Food in Huangshan City belongs to Huizhou cuisine. Huizhou cuisine is one of eight main cuisines in the whole country. It dates from the South Song dynasty in Shexian County ( the Huizhou Prefecture in ancient times). It’s characterized by cooking all kinds of dainties. Huizhou cuisine does well in roasting, stewing, braising, and quick-frying.
It’s particular about seasoning and duration and degree of cooking, and advocates stock. It’s particular about oil, which can moisten bowels and skin. It’s particular about color to increase aesthetic effect and reach the unified effect of color, odor and taste.
Smelly Mandarin Fish
In spite of its provocative name, Smelly Mandarin Fish, the 200-yr-old world-famous-in-China Hui Cuisine dish (Hui Cuisine, of Anhui Province in the southeastern part of the country, is one of the eight major cuisines of China), isn't smelly at all – in fact, it is very tasty, with a mouth-watering, slightly sweet aroma.
The dish is made of preserved (in salt) mandarin fish, a fresh-water fish which, instead of scales, is equipped with a covering of thick mucus which exudes a pungent odor, protecting the fish in its natural habitat from predators. In the kitchen, the mucus layer is scraped away, the fish is rinsed and dried, then preserved in salt. Once cured in salt, the fish is then prepared according to an age-old recipe, resulting in a delicious dish that is crisp yet tender.
It cannot be denied, however, that its provocative name, which belies the true nature of the finished product, has helped to reinforce the venerable reputation of Smelly Mandarin Fish as one of the classic dishes of Hui Cuisine.
Crab Shell Yellow Fried Cake
Crab Shell Yellow Fried Cake is in fact a meat-&-vegetable-filled pastry that can't justifiably be compared to its dour-looking Russian half-cousin, the pierogie, as it is more akin to the baked-in-a-form British meat pie (though it might be favorably compared to the pirozhky served in the famous-in-Seattle Pirozhky-Pirozhky fast-food Take-Away Restaurant in Seattle’s Pike Place Market, whose staff, incidentally, look suspiciously Chinese... from Huangshan, I presume?).
Crab Shell Yellow Fried Cake uses the very best cubed, fresh vegetables and meat (typically pork) as its filling. It is slowly roasted in a specially-made charcoal oven until it reaches the golden yellow color of a crab shell. Crab Shell Yellow Fried Cake is an ideal substitute for the typical bread-and-butter of a European Continental breakfast (eg., a croissant), or as a complement to tea, anytime.
Mao Bean Curd
Mao Bean curd, also called Huizhou funky bean curd, is a traditional snack in Huizhou. It’s fit to eat in four seasons, and suitable for serving in feast too. Seller usually carries Mao bean curd with a shoulder pole, putting dry sticks and a pan in one end, and Mao bean curd, sesame oil and hot pepper in the other. When oil is fried up, the hot and pleasant Mao bean curd begins to give that ‘Zizi’ sounds on the pan, stirring up appetite of passersby. To most people, it may seem a little inconvenient to eat Mao bean curd on a booth for the first time: people don't use bowls; standing beside the pan, they eat with chopsticks. That’s an interesting way to challenge yourself.