Anhui cuisine is one of the lesser known of the Eight Great Cuisines of China. Anhui Province is a poorer inland province west of Shanghai, so its food is basically a hearty mountain peasant food, famously the diet of the Yellow Mountains and the tourist area of Huangshan.
The best Anhui food is known for incorporating wild ingredients from the local mountains for a tasty, different, and healthful cuisine.
Wild food: Anhui cuisine is known for wild picked or caught delicacies from the mountains as the main ingredients and flavorings. Anhui has large mountain forest areas. Wild caught frogs, local small shrimp, turtles, and lots of other wildlife are put into their soups and stews.
Fungi: Both wild and cultivated fungi and mushrooms are relished as flavorings and for their nutritional value.
Herbs and vegetables: For Chinese, food is medicine. They pay attention to both the season and the weather, and use yin foods and yang foods as necessary to achieve balance and promote health and comfort. Locally produced bayberry, tea leaves, bamboo shoots, and dates all come from mountain areas. Locally picked wild herbs add both aroma and medicinal effects.
Staples: Nowadays, both rice and wheat products are the staples. But in times past, the traditional staple was rice. Anhui-ers also grow various root crops for staple foods, such as kinds of potatoes that fit their climate and land.
Pork and ham: If you like pork, this cuisine is for you since it makes it way into many popular dishes. These include:
Reflecting the peasant origins, their chefs use comparatively simple methods of preparation.
Hui chefs are particular about controlling cooking time and temperature. High, medium, or low heat is applied according to the quality and characteristics of the different ingredients, and the flavor requirements of finished dishes. They aim to cook food to perfection, and not overcook to protect the nutrition. So they have special skill in sautéing and stewing to achieve a delicate lightness in taste.
There are three regional styles: the Huai River (north Anhui) and the Yangtze River (central Anhui) lowland regions, which traditionally used river fish and aquatic creatures, and the more famous style of the southern Anhui region where the Yellow Mountains are.
The Yellow Mountains are a popular tourist area, where foreign tourists like to hike. Here are some local specialties to try if you go:
|Ham and “Whippy” Bamboo Stew||huǒtuǐ dùn biān sǔn||Hwor-tway dwnn byen swnn||火腿炖鞭笋|
|Stewed Turtle with Ham||huǒtuǐ dùn jiǎyú||Hwor-tway dwnn jyaa-yoo||火腿炖甲鱼|
|Red-Cooked Chicken||fú lí jí shāo jī||Foo lee jee shaoww jee||符离集烧鸡|
|Snowy Winter Roast Chicken||xuě dōng shāo jī||Sshwair dong shaoww jee||雪冬烧鸡|
|Tasteless Smoked Duck||wúwèi xūn yā||Woo-way sshyoon yaa||无味熏鸭|
|Fat King Fish in Milk Soup||nǎi zhī féi wáng yú||Neye jrr fay wung yoo||奶汁肥王鱼|
|Honeycomb Tofu||fēngwō dòufu||Fnng-woo doh-foo||蜂窝豆腐|
|Braised Masked Palm Civet||hóngshāo guǒzi lí||Hong-shaoww gwor-dzrr-lee||红烧果子狸|
If you want to try authentic Anhui Cuisine, our tour guides can take you to authentic local restaurants.
Or we could tailor-make a Chinese food tour for you.