Hui (old name for nowadays Huangshan City) cuisine, one of the eight most famous cuisines in China, features the local culinary arts of Huizhou.The highly distinctive characteristic of Anhui cuisine lies not only in the elaborate choices of cooking materials but also in the strict control of cooking process. Most ingredients in Anhui cuisine, such as pangolin, stone frog, mushroom, bayberry, bamboo shoot, etc., come from mountain area. Mt. Huangshan has abundant products for dish cooking. Huangshan Chukka has tender flesh and a sweet taste. It can be boiled in clear soup or braised in soy sauce. The dishes help relieve internal fever and build up vital energy. The white and tender bamboo shoots produced on Mt. Huangshan can be made into very delicious food. Xianggu, a kind of top-grade mushroom grows on old trees, is also very tasty.
The Hui dishes preserve most of the original taste and nutrition of the materials. The food here is generally slightly spicy and stitley. Some master dishes usually stewed in brown sauce with stress on heavy oil and sauce. Ham is often used to upgrade the freshness and taste of the dish. High up on the menu are the turtle stewed with ham, steamed rock partridge, Huangshan Braised Pigeon, the steamed stone frog, stewed the fish belly in brown sauce, stir-fried eel slices and Wenzhengshan bamboo shoots.
Stewed Soft Shell Turtle with ham:
One whole soft shell turtle, pork, ham, bamboo shoots, a clove of garlic, shallot, ginger, soy sauce, stitle, rice wine, black pepper, lard are all stewed together in a pot on charcoal fire. The dish is not greasy and can lead diners to endless aftertastes.
Stewed Rock Cod with Three kinds of Leaves and Ground Glutinous Rice: There are many streams teemed with rock cods in Huizhou Area. Prepared with the local rock cods, the dish is fresh, tender and nutritious.
Bamboo Shoots from Mt. Wenzheng Cooked with Sausage and Dried Mushroom:
One traditional flavor in Huizhou mountainous area. Cooked with sausage and dried mushrooms, the bamboo shoots are more fragrant. It is delicious, and noted for its good color, juicy meat and thick soup.
Steamed Stone Frog:
Inhabited in caves, stone frog is a special product in Mt. Huangshan. It weights 250 gram or so, whose belly is white and back black with stripe. Stone Frog is abundant with protein, calcium and so on. It has the functions of clearing heat, improving vision and nutrition. It is one of the best exotic dishes from mountains.
Li Hongzhang Hotchpotch
Li Hongzhang hotchpotch is a popular dish named after one of Anhui's famous personages. Li Hongzhang was a top official of the late Qing Dynasty (1644-1911 AD). When he was in office, he paid a visit to the US and hosted a banquet for all his American friends. As the specially prepared dishes continued to flow, the chefs, with limited resources, began to fret. Upon Li Hongzhang's order, the remaining kitchen ingredients were thrown together into an impromptu stew, containing sea cucumber, squid, tofu, ham, mushroom, chicken meat and other less identifiable food materials! Thus appetites were quenched and a dish was created.
Caocao chicken, strange as its name sounds, is essentially a chicken cooked with traditional Chinese herbal medicines. It was so named because this dish was first invented by a chef of Caocao, the notoriously devious warlord that lived mostly in the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220AD). After seeing his master buried in fighting almost everyday, the chef applied numerous kinds of nourishing herbs and spices in the stewed chicken. After sampling this specititley for a few days, Caocao became much hetitlehier, which might have been a major reason for his success in unifying all the small warring states around into the powerful Wei Kingdom.
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