Huaiyang Food refers to the food prepared in Jiangsu, Anhui, and Zhejiang provinces of China. The food is generally light and sweet as sugar is added in almost every dish for a sweet flavor.
The Huaiyang cuisine covers the cuisines of Huaian, Zhenjiang, Yangzhou, and other regions south to the Yangtze river.
The cuisine has been in existence since the Pre-Qin period between 221 to 207 BC and became popular during Ming and Qing dynasties between the time period 1368 to 1911.
Meat includes chicken, duck, and pork. Seafood is particularly common in the region, with freshwater fish, crab, shrimp, and eel being popular. Soy sauce and sugar are used for flavor. The chinkiang vinegar is most often used to prepare dishes.
The food is cooked in a way to bring out the original flavor and is often presented by employing carving techniques. Braising, stewing, and steaming are the common methods of cooking.
Everyday Huaiyang Food
Traditional and Festival Food
The following are the few traditional dishes of Huaiyang cuisine.
· Shredded Eels - This dish is made by shredded the eels and sauting them with sherry, mushroom, ginger, and onions.
· Lotus leaf chicken - A dish of deep fried and stuffed chicken wrapped in boiled lotus leaf.
· Lion’s head meatballs - This can be prepared with pork or crab meat.
· Sweet and sour spare ribs - This is prepared by seasoning spare ribs with soy sauce, ginger, and garlic and then frying them.
· Dried salted duck. Ducks are cut, cleaned, and flattened. These are then salted, air dried in the night, and sun dried for a few days. This dried duck is then used in a number of ways, such as braising in broth and other seasoning. This dish is prepared especially during the Chinese New Year.
· Crystal meat. Pork is marinated in ginger, salt, fennel, cinnamon and other seasonings. It is then steamed and looks like crystal in appearance.
Huaiyang food, which is predominantly meat, is rich in protein. The seafood is not only a source of protein, but is also low in fat. Also, the cooking style employs more of braising, steaming, and stewing, rather than deep frying. Thus, the usage of oil, which is a major culprit for increased cholesterol levels and heart disease, is also less freqsuent. However, it should be noted that the frequent usage of sugar to impart sweetness may not be appropriate for diabetics. Thus, it can be said that the Huaiyang food is mostly healthy.
Huaiyang food was served as a dinner for visiting US President George W. Bush in 2002 by President Jiang Zemin.