Typical dish of Hangzhou cuisine are many traditional homely dishes and reminiscent flavors like West Lake Fish in Vinegar Gravy, Braised Dongpo Pork, Beggar”s Chicken, Longjing Shrimp and Hangzhou Soy-sauce Duck. These traditional and reminiscent dishes are regarded by Hangzhou locals as “Cuisine of Mom”.
West Lake Fish in Vinegar Gravy
The lake, the canals and the nearby ocean guarantee fish, shrimp and other seafood as staples in the cuisine. Perhaps the most famous fish dish of Hangzhou cooking is West Lake Fish in Vinegar Gravy. In this dish, a fresh alive grass carp is firstly kept hungry in clear water for one to two days to rinse well, and then it is cut in half from head to tail but not separated, delicately poached and then served eyes-up and topped with a sharp sweet and sour, vinegar-based sauce. This dish integrates delicious tastes, with tender fish meat like crabmeat.
Hangzhou Soy-sauce Duck
Hangzhou soy-sauce duck is a type of marinated duck. It is the typical flavor and adopted the traditional methods of the folk. The ducks are chosen from those stout and strong and good ones, and then are pickled and topped with soy-sauce. Well processed ducks usually in the bordeaux color are fragrant. They taste a bit salt and tiny sweet.
The beggar”s chicken is a traditional Chinese, especially Hangzhou, as popular with tourists as with far eastern gourmets. Main materials of this dish call for a chicken, leaves and pond mud. When the chicken is packed with delicate fillings, it is the lotus leaf and mud wrapping that makes this chicken so tasty, tender and intriguing.
Beggar”s Chicken has interesting stories just like other typical dishes of Hangzhou. The legend about the beggar”s chicken is a Hangzhou thief invented it. As he had no stove, he wrapped the stolen bird in clay and baked in a hole in the ground. Then the taste of this chicken is so charming that the cooking methods went round widely from then on.
Braised Pork Belly or Dongpo Pork
Dongpo Pork is a specialty of Hangzhou with very crispy outside. The name “Dong po” comes from the medieval Chinese poet, who was named Su Dongpo. Dongpo Rou (Chinese pronunciation) refers to braised pork belly.
It is usually served as a 2 inch cube of pork in individual clay lidded pot. Being braised with soy and sugar and spices, it is very soft and juicy, and also very tasty. One of the special flavorings in Braised Dongpo Pork is Shaoxing Wine – a kind of yellow rice wine. It also needs take at least 4 hours to get the best results when making Dongpo Pork. It is done when the fat, skin, and meat are easily pierced with blunt chopsticks. At this time Dongpo Pork is red and bright in color, oily but not greasy, crisp but not smashed, plus mellow juice. It is usually served with plain rice or steamed buns and accompany with some greens or vegetables.
Longjing Xia Ren or Dragon Well Tea Shrimp
Longjing Xiaren is fried shrimp in Longjing tea. People in Hangzhou cooked the fresh shrimp with characteristics: fresh and special taste and faint scent. The shrimps after rinsed should be marinated in a tablespoon of Shaoxing wine (a kind or yellow rice wine usually used in cooking). By the same time the Longjing tea leaves should be brewed in boiling / hot water and then they will expand to huge leaves, and you need to keep the tea to use in stir-frying. It is famous for infused with the aromatic and high priced Longjing tea and this dish pleases people”s palate with lingering fragrance of the tea and the crunchy texture of the shrimp.