Anhui cuisine (Hui Cai for short), one of the eight most famous cuisines
in China, features the local culinary arts of Huizhou. It comprises the
specialties of South Anhui, Yanjiang and Huai Bei. 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, tea leaves, bamboo shoot, dates, games, etc., are from mountain
area. Huangshan Mountain 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 Huangshan
Mountain can be made into very delicious food. Xianggu, a kind of top-grade
mushroom grows on old trees, is also very tasty.
Anhui cuisine chefs pay more attention to the taste, color of dishes and
the temperature to cook them, and are good at braising and stewing. They
are experts especially in cooking delicacies from mountains and sea. Anhui
dishes preserve most of the original taste and nutrition of the materials.
Generally the food here is slightly spicy and salty. Some master dishes
usually stewed in brown sauce with stress on heavy oil and sauce. Ham
is often added to improve the taste and sugar candy added to gain freshness.
High up on the menu are stewed soft shell turtle with ham, Huangshan braised
pigeon, steamed stone frog, steamed rock partridge, stewed fish belly
in brown sauce, bamboo shoots cooked with sausage and dried mushroom,
Stewed soft shell turtle with ham:
One whole soft shell turtle, pork, ham, bamboo shoots, a clove
of garlic, shallot, ginger, soy sauce, salt, 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.
2. Steamed stone frog
Inhabited in caves, stone frog is a special product in Huangshan
Mountain. It weights 250 grams or so, whose belly is white and back
black with stripe. Stone frog is rich in 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.
Bamboo shoots cooked with sausage and dried mushroom
It is 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
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.
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