Fujian cuisine also known as "Hok-kian Cai" or "Min Cai", holds an important position in China's culinary art. Fujian cuisine is one of the "Eight Great Traditionals Chinese Cuisine" along with Anhui, Cantonese, Hunan, Jiangsu, Shandong, Szechuan, and Zhejiang Cuisine. During the Qing Dynasty around 18th century, famous Fujian officials, scholars, and aristocrats promoted the Fujian cuisine so it gradually became a famous cooking style across the China.
Fujian Cuisine Branches
Fujian cuisine consists of three branches cooking style :
Fuzhou dishes are quite popular in eastern, central and northern Fujian Province, are more fresh, delicious, and less salty, sweet, and sour.
South Fujian dishes are 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, Fujian dishes are slightly sweet and sour, and less salty, and often use the red distiller's grain for flavoring.
Characteristics of Fujian Cuisine
- Fujian cuisine emphasizes seafood and mountain delicacies. Fujian coastal region provides hundreds variety of fish, shellfish and even turtles. Those sea products are popular ingredients in Fujian cuisine and local people are good cooker of seafood, including steaming, boiling, quick boiling, stewing, and braising. Fujian cuisine also using mountain delicacies such as bamboo shoots and mushrooms, and these ingredients are found easily as Fujian mountainous geographic advantage.
- Fine slicing techniques. Slicing is important in Fujian cuisine, because most dishes are made of seafood products, and if the seafood is not cut well, the dishes will fail to have their true flavor. Everything sliced serves its original aroma. Fine slicing techniques may better show the aroma and texture of food.
- Various soup. The most characteristic aspect of Fujian cuisines is that its dishes are mainly served in soup.
- 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.
Fujian Popular Cuisine
Fo Tiao Qiang or "Buddha jumps over the wall" is the most popular food in Fujian. It contains more than 30 ingredients, including sea slug, shark's fin, abalone, chicken breast, duck, pig's trotters, dried scallop, mushroom, pigeon egg and other unique ingredients. It's said that after the dish is cooked, the air is heavy with a strong fragrance. Legend has it that it smelt so good that a monk forgot his vegetarian vows and leapt over the wall to have some, giving popularity to its name.
Wonton is the most common snack in Fujian, it's easily recognized by its thin skin. Wonton cooks in a short period time, the boiled dumplings would be required in the process of adding cold water 2 times. After cooked, it looks half transparent.
Wind Duck Paste is using sweet potato powder (sweet potato flour) and pasted to pieces of the wind duck, winter bamboo shoots and silk, the film mushrooms, meat, garlic paste mixed with boiled.
Fish Ball also known as the "Yu Yuan" was chopped dried fish, adding by egg white, mixing flour, some of them adding pork or shrimp. All of that ingredients cooked in boiling water.
Tai Chi Taro is cooking taro nut and pressed into mud, adding sugar, eggs, water and oil. After the taro cool down, people sometimes add chopped kernels, cherry on the surface. It is one of the traditional Fujian’s desserts.
- Wuxian is fried five-spice roll with pork and vegetables, which is known as kikiam in the Philippines.
- Minshengguo is stir fried raw peanuts.
- Thousand-layer Cake is soft and sweet, the thousand-layer cake is oily, but not greasy.
- Litchi Pulp is a dishes that shaped like litchis, this dish is crisp, tender, sour, sweet and tasty.
- Zuipaigu is wine marinade pork ribs
- Wucai zenzhuko is squid pearls braised with vegetables
- Wucai xiasong is a stir-fried diced shrimp and vegetables