China Food Zhe Cuisine
http://www.chinese.cn 19:18, August 26, 2009 SeeChina
Zhejiang cuisine, also called Zhe Cai for short, is one of the eight famous culinary schools in China. Comprising the specialties of Hangzhou, Ningbo and Shaoxing in Zhejiang Province regarded as "land of fish and rice", Zhejiang cuisine, not greasy, wins its reputation for freshness, tenderness, softness, and smoothness of its dishes with mellow fragrance. Hangzhou cuisine is the most famous one among the three.
Hangzhou cuisine is characterized by its elaborate preparation and varying techniques of cooking, such as sauteing, stewing, and stir- and deep-frying. Hangzhou food tastes fresh and crisp, varying with the change of season. Ningbo food is a bit salty but delicious. Specializing in steamed, roasted and braised seafood, Ningbo cuisine is particular in retaining the original freshness, tenderness and softness. Shaoxing cuisine offers fresh aquatic food and poultry that has a special rural flavor, sweet in smell, soft and glutinous in taste, thick in gravy and strong in season.
Each of the three sub-cuisine traditions is noted for its special flavor and taste, but they are all characterized by the careful selection of ingredients, emphasizing minute preparation, and unique, fresh and tender tastes.
Zhejiang cuisine specializes in quick-frying, stir-frying, deep-frying, simmering and steaming, obtaining the natural flavor and taste. Special care is taken in the cooking process to make the food fresh, crispy and tender. Thanks to exquisite preparation, the dishes are not only delicious in taste and but also extremely elegant in appearance. Zhejiang cuisine is best represented by Hangzhou dishes, including Hangzhou roast chicken (commonly known as Beggar's chicken), Dongpo pork, west lake fish in vinegar sauce, Songsao Shredded Fishsoup, etc.
Legend has it that "Beggar's chicken" was invented by a Hangzhou thief. The story goes that because the thief had no stove, he wrapped the stolen bird in clay and baked it in a hole in the ground; another version explains that he was a hungry thief who found a way to cook his bird and keep it and its aroma secret!
The famous restaurants in Hangzhou are: Louwailou Restaurant, Hangzhou Restaurant, Xizhongxi Restaurant, etc. Louwailou Restaurant boasts a history of over 100 years and is noted for west lake fish in vinegar sauce, fried shrimps with Longjing tea.