Top 10 Hunan Foods You Have to Try

Hunan food receive a great popularity in China even in the world with its spicy flavor. Anyhow, what are the best Hunan dishes? Here is the list of top 10 famous Hunan dishes, which are all delicious and can give you a pleasant eating experience.

1. Steamed Fish Head with Chopped Chili

Chinese Name: 剁椒鱼头 duò jiāo yú tóu
Flavor: spicy and salty
Cooking Method: pickling, steaming
Steamed Fish Head with Chopped Chili is one of the best Hunan foods. The main ingredients are the head of bighead carp and chopped chili. The seasonings include soy sauce, ginger, shallot and garlics. The fish head is pickled in advance, then covered by chopped chili evenly, and steamed for about 10 minutes. At last, pour some hot oil to enhance the flavor. White tender fish meat covered with spicy chili, the piping hot Hunan food is so nice and the attractive smell wafts.
Read more: Recipe - How to Make Steamed Fish with Chopped Red Chili

Steamed Fish Head with Chopped Chili
Steamed Fish Head with Chopped Chili
Red Braised Pork
Red Braised Pork

2. Chairman Mao’s Red Braised Pork

Chinese Name: 毛氏红烧肉 máo shì hóng shāo ròu
Flavor: sweet, salty, and spicy
Cooking Method: scalding, braising
The ingredient of this famous Hunan dish is streaky pork, with sugar and cooking wine as the major condiments. The food is related to the first chairman of People’s Republic of China, Mao Zedong. Because Mao didn’t like soy sauce, the chef substituted sugar and salt to season and colorize the pork. Mao liked it, since then Chairman Mao’s Red Braised Pork became popular. Streaky pork should be cut into even loafs and scalded at first. After that, braise the pork loafs with condiments. The taste is salty, sweet, and a little spicy, but it is not greasy.
Read more: Recipe - How to Make Red Braised Pork

3. Fried Pork with Chili

Chinese Name: 辣椒炒肉 là jiāo chǎo ròu
Flavor: salty and spicy
Cooking Method: flash-frying, stir-frying
Fried Pork with Chili is one of the best Hunan dishes. Streaky pork and chili are the ingredients; fermented soya beans, garlics, soy sauce, ginger, etc. are the condiments. And chili must be those long green hard ones with the similar size of hand fingers. Firstly, flash-fry the streaky pork shreds till the color changes. Next, clear the pot and flash-fry chili cut. About one minute later, add fried pork shreds to stir-fry with condiments. It tastes aromatic and spicy, welcomed in every family in Hunan.

4. Gold Fish Playing Lotus

Chinese Name: 金鱼戏莲 jīn yú xì lián
Flavor: sour and spicy
Cooking Method: quick-boiling, frying
It requires skilled cutting and slicing techniques to cook this Hunan food. As sleeve-fish is sliced and fried to resemble gold fishes, with eggs, green beans, shrimp roes, etc. decorating around, the whole dish on the plate is like a group of gold fishes playing in a lotus pond. The taste is sour and spicy, the sleeve-fish meat is fresh and tender.

5. Steamed Preserved Meat

Chinese Name: 腊味合蒸 là wèi hé zhēng
Flavor: salty and spicy
Cooking Method: steaming
Steamed Preserved Meat is a traditional Hunan food with the simple recipe. Steaming preserved pork, preserved chicken, preserved fish or other preserved meat in chicken soup with seasonings, it tastes salty and spicy with a strong aroma. The dish looks bright red, and the meat is not greasy with a little thick sauce. The taste of these meat complement each other perfectly.

Steamed Preserved Meat
Steamed Preserved Meat
Hunan Rice Noodles
Hunan Rice Noodles

6. Hunan Rice Noodles

Chinese Name: 湖南米粉 hú nán mǐ fěn
Flavor: spicy, salty and sour
Cooking Method: boiling
Hunan Rice Noodles is one of the favorite breakfast in Hunan Province, which has different styles in different regions, like round and flat ones, wide and narrow ones, etc. First boil the rice noodles; then pick them out and place in a bowl with seasonings; at last add soup and kinds of toppings. The frequently used toppings include chopped chili, shredded radish, pickled vegetables, cooked pork shreds, chopped beef, minced garlic, and so on.  

7. Changsha Stinky Tofu

Chinese Name: 长沙臭豆腐 cháng shā chòu dòu fǔ
Flavor: spicy, crispy outside and tender inside
Cooking Method: fermenting, marinating, deep-frying
Changsha Stinky Tofu is one of the famous Hunan dishes with dark black color, crispy surface and soft inside. It smells stinking, but tastes great with spicy flavor. The tofu is fermented with many seasonings. Before eating, it is deep-fried and topped with various seasonings.

8. Tasty Lobster

Chinese Name: 口味虾 kǒu wèi xiā
Flavor: numb and spicy
Cooking Method: quick-frying, stewing
Tasty Lobster is also called Hot and Spicy Crayfish, having the bright red color and spicy taste. The lobsters are from rivers and lakes in China, and the seasonings mainly include dried chili, salt, soy sauce, cooking wine and Chinese pepper. In late 20th century, it was advertised on hot TV show, and then swept the country. It is great to go with beer.

9. Dong'an Chicken

Chinese Name: 东安子鸡 dōng ān zǐ jī
Flavor: sour and spicy
Cooking Method: boiling, frying, braising
The chicken is fresh and tender with crisp skin, sour and spicy taste. The fresh hen is cooked with red chili, ginger and black pepper, fat but not greasy. The dish has a nice looking as ingredients and condiments of different color match well together. When it is put on the plate in front of you, the charming aroma makes you cannot help eating it.

10. Spicy Salted Duck

Chinese Name: 酱板鸭 jiàng bǎn yā
Flavor: spicy and salty
Cooking Method: marinating, smoking
Spicy Salted Duck is a famous Hunan food as well as a popular Hunan gift. It is aromatic, spicy, numb and salt with tender duck meat, crisp skin and strong soy flavor. As the duck is marinated in the sauce of more than 30 Chinese medicines and over 10 condiments, it achieves the effects of promoting blood circulation, tonifying spleen and stomach. Spicy Salted Duck can be eaten instantly or fried with seasonings before enjoying.

 Further Reading
Hunan Cuisine / Xiang Cuisine – Hot, Spicy, Salty

- Last updated on Aug. 08, 2022 -
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