Anhui Cuisine: China’s Best Kept Culinary Secret

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.”

Zui Weng Ting

This restaurant has just moved into spacious new digs, and it’s a good thing because the old location was a little dated. Serves some of the tastiest food in town, with many key ingredients being imported from Anhui Province.

The Old Mother Hen’s Soup, the Li Hongzhang Stew and the Jia Yu Turtle Simmered in Ham-Flavoured Broth are highly recommended. The servings are very generous, with most dishes under ¥40. The menu has pictures, but no English translations.

3rd Floor, Zhong Xin Commercial Building, Min Tian Road, Fu Tian District, Shenzhen. Tel: (86 – 755) 8324 9255 Cuisine: Anhui (Hui) Specialties: stews, sizzlings platters and seasonal vegetables Average food cost: ¥-¥¥ Opening hours: 10 am – 11.30 pm

Price Guide ¥ – most dishes under ¥50 ¥¥ – most dishes under ¥100 ¥¥¥ – most dishes under ¥150 ¥¥¥¥ – many dishes/main courses more than ¥150

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