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Hunan cuisine, a recognized Chinese cuisine, is also referred to as Xiang Cai and is characterized by its aromatic, spicy and delicious food. Hunan food is indeed a strong flavored spicy version of Szechuan food. A pungent flavor in all dishes makes food here unique and chili, shallot and pepper are used in almost all the food preparations of Hunan cuisine.

Geographical And Cultural Influences On Hunan Cuisine

Hunan, which is situated at South Eastern China, is also called as land of fish and rice because of the abundance of the two. The history of Hunan cuisine can be dated back to 2100 years, when the Han dynasty was settled on this Chinese land. The presence of water areas benefit the place in providing shrimps, crabs, turtles and many varieties of fish. Due to the humidity in the air and hot climate, peppers are excessively used in Hunan food in order to take out the body heat by sweating. The cuisine has influences of other Chinese cuisines and regional variations in the food are also present.

Common Methods Adopted In Hunan Cuisine

Hunan food preparation is simple and mainly involves double boiling, steaming, roasting and stewing. Preserving meat and using it in a number of dishes is also a specialty of chefs of Hunan.

Commonly Used Ingredients In Hunan Foods

The food of Hunan distinguishes itself from other foods because of its unique pungent flavor and taste. Chili, pepper, garlic and suan sauce are mostly used as ingredients in all Hunan dishes. Honey sauces are also used in many desserts for imparting a sweet flavor. The people of Hunan also include a lot of meat and poultry dishes in their meals.

Popular Hunan Food Recipes

Hunan cuisine has over 4000 recipes and 300 of them are known for their global taste. Some of the popular recipes are:

  • Orange Beef- It is well known Hunan dish which is prepared by marinating beef in a mixture of egg white, pepper and wine.
  • Crispy Duck- Steamed and deep fried duck, flavored with star anise, fennel, peppercorns and other spices.

Trivia – Hunan cuisine

Among all the Chinese cuisine, Hunan cuisine is considered best and spiciest.

Sweet and sour sauce has its origin in Hunan.