Henan Food – Cuisine of Henan in Central China
Chinese Name: 豫菜/河南菜 yù cài / hé nán cài
English Names: Henan cuisine, Yu cuisine
Popular in: China’s Henan Province
Time of Origin: late Xia Dynasty (21st - 17th century BC)
Flavor: a moderate and harmonious flavor of sour, sweet, bitter, spicy, salty
Famous Henan Dishes: Carp with Fried Noodles in Sweet and Sour Sauce, Grilled Head and Tail of Black Carp, Peony Swallow Dish, Bianjing Roasted Duck, Stewed Noodles with Mutton
Famous Snacks: Spicy Soup (Hulatang), Baked Wheat Cake, Egg Pie Cake, Fried Jelly, Kaifeng Soup Dumplings
Origin & Development of Henan Cuisine
Henan cuisine has an extremely long history. In the late Xia Dynasty (21st - 17th century BC), the Henan dishes had formed a whole system of banquet. At the beginning of Shang Dynasty (17th century BC - 1046 BC), the then prime minister Yiyin, the originator of Chinese cooking, came up with the key idea to season Henan food – all the taste in a harmony, which became the basic theory for Chinese cooking later.
Up to Northern Song Dynasty (960 - 1127 AD), Henan cuisine reached its peak moment as the capital city was set in Kaifeng, Henan. At that time, many snacks were invented, and varied fried dishes appeared for frying skills were more matured. Meanwhile, Henan food was divided into five kinds: dishes in imperial court, in high classes, in marketplaces, in temples and in folks.
After the fall of Southern Song Dynasty (1127 - 1279 AD), Henan cuisine declined. Based on original Henan food in imperial court, in high classes, in markets and in folks, contemporary Henan cuisine gradually developed and evolved into what it is now with local ingredients.
Features of Henan Food – All Tastes in Harmony
Based on the ideas of Mean and Harmony, Henan food chefs always insist on the tradition of making different flavors existing harmoniously and moderately in one dish, instead of featuring on a single taste. As Henan is located in central China, Henan cuisine recipes are influenced by both northern China cuisines and the southern cuisines. The ingredients cover a wide range and are select strictly.
Special Cooking Techniques
Henan cuisine takes the advantages of other cuisines all over China, as so to combine the cooking style of both north and south. There are more than 50 cooking methods in Henan cuisine recipes, among which grilling, stewing, deep-frying, quick-frying and cooking in soy sauce are frequently used. Especially, the grilled Henan dishes are the specialty. While stir-frying, the high heat is applied at most times. Yu cuisine takes cutting and slicing skills seriously as well. For example, almost all the ingredients of the famous dish Peony Swallow Dish should be cut into shreds.
The Most Famous Dishes in Henan Cuisine
Carp with Fried Noodles in Sweet and Sour Sauce
This is a traditional dish in Kaifeng of Henan Province, combining thin noodles and deep-fried carp from Yellow River. It is in a bordeaux red color, and is sweet and sour with a little salty flavor.
Grilled Head and Tail of Black Carp
Originated in Kaifeng, the food is grilled with head, tail and some fish meat of black carp. It tastes salty and a little sweet. Put a piece into mouth and suck, the meat and bones would separate easily.
Peony Swallow Dish
As white radish, sea cucumbers, sleeve-fish and chicken are main ingredients, it is well-designed to look like a peony floating on the soup. It tastes sour and spicy with thick and fresh soup.
Bianjing Roasted Duck
Cooked with duck, honey and pickled cabbages, Bianjing Roasted Duck is salty and sweet with crisp skin, tender duck meat and persimmon red color. It is fat but not greasy.
Stewed Noodles with Mutton
The dish has a salty and spicy flavor with the deictic nourishing effect, especially in winter, as noodles, vermicelli, sliced cooked mutton, and other side ingredients are stewed in mutton soup.
Spicy Soup (Hulatang)
Spicy Soup is a famous snack that originated in Henan. It tastes numb and spicy with mutton or beef loafs, gluten, vermicelli, dried daylily roots, peanuts and sheep bone soup as ingredients.
Menu of Henan Food
|Carp with Fried Noodles in Sweet and Sour Sauce||鲤鱼焙面||lǐ yú bèi miàn|
|Grilled Head and Tail of Black Carp||煎扒青鱼头尾||jiān pá qīng yú tóu wěi|
|Peony Swallow Dish (Luoyang Yan Cai)||洛阳燕菜||luò yáng yàn cài|
|Bianjing Roasted Duck||汴京烤鸭||biàn jīng kǎo yā|
|Stewed Noodles with Mutton||羊肉烩面||yáng ròu huì miàn|
|Spicy Soup (Hulatang)||胡辣汤||hú là tāng|
|Grilled Fish Maw||扒广肚||pá guǎng dù|
|Onions Grilled Mutton||葱扒羊肉||cōng pá yáng ròu|
|Egg Pie Cake||鸡蛋灌饼||jī dàn guàn bing|
|Daokou Braised Chicken||道口烧鸡||dào kǒu shāo jī|
Best Henan Cuisine Restaurants in China
No.359, East Zhongzhou Road, Laocheng District, Luoyang
No.18, Zhenghe Road, Luolong District, Luoyang
Henan Food House
Location: No. 25, Renmin Road, Jinshui District, Zhengzhou
The First Restaurant
No. 6, West Di'anmen Street, Xicheng District, Beijing
No. 276, Dongsi North Street, Dongcheng District, Beijing
Xuhui Sun Moon Light Center, No.33, Caobao Road, Shanghai
No.258, Caoxi Road, Xuhui District, Shanghai
4 Subgroups of Henan Cuisine
There are four major styles of Henan food depending on areas:
In middle and eastern Henan, in particular Kaifeng, the food are traditional, and the grilled dishes are the typical.
In western Henan, centered in Luoyang, the taste of food is a little sour. Luoyang's Water Banquet is well-known and has 24 dishes in total, including 8 cold dishes, 4 hot dishes with 2 side dishes respectively, and 4 final dishes to indicate the end of banquet. Those dishes are rich in various ingredients as well as nutrition.
In Xinyang, which is on behalf of southern Henan, the stewed dishes are popular, and the flavor is a little spicy.
As to northern Henan, the dishes, represented by those in Xinxiang and Anyang, have a thick flavor with local specialties used. There are also not a few cooked wheaten food in northern Henan.