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This post was edited by Cicci at 2012-3-14 17:28|
Dog, donkey, deer penis, dumplings. Each of China's 31 provinces and municipalities has a signature dish. The culinary journey begins here
By Meng Yanyan; source from cnngo.com
ust four big meals a day and you can almost eat your way through China in a week.
China has more gourmet styles than you can shake a lamb skewer at: from the spicy heat of the southwest to the hearty meat of nomadic minorities, to the seafood-heavy menus in the southeast.
There are 31 provinces and municipalities spread across the mainland's 9.6 million square kilometers, and each brings a unique approach to meal times.
To take you across the massive country plate by plate, we’ve selected a specialty dish from each mainland province and municipality.
If you can't get to them all, you might at least get to major Chinese cities like Shanghai, where solid renditions of each dish on this list is available in authentic ethnic eateries.
Or just travel though the entries below.
Fans of Sweden's Surströmming will appreciate this fermented fish.
1. Anhui province: Hongshao chou guiyu (red-braised fermented mandarin fish, 红烧臭鳜鱼)The cuisine: Compared with the rest of China, Anhui cuisine relies less on fried and stir-fried dishes. Locals here prefer simple cooking methods, such as braising and stewing.
The dish: Fermented mandarin fish shares a pungency with blue cheese and stinky tofu, but once you get past first impressions, you'll be rewarded with a braised flavor that's highly addictive.
Kaoya is to Beijing as pandas are to China.
2. Beijing: Kaoya (Peking roast duck, 烤鸭)The cuisine: Generations of emperors and blue-blooded residents have set the standard for high-end Chinese cuisine.
The city is famous for imperial cuisine, or guan cai (官菜), which uses only premium quality ingredients and is cooked with complex techniques.
The dish: A perfect kaoya is roasted to a reddish color; its skin remains crispy and the meat oozes a fruity flavor.
A whole roasted duck is typically served in two ways: the juicy meat and crispy skin are wrapped in mandarin pancakes with scallion, cucumber and hoisin sauce; and the bones are slow-cooked into a tasty soup.
With a history spanning a century, Beijing-based restaurant chain Quanjude (全聚德) roasts some of China’s best fowls.
Forget KFC. Try la zi ji.
3. Chongqing: La zi ji (chili-fried chicken cubes, 辣子鸡)The cuisine: Even compared with food from Sichuan, China’s mecca of spicy dishes, Chongqing cuisine scores high in spiciness and numb-inducing ingredients.
The dish: La zi ji combines crispy chicken breast cubes with a fireplace of peppercorn, toasted sesame and dried bird’s-eye chilis to create a plate of hot, red deliciousness.
Restaurant chain Sichuan Folk (simplified Chinese site), or ba guo bu yi (巴国布衣), is a good bet for a plate of authentic la zi ji in major Chinese cities.
The nationwide brand also stages thrilling Sichuan “face-changing” opera performance during dinner hours.
Possibly the most expensive dish in China.
4. Fujian province: Fo tiao qiang (Buddha jumps over the wall, 佛跳墙)The cuisine: Located along the southeastern coast of China, Fujian is famous for fresh seafood, but its flavorful shrimp oil and shrimp paste make the region’s cuisine stand proud.
The dish: Legend has it that this dish is so irresistible that Buddha jumped over the wall for a taste.
Fo tiao qiang is made of 18 pricey ingredients, including shark fin, abalone, sea cucumber, ginseng and scallops, all simmered together for hours with premium Shaoxing rice wine.
If you’re ready to splurge, try sipping fo tiao qiang (RMB 1,280) while seated in a golden throne at Tanshi Imperial Cuisine (谭氏官府菜, simplified Chinese site), a Qing palace-themed restaurant.
In addition to the traditional ingredients, the restaurant chain adds aphrodisiacs such as deer penis and Chinese caterpillar fungus.
Muslim chefs will spice up your lamian order with a free noodle-pulling show.
5. Gansu province: Lanzhou lamian (Lanzhou hand-pulled noodles, 兰州拉面)The cuisine: This Islamic province makes hands-down the best noodles with beef or lamb in the country.
The dish: The perfect Lanzhou lamian is made with five ingredients: a clear soup, white radish, green coriander, red chilis, yellow noodles.
The best way to experience this regional mainstay is seated in a humble lamian joint, slurping down noodles amid hungry eaters.
Soup as good as medicine, but lots tastier.
6. Guangdong province: Lao huo tang (slow-boiled soup, 老火汤)The cuisine: Inhabitants of this southern province are known for their passion for food: whether it’s a sumptuous dim sum feast or a snake hot pot, countless delicacies originate from Guangdong.
The region is most famous for its soup, congee and dim sum, both in China and overseas.
The dish: Slow-boiled soup is the one thing that real Cantonese can’t live a day without.
The soup is usually simmered for at least three hours with traditional Chinese medicines and herbal remedies, such as caterpillar fungus and goji berries.
Mix luo si ji with Guangxi rice noodles. Your search for the perfect combination of sweet and sour ends here.
7. Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region: Luo si ji (pond snail chicken, 螺蛳鸡)The cuisine: Guangxi province is located in the mountainous terrain of the far south, where locals love to go hunting in the forests and fishing in the lakes.
The results are prepared with spicy and sour flavors.
The dish: Guangxi isn’t just famous for its rice noodles. Luo si ji is a spicy-sour dish featuring pond snails, free-range chicken, bamboo shoots and fermented tofu.
The Miao minority's favorite food.
8. Guizhou province: Suan tang yu (fish in sour soup, 酸汤鱼)The cuisine: Like foodies in Sichuan and Hunan, Miao tribespeople in hilly Guizhou loves their food sour and spicy.
The dish: The soup is made with fermented rice or tomatoes, pickled chilis and various herbs, and then cooked with freshly caught river fish for a super sour blend.
The thick, delicious broth has a persistent aroma. You can throw in tofu and other vegetables and eat it hot-pot style.
Try the Singaporean staple in its native land.
9. Hainan province: Hainan jifan (Hainan chicken rice, 海南鸡饭)The cuisine: Hainanese love to pile their plates with a variety of fresh seafood and exotic fruits from their tropical island.
The dish: The national dish of Singapore is actually a Hainan native.
The best Hainan jifan (chicken rice) uses free-range chickens from the island’s Wenchang county, and the rice is cooked in chicken fat and chicken broth.
Donkey sandwiches. Just eat, don't be stubborn.
10. Hebei province: Lvrou huoshao (donkey meat sandwich, 驴肉火烧)The cuisine: Much as it is in neighboring Beijing, Hebei cuisine is savory and sauce heavy, with an emphasis on the cut and color of the dishes.
The dish: Brace yourself. Locals reckon donkey is as delicious as dragon meat, even though no one can provide much in the way of documentary evidence of having eaten the latter.
Donkey meat is high in protein, low in cholesterol and has a finer fiber than beef. It's leaner than pork and lacks the funky odor of mutton.
Sliced donkey meat is stewed and served between two pieces of ciabatta-like bread to make a Hebei-style sandwich.