Centrally placed in China, Sichuan is a province with many mountains. During the period of the Three Kingdoms (220-265AD), the kingdom of Shu was located in Sichuan. Known as the land of plenty since ancient times Sichuan produces abundant domestic animals, poultry, and freshwater fish and crayfish. Mountain produce and river fish are the main ingredients in Sichuan cooking. As a unique style of food, Sichuan cuisine was already famous more than 800 years ago during the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279).
People immediately think of Sichuan food as being hot, sour, sweet, and salty. It is famous for its hot spicy 'Tongue Numbing' dishes. Their uniquely hot, pungent flavor is created by a mixture of spices and condiments, including red hot peppers, garlic and ginger. Hot pepper, an important flavoring in Sichuan cuisine, was introduced into China from South America around 200 to 300 years ago. Once it came to Sichuan, it became a favored food in Sichuan. Sichuan Province is highly humid and rainy. Hot pepper helps reduce internal dampness, so hot pepper was made popular in dishes, and hot dishes became popular in Sichuan food.
Some Well-known Sichuan Dishes
Sichuan is known for its attention to color, smell, and presentation with an emphasis on taste. Sichuan is well known for the richness, broadness and thickness of its taste. Its food styles are demonstrated by these famous dishes:
- Ma Po Tofu is bean curd served with very hot chili mincemeat.
- Sautéed Pork Slices with Hot Peppers
- Fish Head in Bean Curd Soup
- Fish Flavored Eggplant
- Steamed Yellow Croaker
- Boiled Cabbage
- Crystal Shrimps
- Shrimps on Rice Crust
- Fish-Flavored Pork
- Steamed Beef with Ground Rice
- Twice-cooked Pork
- Fish in Chili Bean Sauce
- Ham with Bamboo Shoots
When visiting Chengdu, you can taste these delicious and authentic local Sichuan dishes. It is a special cuisine that differs from any cuisine you will find in the rest of China.
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