Hunan cuisine, known as Xiang cuisine, is one of the eight regional cuisines of China. The cooking skills employed in Hunan cuisine reached a high standard as early as the Western Han Dynasty, over 2,100 years ago.
Features of Hunan Cuisine
Hunan cuisine is hot because the air is very humid which makes it difficult for the human body to eliminate moisture. The local people eat hot peppers to help remove dampness and coldness.
Hunan is known for its smoke-cured foods. Smoky and spicy are the two tastes mainly associated with Hunan cuisine.
Hunan Cuisien consists of three styles: Xiang River style, Dongting Lake style and western Hunan style.
Xiang River style
It is represented by Changsha, Xiangtan and Hengyang. This region boasts good transportation, talented people, and abundant resources. Local dishes are delicately cooked with plentiful ingredients, cutting skill, degree of cooking, colour and appearance all being of the utmost importance. Cooking methods include stewing, simmering, curing, steaming, stir-frying, frying, and quick-frying. The flavours are pungent, fresh and fragrant. Such dishes as hot and spicy chicken, stir-fried tripe slivers, tripe in duck's web soup, and dried scallops with steamed egg-whites are all typical food.
Western Hunan Style
It refers to the western mountainous area. As this area is rich in mountains, it has abundant mushrooms and fungi. The mountain dwellers also make smoked and cured meats that are salty, fragrant, hot and delicious. Representative dishes are steamed cured meat, Double Ninth Festival fungi and deep-fried loach, all of which have special flavours.
Dongting Lake Style
Dongting Lake region, surrounded by Changde, Yiyang and Yueyang, is a tourist area. The Story of Yueyang Tower, written by Fan Zhongyan, a man of letters and statesman during the Song Dynasty, stressed the beauty of the landscape and gave cultural meaning to the making and naming of local dishes. The dishes are famous for sea food, livestock and poultry with a deep colour and hot and salty flavour. Representative dishes are Xiaoxiang Turtle, Wuling snake, Dongting wild duck and jade-belt fish roll.
Famous Dishes of Hunan Cuisine
unan cuisine consists of more than 4,000 dishes, among which over 300 are very famous. It is characterized by its hot and sour flavour, fresh aroma, and deep colour.
►Top 10 Hunan Dishes