As one of the eight major cuisines of China, Hunan Cuisine (Xiang Cuisine) is famous for its hot and spicy. People may be confused that what the difference is between Hunan cuisine and Sichuan cuisine, for the characteristics of them are hot and spicy. Sichuan cuisines are widely used chili peppers, especially prickly ash, giving it a distinctively spicy taste which leaves a slight numb sensation in the mouth, while Hunan cuisine doesn’t has. Hunan cuisine mainly originates from Dongting Lake area and western Hunan mountain area. Aquatic food and poultry are main cooking materials of Dongting Lake area cuisine, which taste salty and spicy. However, game and many kinds of meat are the main cooking materials of western Hunan mountain area cuisines, the tastes are salted fresh spicy and sour.
The cooking skills employed in the Hunan cuisine reached a high standard as early as the Western Han Dynasty, giving it a history of more than 2,100 years. Hunan is located in southeastern China along the middle reaches of the Yangtze River. It contains rivers, lakes, mountains, rolling hills, plains, and pools, which provide abundant delicacies, such as fish, shrimp, crab, and turtle. Making full use of these rich resources, local people created a wide variety of delicacies. Hunan cuisine consists of more than 4,000 dishes, among which more than 300 are very popular. Hunan cuisine is characterized by its hot and sour flavor, fresh aroma, greasiness and deep color.
Notable Hunan Dishes: Steamed Fish Head with Chopped Chili, Steamed Preserved Meat, Chairman Mao’s Red Braised Pork, Fried Pork with Chili, Tasty Lobster, Changsha Stinky Tofu, Hunan Rice Noodles, Spicy Salted Duck