Anhui cuisine is one of the lesser known of the Eight Great Cuisines of China. Anhui cuisine has its origins in She County, which is located at the foot of Mount Huangshan and was known as Huizhou in ancient times. With the rise of Anhui businessmen, Anhui cuisine gradually spread to Jiangsu province, Zhejiang province, and Jiangxi province and so on. 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.
Its dishes value the original flavour of raw materials and its cooking style emphasises the use of heat and can be categorized into lower temperature stewing, quick frying and slow frying, paying close attention to changes in cooking temperature. Anhui cuisine is known for its cooking techniques such as frying, stewing, steaming, braising, etc. and is characterized by heavier use of oil, thick starchy sauces, and dark reddish-brown colour of the food.
Most ingredients in Anhui cuisine, such as pangolin, stone frog, mushroom, bayberry, tea leaves, bamboo shoot, dates, come from mountain area. Huangshan Mountain has abundant raw materials for cooking. The white and tender bamboo shoots grew on Huangshan Mountain can be made into very delicious food. And Xianggu, a kind of top-grade mushroom grows on old trees, is also very tasty. You can find Anhui cuisine inspired foods in our Traditional Chinese Menu. Learn more…
Most used ingredients include:
- Wild vegetables: Anhui cuisine is famous for its wild picked ingredients from mountains.
- 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. We 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.
Using local ingredients is a characteristic of Anhui food. A lot of ingredients in Anhui Cuisine come from mountain areas. The chef uses a lot cooking materials that come from Mt. Huangshan, making sure of freshness and tenderness. The white and tender bamboo shoots produced on Huangshan Mountain can be made into very delicious food. The mushrooms that grow on the foot of old trees in Mt. Huangshan are also very tasty.
One distinctive feature about Anhui Cuisine is the elaborate choices of cooking materials and the strict control of cooking process. Wild herbs, both land and sea, are widely used in Anhui cuisine cooking, and braising and stewing are common techniques.