Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Chinese cuisine----Fujian cuisine

Want to taste fresh seafood or river fish? Try Fujian cuisine!!

Renowned for its choice seafood, soup, light but flavorful and umami taste, with particular emphasis on showing off and not masking original flavor of the main ingredients, Fujian cuisine is derived from the native cooking style of the province of Fujian, China. Also called Min Cai for short, it holds an important position in China's culinary art.

In general, Fujian cuisine consists of three styles: Fuzhou, South Fujian and West Fujian. There are slight differences among them. Fuzhou dishes, quite popular in eastern, central and northern Fujian Province, is light compared to other styles and famous for its soups; South Fujian dishes, popular in Xiamen, Quanzhou, Zhangzhou and the golden triangle of South Fujian, are sweet and hot and use hot sauces, custard, and orange juice as flavorings; West Fujian dishes are salty and hot, prevailing in Hakka region with strong local flavor. As Fujian people emigrate overseas, their cuisine become popular in Taiwan and abroad. Generally speaking, Fujian dishes are slightly sweet and sour, and less salty, and often use the red distiller's grain for flavoring.

Fujian cuisine is characterized by the following four aspects:

(1)Various soup and broth: The most characteristic aspect of Fujian cuisine is that its dishes are served in soup. There is a sayings about the soup: "One soup can be changed in ten forms" and "It is unacceptable for a meal to not have soup".

(2) Ingredients of seafood and mountain delicacies: Fujian cuisine emphasizes seafood and mountain delicacies. Fujian Province has a favorable geographical location with mountains in its north and sea to its south. Many mountain delicacies such as mushroom, bamboo shoots and tremella are often found here. The coastal area produces 167 varieties of fish and 90 kinds of turtles and shellfish. It also produces edible bird's nest, cuttlefish, and sturgeon. These special products are all used in Fujian cuisine. The local people are good at cooking seafood, featuring in methods of stewing, boiling, braising, quick-boiling, and steaming, etc.

(3) Fine slicing techniques: Fujian cuisine stresses on fine slicing techniques so much that it is reputed as "sliced ingredients are as thin as paper and shredded as slim as hairs". Everything sliced serves its original aroma. Fine slicing techniques may better show the aroma and texture of food. Cutting is important in Fujian cuisine. Most dishes are made of seafood, and if the seafood is not cut well, the dishes will fail to have their true flavor.

(4) Exquisite culinary art: Fujian dishes are tasty because of their emphasis on a series of delicate procession: selecting ingredients, mixing flavors, timing the cooking and controlling the heat. When a dish is less salty, it tastes more delicious. Sweetness makes a dish tastier, while sourness helps remove the seafood smell.

Appealing dishes are countless, so we can only exemplify some of them:

Buddha jumping over the wall - the most famous and classical dish, which has a long history since the Qing Dynasty. The name implies the dish is so delicious that even the Buddha would jump over a wall to have a taste once he smelled it.

Fried golden bamboo shoot with chicken mince - every 100g of winter bamboo shoots will be cut into 500 - 600 strips with the same length and breadth. Then they can blend with the very small pieces of chicken.

Dongbi dragon pearl - it chooses materials from the rare longan trees of thousand year's history in Kaiyuan Temple in Quanzhou, the delicate scent is rather catching.

'Fried Xi Shi's tongue'is made from the locally produced Fujian mussel. According to legend the concubine Xi Shi of the king of Wu state was thrown in the sea tied to a huge stone by the wife of Gou Jian, the king of Yue who destroyed Wu, to prevent her husband being seduced by her beauty. In the area of the sea where she sank, a special breed of mussel appeared and this was said to be Xi Shi's tongue.

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