Guizhou cuisine

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Guizhou cuisine (simplified Chinese: 贵州菜; traditional Chinese: 貴州菜; pinyin: Guìzhōu cài), or Qian cuisine (黔菜; Qián cài), consists of cooking traditions and dishes from Guizhou province in China. Guizhou cuisine shares many features with Sichuan cuisine and Hunan cuisine, especially in bringing the sensation of spiciness and pungency. What makes Guizhou cuisine unique is the emphasis of a mixed sour-and-spicy taste, as compared to the numbing-and-hot sensation (ma-la) featured in Sichuan cuisine and the dry-hot taste featured in Hunan cuisine.[1] There is an ancient local saying, "without eating a sour dish for three days, people will stagger with weak legs". The saying reflects how Guizhou people loves local dishes with the sour taste.[2] The combination of sour and spicy flavors is also famous in Shaanxi cuisine in China. Guizhou cuisine differs from Shaanxi cuisine in that it lacks the emphasis over the salty taste, which is a common trait found in most northern Chinese cuisines.[3] In addition, the unique sourness featured in Guizhou cuisine comes from local cooking tradition of fermenting vegetables or grains, instead of from vinegar products.

Guizhou cuisine comprises many local varieties and dishes from minority people, such as from Miao people. Some famous local cuisines are represented by large cities like Guiyang, the provincial capital of Guizhou, Zunyi, and Liupanshui.

Guizhou cuisine has become mature since the beginning of the Ming Dynasty. Around the time, one of the famous Chinese dishes Kung Pao chicken was created.

Features[edit]

Guizhou is famous for producing high quality Chinese liquor, baijiu. One of the most famous and expensive baijiu in China, Maotai is from Guizhou. Guizhou cuisine also features dishes specially cooked to match the flavor of locally produced liquor, such as preserved vegetables and steamed cured meat.

Guizhou cuisine features various pickled vegetable, or yancai (腌菜; 醃菜; yāncài). The pickled vegetables are refreshing and healthy, and more importantly, bring the sour sensation. Fresh vegetables are dried without exposure to sunlight after being cleaned. Afterwards, they are salted and sealed in containers for four or five days to allow proper fermentation. Pickled cabbage and radish are served as side dishes, and popular to be consumed with noodles and rice-noodles.

The sour soup broth (酸汤; 酸湯; suāntāng), representative of Guizhou cuisine with unique sourness, is a cooking heritage from Miao people. It is the secret to create the famous Guizhou dish 'Fish in sour soup'. The broth is normally made from the fermentation of rice, rice wine, wild tomatoes, red pepper, garlic, and ginger.

Spicy dipping sauce (蘸水; zhànshuǐ) is crucial in daily dinning of Guizhou people. It is made by mixing chili pepper, garlic, ginger, green scallion, sesame oil, or soy sauce, according to personal preference. One unique ingredient used in Guizhou dipping sauce is Houttuynia (折耳根/鱼腥草; 折耳根/魚腥草; zhéěrgēn/yúxīng cǎo), which is loved by local people but not commonly accepted by other Chinese with its distinct taste.

Various types of spiciness in Guizhou cuisine come from the art of using chili peppers in different ways by locals. Hu-la (糊辣; hú là) is created by heat-drying crushed chili pepper. Ciba-la (糍粑辣; cíbā là) refers to both the uncooked mashed chili pepper paste and the chili sauce by simmering the paste in oil. Zao-la (糟辣; zāo là) is made by preserving minced chili pepper with ginger and garlic. Laoguo-la (烙锅辣; 烙鍋辣; lào guō là) is spice-flavored chili flakes. The renowned chili sauce brand, Lao Gan Ma, is originated from Guizhou.[4]

Famous Dishes[edit]

There are two fried rice dishes originated from Guizhou and popular on the dining tables of locals: Fried rice with egg and zao-la, and Guai-lu fried rice (free style fried rice with Houttuynia, Chinese bacon, pickled vegetables and other vegetables of choice).

Notable dishes in Guizhou cuisine: Fish in sour soup, Stir fried chicken with ciba-la (Spicy chicken of Guizhou style), Stir fried Houttuynia with Chinese bacon, Crispy whole fish with zao-la, Champion trotter (braised trotter in brown sauce), Stir fried Qingyan tofu, and more.

Notable appetizers and street food in Guizhou cuisine: Siwawa (Guiyang spring roll), Love tofu (baked tofu stuffed with chili) and Changwang noodles (Egg noodles with chili oil, porcine intestine and blood).

References[edit]