Food in Huangshan belongs to Hui cuisine (or Huizhou cuisine). Huizhou cuisine is one of China's eight regional cuisines.
This style dates from the South Song Dynasty (1127-1279), when it began in Shexian County (Huizhou Prefecture in ancient times).
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.
Dishes and Snacks
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.
Huangshan Featured Food
Smelly Mandarin Fish
Smelly mandarin fish, despite the name is a dish famous for its good taste and aroma. A lot of travelers, who come to Huangshan, are attracted to taste it by its reputation. They all speak very highly of it after tasting the fish.
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.
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Yellow Crab Shell Cake
Yellow crab shell cake uses first-class funky dried vegetables and fresh fatty meat as fillings. It's slowly roasted in a specially-made oven with a charcoal fire.
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.
Best Eaten on the Street
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.