Hunan cuisine lays a stress on the use of oil, dense color, and techniques that produce crispness, softness and tenderness as well as the savory flavors and spices.
Hunan cuisine, also known as Xiang cuisine, consists of the cuisines of the Xiang River region, Dongting Lake, and western Hunan province in China. It is one of the Eight Great Traditions of Chinese cuisine and is well known for its hot spicy flavour, fresh aroma and deep colour. Common cooking techniques include stewing, frying, pot-roasting, braising, and smoking. Due to the high agricultural output of the region, ingredients for Hunan dishes are many and varied.
While similar to Sichuan cuisine, Hunan Cuisine is often spicier and contains a larger variety of ingredients. Other characters distinguish Hunan cuisine from Sichuan cuisine is that in general, Hunan cuisine utilizes smoked and curing food in its dishes much more frequent than Szechuan cuisine.
Hunan cuisine lays a stress on the use of oil, dense color, and techniques that produce crispness, softness and tenderness as well as the savory flavors and spices. Stewed fins, fried fresh cabbage with chestnuts, Dong Anzi chicken, immortal chicken with five elements, are of the highest reputation. Chairman Mao, together with other leaders praised the Hunan cuisine in 1958.
Some famous Hunan Cuisine
Stewed fins - had been famous during the Qing Dynasty. Choice fins, chickens, pork are stewed in chicken soup and sauce, tasting really fresh and mellow.
Immortal chicken with five elements - means to put five elements, litchi, longan, red dates, lotus seeds, and medlar, into the body of a chicken, then to braise. The taste is rather peculiar but it is said to have the effect of strengthening the constitution.