Anhui cuisine (Hui Cai in Chinese), one of the eight most famous cuisines in China, features the local culinary arts of Huizhou. It comprises the specialties of South Anhui, Yanjiang and Yanhuai.
South Anhui Cuisine, the origin and main component of Anhui Cuisine, uses ham and crystal sugar as seasonings and has a salty and delicious taste and pleasant aromas.
Yanjiang Cuisine is known for dishes prepared with aquatic products and fowls, featuring clear, refreshing, crisp, tender, delicious and mellow tastes.
Yanhuai Cuisine is salty, plus slightly spicy, with coriander and peppers as seasonings.
Anhui Cuisine has the following four characteristics:
1. Using a wide variety of ingredients.
2. Adopting unique techniques and exercising strict control on cooking process.
3. Paying great attention to nutritious food.
4. Offering various kinds of dishes, some of which are full of local flavor.
Most ingredients in Anhui cuisine, such as pangolin, stone frog, mushroom, bayberry, tea leaves, bamboo shoot, dates, games, etc., are from mountain area. Huangshan Mountain has abundant products for dish cooking. Huangshan Chukka has tender meat and a sweet taste. It can be boiled in clear soup or braised in soy sauce. The dishes help relieve internal fever and build up vital energy. The white and tender bamboo shoots produced on Huangshan Mountain can be made into very delicious food.Xianggu, a kind of top-grade mushroom growing on old trees, is also very tasty.
Anhui cuisine chefs pay more attention to the taste, color of dishes and the temperature to cook them, and are good at braising and stewing. They are experts especially in cooking delicacies from mountains and sea. Anhui dishes preserve most of the original taste and nutrition of the materials. Generally the food here is slightly spicy and salty. Some master dishes are usually stewed in brown sauce with stress on heavy oil and sauce. Ham is often added to improve the taste and sugar candy added to gain freshness.
High up on the menu are stewed soft shell turtle with ham, Huangshan braised pigeon, steamed stone frog, steamed rock partridge, stewed fish belly in brown sauce, bamboo shoots cooked with sausage and dried mushroom, etc.