Fujian cuisine

Last updated on 22 June 2017

Fujian cuisine, also known as Min cuisine or Hokkien cuisine, is one of the native Chinese cuisines derived from the native cooking style of China's Fujian Province, most notably from the provincial capital, Fuzhou. Fujian cuisine is known to be light but flavourful, soft, and tender, with particular emphasis on umami taste, known in Chinese cooking as xianwei (鲜味; 鮮味; xiān wèi), as well as retaining the original flavour of the main ingredients instead of masking them.[1][2]

Many diverse seafood and woodland delicacies are used, including a myriad variety of local fish, shellfish and turtles, or indigenous edible mushrooms and bamboo shoots, provided by the coastal and mountainous regions of Fujian.[2] The most commonly employed cooking techniques in the region's cuisine include braising, stewing, steaming and boiling.[2]

Particular attention is paid on the finesse of knife skills and cooking technique of the chefs, which is used to enhance the flavour, aroma and texture of seafood and other foods.[2] Strong emphasis is put on the making and utilising of broth and soups.[3] There are sayings in the region's cuisine: "One broth can be changed into numerous (ten) forms" (一汤十变; -湯十變; yī tāng shí biàn) and "It is unacceptable for a meal to not have soup" (不汤不行; 不湯不行; bù tāng bù xíng).[1]

Fermented fish sauce, known locally as "shrimp oil" (虾油; 蝦油; xiā yóu), is also commonly used in the cuisine, along with oyster, crab and shrimp. Peanuts (utilised for both savoury dishes and desserts) are also prevalent, and can be boiled, fried, roasted, crushed, ground or even turned into a paste. Peanuts can be used as a garnish, feature in soups and even be added to braised or stir-fried dishes.

Chinese-style geng with meat, fish cakes, and squid.jpg
Chinese-style geng with meat, fish cakes, and squid.jpg

Styles

Fujian cuisine consists of three styles:

  • Fuzhou: The taste is lighter compared to other styles, often with a mixed sweet and sour taste. Fuzhou is famous for its soups, and its use of fermented fish sauce and red yeast rice.
  • Southern Fujian: The taste is slightly stronger than Fuzhou cuisine, showing influence from Southeast Asian cuisine and Japanese cuisine. Use of sugar and spices (like shacha sauce and five-spice powder) is more common. Various kinds of slow-cooked soup (not quite similar to the Cantonese tradition) are found. Many dishes come with dipping sauces. Main ingredients include rice, pork (pork offal are considered delicacy), beef, chicken, duck, seafood and various vegetables.
  • Western Fujian: There are often slight spicy tastes from mustard and pepper and the cooking methods are often steaming, frying and stir-frying. The food is saltier and oilier compared to other parts of Fujian, usually focusing on meat rather than seafood.

Seasonings

Unique seasoning from Fujian include fish sauce, shrimp paste, sugar, shacha sauce, and preserved apricot. Wine lees from the production of rice wine is also commonly used in all aspects of the region's cuisine. Red yeast rice (红麴/红糟酱; 紅麴/紅糟醬; hóngqū/hóngzāojiàng) is also commonly used in Fujian cuisine, imparting a rosy-red hue to the foods, pleasant aroma, and slightly sweet taste.[4]

Fujian is also well known for its "drunken" (wine marinated) dishes and is famous for the quality of the soup stocks and bases used to flavour their dishes, soups and stews.

Notable dishes

One of the most famous dishes in Fujian cuisine is "Buddha Jumps Over the Wall", a complex dish making use of many ingredients, including shark's fin, sea cucumber, abalone and Shaoxing wine.

Fujian is also notable for yanpi (燕皮; yàn pí), literally "swallow skin," a thin wrapper made with large proportions of lean minced pork. This wrapper has a unique texture due to the incorporation of meat and has a "bite" similar to things made with surimi. Yanpi is used to make rouyan (肉燕; ròu yàn), a type of wonton.[3]

English Traditional Chinese Simplified Chinese Pinyin Pe̍h-ōe-jī Description
Bak kut teh 肉骨茶 肉骨茶 ròu gŭ chá bah-kut-tê Literally means "meat bone tea". A soup of pork ribs simmered in a broth of herbs and spices including star anise, cinnamon, cloves and garlic. It is usually eaten with rice or noodles.
Banmian 板面 板面 bǎnmiàn Flat-shaped egg noodle soup
Braised frog 黄燜田雞 黄焖田鸡 huáng mèn tiánjī Frog braised in wine
Buddha Jumps Over the Wall 佛跳牆 佛跳墙 fó tiào qiáng hu̍t-thiàu-chhiûⁿ Contains over 30 ingredients, including shark's fin, abalone, sea slug, dried scallops, duck, chicken breast, pig's trotters, mushrooms, pigeon eggs and other ingredients.[5] A legend is that after the dish is cooked, the aroma lingers, and upon detecting the smell, a Buddhist monk forgot his vow to be a vegetarian and leapt over a wall to taste the dish.[5]
Clams in chicken soup 雞湯汆海蚌 鸡汤汆海蚌 jī tāng cuān hǎibàng Clams cooked in chicken stock
Crispy skin fish rolls 脆皮魚卷 脆皮鱼卷 cuìpí yú juǎn Fried bean curd skin with fish fillings
Dried scallop with radish 干貝蘿蔔 干贝萝卜 gānbèi luóbò White radish steamed with conpoy (dried scallop) and Chinese ham
Drunken ribs 醉排骨 醉排骨 zuì páigǔ Pork ribs marinated in wine
Eastern Wall Dragon Pearls 東壁龍珠 东壁龙珠 dōng bì lóngzhū Longan fruit with meat fillings
Five Colours Pearls 五彩珍珠扣 五彩珍珠扣 wǔ cǎi zhēnzhū kòu Squid braised with vegetables
Five Colours Shrimp 五彩蝦松 五彩虾松 wǔ cǎi xiā sōng Stir-fried diced shrimp and vegetables
Fragrant snails in wine 淡糟香螺片 淡糟香螺片 dàn zāo xiāng luó piàn Snails cooked with wine lees
Meat strips with green pepper 青椒肉絲 青椒肉丝 qīng jiāo ròu sī Pork strips with green pepper. It has been adapted to become "pepper steak" in American Chinese cuisine.
Min sheng guo 閩生果 闽生果 mǐn shēng guǒ Stir-fried raw peanuts
Misua / mee sua 麵線 面线 miàn xiàn mī-sòaⁿ A thin variety of Chinese noodles made from wheat flour
Ngo hiang 五香 五香 wǔ xiāng ngó͘-hiong Fried roll in five-spice powder filled with minced pork and vegetables. Also known as quekiam or kikiam (a localised pronunciation in the Philippines) and lor bak in places such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.
Oyster omelette 蚵仔煎 蚵仔煎 hé zǎi jiān ô-á-chian Omelette with oyster filling
Popiah / Lunpiah 薄餅/潤餅 薄饼/润饼 báobǐng/rùnbǐng pȯh-piáⁿ Crepe with bean sauce or soy sauce filling
Red wine chicken 紅糟雞 红糟鸡 hóng zāo jī Chicken cooked in red yeast rice
Stuffed fish balls 包心魚丸 包心鱼丸 bāo xīn yúwán Fish balls filled with meat
Yanpi 燕皮 燕皮 yàn pí A thin wrapper made with large proportions of lean pork
Sipunculid worm jelly.jpg
A plate of worm jelly.

There are many eating places around the province that sell these specialties for two yuan, and which are thus known as "two-yuan eateries". In Xiamen, a local specialty is worm jelly (土笋冻; 土笋凍; tǔ sǔn dòng), an aspic made from a species of marine peanut worm.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b 中国烹饪协会 (China Cuisine Association). 中国八大菜系:闽菜 (China's Eight Great Schools of Cuisines : Min). 福建大酒家: 中国职工音像出版社. ISRC: CN-A47-99-302-00/V.G4
  2. ^ a b c d 徐, 文苑 (2005), 中国饮食文化概论, 清华大学出版社, pp. 79–80
  3. ^ a b Grigson, Jane (January 1985), World Atlas of Food, Bookthrift Company, ISBN 978-0-671-07211-7
  4. ^ Hu, Shiu-ying (2005), Food plants of China, Chinese University Press
  5. ^ a b "Fujian Cuisine. Archived July 31, 2013, at the Wayback Machine. Beautyfujian.com. Accessed June 2011.

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