The Cuisine of Huangshan in Anhui Province, often called Anhui Cuisine, is one of the eight major cuisines of China. Anhui Cuisine features an elaborate choice of ingredients and incorporates many different cooking styles. Special attention is paid to the taste, color, and appearance of each dish. People in Anhui feel that appearance is equally as important as taste when it comes to cooking. Generally, Hui Cuisine is slightly spicy and normally salty. A large amount of ingredients used in Anhui Cuisine comes from Huangshan Mountain.
Stewed Soft-shelled Turtle in Clear Soup:
Also known as Ham and Turtle soup, this dish is one of the oldest traditional dishes in Anhui Province. It uses soft-shelled turtles from the mountainous areas near Huangshan. The dish's main ingredients consist of an entire soft-shelled turtle, ham, bamboo shoots, garlic, ginger, black pepper, and salt. The ingredients are all stewed together over a charcoal fire. This traditional Hui Cuisine dish is famous throughout China.
Wenzheng Hill Bamboo Shoots Cooked with Sausage and Dried Mushrooms:
This dish was created using bamboo shoots from Wenzheng Hill located in Shexian County, Anhui Province. The main ingredients are Wenzheng Hill bamboo shoots, locally made pork sausage, dried mushrooms from Huangshan Mountain, and spices. The dish is known for its tender, crisp bamboo shoots which absorb the flavors from the sausage and mushrooms. This dish is known for its color and fragrance.
Stinky Tofu (Bean Curd):
Rumored to have been first created during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), this dish was enjoyed by the Kang Xi Emperor, making it famous throughout China. The dish smells strong but has a very light and delicate flavor. Most visitors to the Huangshan area are scared off by the smell, but they are missing a wonderful dish. Traditionally sold in little roadside stalls, the dish can now be found in many restaurants. The fermented tofu is fried, and then many spices are added to it.
Mandarin Perch live in the Xinan River that flows through Huangshan City. The ideal time to eat this dish is when the peach blossoms bloom. It is at this time when the small river shrimp hatch, and become the Mandarin Perch's main food source. The shrimp change the taste of the fish's meat making it much more delicious than it normally is. It is said that the Mandarin Perch can help lower cholesterol.
Laba Tofu (Bean Curd)
Laba refers to a traditional Chinese festival that comes on the eighth day of the twelfth lunar month. This day is often the coldest day of the year, and the round tofu is round and gold in color and reminds people of the sun. Tofu is cut into circles with a small hold in the center. Some salt is put into the hole, and the tofu is left to dry in the winter sun. The salt is slowly absorbed into the tofu. The finished Laba Tofu is smooth as jade and golden in color and tastes savory and salty. Laba Tofu can be fried and eaten plain, or stir-fried with meat.
Li Hongzhang Hotchpotch:
This popular dish was named after its creator Li Hongzhang. During the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), Li Hongzhang was a top official in China's capital. His official duties took him to the United States, where he held a banquet for American dignitaries. His chefs found it difficult to create Chinese dishes because a lot of ingredients used in Chinese cooking could not be found. Li Hongzhang suggested the chefs take whatever ingredients they had available and mix them together in a stew. The dish was very popular, and upon returning to China, Li Hongzhang served it to his fellow officials and it became a hit. This dish contains squid, tofu, sea cucumber, ham, mushrooms, chicken, and many other ingredients. It truly is a hotchpotch.
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