Huizhou cuisine is known for its roasting, stewing, braising, and quick-frying. This style is particular about seasoning and duration and degree of cooking, and advocates stock. Oil is carefully chosen to benefit the bowels and skin. Color is considered important to increase aesthetic effect and is harmonized with fragrance and taste.
Famous dishes and snacks in Huangshan City are smelly mandarin fish, Mao bean curd, stone cake, baked yellow crab cake, and Wucheng dried bean curd. See below.
Smelly mandarin fish got its name because the live fish has a slimy smelly skin that deters predators.
History: The dish has a history of more than two hundred years and has maintained its popularity, with the name mandarin fish appearing in many pieces of Chinese literature.
Features: The offensive skin is scraped off as the first stage of preparation. Smelly mandarin fish is also called fresh preserved mandarin fish because once the skin has been removed it is salted as if for preserving the meat. The cooked fish is crisp and tender with a special aroma, and appeals to a wide spectrum of customers.
The stench of the live fish is in great contrast with the sweet smell of the dish, which adds an ironic charm, and has helped it become one of the classic dishes of Huizhou cuisine.
Because its color looks like the yellow of a boiled crab shell, it gets the name "yellow crab shell cake". It's an ideal breakfast or snack.
Mao tofu is also called Huizhou funky bean curd. "The taste is much better than the smell," people say. It's a traditional snack in Huizhou (Huangshan Prefecture) and an acquired taste. It could be considered as the Chinese alternative to a Stilton or Camembert cheese.
Sellers traditionally carry the bean curd around in a container hanging from a shoulder pole. From one end dangles chopsticks and a pan, and from the other dangles the tofu, sesame oil and hot pepper. When the oil is heated up, the hot and odorous Mao bean curd, with sounds of "zizi" on the pan, awakens the locals' appetite. It's a special cultural experience to eat Mao bean curd from a street seller. People don’t use bowls, and eat with chopsticks beside the pan.