Fujian cuisine

Fujian cuisine
A bowl of Fujian thick soup, or geng (羹). Fujian-style cuisine contains soups, soupy dishes, and stews.
Chinese 福建菜
Min cuisine
Traditional Chinese 閩菜
Simplified Chinese 闽菜

Fujian cuisine or Fujianese 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; sian bī), 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; 一湯十變; yī tāng shí biàn; chit thong sip piàn) and "It is unacceptable for a meal to not have soup" (不汤不行; 不湯不行; bù tāng bù xíng; put thong put hêng).[1]

Fermented fish sauce, known locally as "shrimp oil" (虾油; 蝦油; xiā yóu; hâ iû), 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. Fujian cuisine has had a profound impact on Taiwanese cuisine as the majority of Taiwanese people have ancestral roots in Fujian province.

Styles

Fujian cuisine consists of three styles:

  • Fuzhou: The taste is lighter compared to other styles, often with a equally-mixed taste of sweet and sour. 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 and Japanese cuisines. 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 seasonings 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; ângkhak/ângchauchiòng) 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; ian phî), 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; he̍k ian), a type of wonton.[3]

EnglishTraditional ChineseSimplified ChinesePinyinPe̍h-ōe-jīDescription
Bak kut teh肉骨茶肉骨茶ròu gŭ chábah-kut-têLiterally 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bǎnmiànFlat-shaped egg noodle soup
Braised frog黄燜田雞黄焖田鸡huáng mèn tiánjīFrog braised in wine
Buddha Jumps Over the Wall佛跳牆佛跳墙fó tiào qiánghu̍t-thiàu-chhiûⁿContains 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 hǎibàngClams cooked in chicken stock
Crispy skin fish rolls脆皮魚卷脆皮鱼卷cuìpí yú juǎnFried bean curd skin with fish fillings
Dried scallop with radish干貝蘿蔔干贝萝卜gānbèi luóbòWhite radish steamed with conpoy (dried scallop) and Chinese ham
Drunken ribs醉排骨醉排骨zuì páigǔPork ribs marinated in wine
Eastern Wall Dragon Pearls東壁龍珠东壁龙珠dōng bì lóngzhūLongan fruit with meat fillings
Five Colours Pearls五彩珍珠扣五彩珍珠扣wǔ cǎi zhēnzhū kòuSquid braised with vegetables
Five Colours Shrimp五彩蝦松五彩虾松wǔ cǎi xiā sōngStir-fried diced shrimp and vegetables
Fragrant snails in wine淡糟香螺片淡糟香螺片dàn zāo xiāng luó piànSnails cooked with wine lees
Meat strips with green pepper青椒肉絲青椒肉丝qīng jiāo ròu sīPork 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 guǒStir-fried raw peanuts
Misua / mee sua麵線面线miàn xiànmī-sòaⁿA thin variety of Chinese noodles made from wheat flour
Ngo hiang五香五香wǔ xiāngngó͘-hiongFried 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 jiānô-á-chianOmelette with oyster filling
Popiah / Lunpiah薄餅/潤餅薄饼/润饼báobǐng/rùnbǐngpȯh-piáⁿCrepe with bean sauce or soy sauce filling
Red wine chicken紅糟雞红糟鸡hóng zāo jīChicken cooked in red yeast rice
Stuffed fish balls包心魚丸包心鱼丸bāo xīn yúwánFish balls filled with meat
Yanpi燕皮燕皮yàn píA thin wrapper made with large proportions of lean pork

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. 1 2 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. 1 2 3 4 徐, 文苑 (2005), 中国饮食文化概论, 清华大学出版社, pp. 79–80
  3. 1 2 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. 1 2 "Fujian Cuisine. Archived July 31, 2013, at the Wayback Machine. Beautyfujian.com Archived 2011-07-10 at the Wayback Machine.. Accessed June 2011.
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