Anhui cuisine, known as Hui Cai (徽菜) in Mandarin, is perhaps China’s best kept culinary secret. The flavours are rich and subtle thanks to the careful use to hams and sugared candies to enrich and deepen flavours. Wild herbs – from both the land and the sea – are frequently used. It is similar in style to Jiangsu cuisine.
Anhui cuisine is based on the cooking style of of the Huangshan Mountains. Soft shelled turtles, stone frogs, bamboo shoots, and dried mushrooms are frequently used. Braising and stewing are the usual cooking methods. One of the most popular dishes is Li Hongzhang stew, named after a top official in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).
“Hui cuisine is characterized by the use of simple ingredients,” says Ng Wing-kun, executive Chinese chef at the Futian Shangri-La, Shenzhen, China.. “One of the key elements is the control of the cooking flame, with an emphasis on colour and bringing out the flavors of the ingredients.”
My culinary tour of China is coming to a close. Tomorrow (see Shandong Cuisine) I explain how I came up with this topic in the first place. And after that (see Fujian Cuisine) I explain how my quest to track down restaurants serving all eight of China’s Eight Great Cuisines in Shenzhen nearly suffered a train wreck.
Copyright: Michael Taylor