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Hunan Cuisine
Featuring a fine and delicate appearance with a hot and spicy flavor, Hunan Cuisine, also known as “Xiang” Cuisine is renowned as one of the Eight Cuisines of China. Because of its location in a lowland area which has relatively high humidity, locals have developed the habit of eating capsicum to combat humidity and induce a feeling of coolness. Hunan Cuisines is hot and savory. The Liuyang Lobster Sauce seasoning, a bean sauce made with pepper and capsicum is often added to dishes to create this hot flavor.
In contrast with the more widely recognized quick stir fry method of Chinese cooking, gentle simmering is the norm with Hunan Cuisine. Food is prepared over a low heat and slowly simmered so it maintains its nutritional value while developing an exciting fresh flavor. Specific dishes to check out include:

Hand-torn Cabbage
A typically vegetable dish in Hunan cuisine, hand-torn cabbage is usually served as the last course of a meal after meat dishes. Locals tear the cabbage instead of cutting it with a knife to preserve its high Vitamin C content which may be easily destroyed when it comes in contact with a knife’s metal blade. In preparing the dish, other vegetables are also torn to protect their nutrition.

Assorted Cured Meat
A traditional Hunan cuisine that integrates the flavors of pork, chicken, and fish with curing as the main cooking method. It is fragrant, spicy, yet soft and tender.

Chairman Maoís Red-Braised Pork
A dish inseparably linked with the memory of Chairman Mao, many restaurants call it The Mao Family’s red-braised pork. Mao Zedong loved it so much that he insisted his Hunanese chefs cook it for him in Beijing. A robust concoction, it’s best eaten with plain steamed rice and simple stir-fried vegetables with sweet, aromatic chunks of meat.

Steamed Fish Head
The dish typically features the head of an enormous carp or similar freshwater fish. Frosted with the chopped blend of dried, fresh and fermented chilies that give Hunanese cuisine its reputation for head-snapping heat, it may look comical but tastes delicious. Key ingredients include red pepper-crusted tuna, onions, gingerm salt, cooking wine and peanut oil.

Dong’an Young Chicken
A popular traditional dish with a history dating more than 1,200 years. Dongían Young Chicken is bright in color, includes tender chicken and sour, spicy, delicious taste.

Steamed Cured Meat
A famous traditional dish of Hunan cuisine, this dish is prepared by steaming different kinds of cured meat, with seasoning that generates a strong aroma,  reddish color, until the meat is soft but not greasy.

Smelly Bean Curd
A delicious crispy, tender dish with an interesting name, Smelly Bean Curd is made from bean curd, bittern, winter bamboo shoots as well as starter wine.

Where to eat

Jade Palace
Address: 125 Five-One Road, Changsha

Address: 152 Baisha Road, Furong District, Changsha

Huogongdian (Temple of Fire-god) Restaurant
Address: No 127. Pozi Road of Tianxin District, Changsha

Yang Yuxing Noodle House
Address: nearly 20 branch house in Changsha

Youyou Restaurant
Address: No. 258 Guo Liang Middle Road of Gaotieling Township of Wangcheng County, Changsha

Source: Changsha Municipal People’s Government Website