of course. Oxen were used a great deal in Sichuan industry, helping to explain the presence of more beef in Sichuan cooking than other Chinese regional cuisines. The water was boiled to evaporate it away and leave the salt behind. Soymilk would be added to help foreign particles in the water coagulate around it for easy removal. One large pan of bittern boiled for 8 hours would produce about 80 kg of table salt.
During the summer, the men often worked naked because of the heat (and so, women were banned from entering.)
Other salts are produced as well, such as salt for bathing.
Zigong is also well-known for its lantern festivals.
Salt mines were first established in Zigong in the first century AD. One well, which is still producing, the Dagong, was established sometime in the 400s or 500s. There were at one point around 13,000 wells. Salt was transported out on the Fuxi River. A large guildhall built by salt merchants in the 1700s is now a museum.
The salt trade made the area very prosperous.
Bloch, David. China & Salt Made the World Go Round. 1996. Retrieved June 2009 from http://www.salt.org.il/frame_china1.html
China Daily. City with Dash of Salt. 9 January 2004.
Zhiling, Huang and Liao Changwei. Lanterns add spice to Zigong’s salt. China Daily. 27 February 1998.
|↑1||Sichuan Cuisine. China Internet Information Center. Retrieved June 2009 from http://www.china.org.cn/english/imperial/26133.htm|
|↑2||When the oxen died, they were fed to the workers as beef — cooked by boiling in salted water, of course. Oxen were used a great deal in Sichuan industry, helping to explain the presence of more beef in Sichuan cooking than other Chinese regional cuisines.|