Jiangsu Cuisine, also called Huaiyang Cuisine, one of the lesser known of the Eight Great Cuisines of China among foreigners, is popular in the lower reach of the Yangtze River. Aquatics as the main ingredients, it stresses the freshness of materials. Most of the Jiangsu cuisine dishes well preserve the original flavor of food materials. Its carving techniques are delicate, of which the melon carving technique is especially well known. It is very refined and presented colorfully and artistically. In addition, the artistic shape and bright colors of the dishes add more ornamental value.
Cooking techniques consist of stewing, braising, roasting, simmering, etc. The flavor of Huaiyang Cuisine is light, fresh and sweet and with delicate elegance. They stress to make the cooking soup of dishes delicious, tasting light but not blank, strong but not greasy. Jiangsu cuisine is well known for its careful selection of ingredients, its meticulous preparation methodology, and its not-too-spicy, not-too-bland taste. Since the seasons vary in climate considerably in Jiangsu, the cuisine also varies throughout the year.
Known as a land of fish and rice in China, Jiangsu Province has a rich variety of ingredients available for cooking. During the Qin and Han Dynasties (202 BC-220 AD), Yangzhou, Jiangsu Province, became an administrative region with prosperous economy and created many exquisite and delicious foods, such as braised meatballs. In the Sui Dynasty (581-618 A.D.), due to the construction of the Grand Canal connecting the north and the south of China by Emperor Yang of the Sui Dynasty, some northern cooking methods spread to Yangzhou, thus promoting the development of unique cooking techniques in the south. In the Tang Dynasty (618-907 A.D.), Yangzhou had become the economic center of eastern China and Persia (the old name of Iran). Arab businessmen brought Muslim flavor and cooking methods to Jiangsu cuisine. In the Song Dynasty (960 - 1279), Jiangsu cuisine became sweeter. In the following years, exchanges between the north and the South helped improve the cooking skills of Jiangsu cuisine.
There are 3 main characteristics of Jiangsu Cuisine: 1. They are made of very exquisite ingredients, which are all very fresh. They usually use fresh and live aquatic products as raw materials. There are also selected tea leaves, bamboo shoots, mushrooms and pears as other cooking ingredients ;The chefs emphasize bringing out the distinct natural flavors in the rich range of meat and plant ingredients in their dishes. 2. Its carving techniques are delicate, of which the melon carving technique is especially well known; The dishes are served delicately like artworks. 3. Cooking Jiangsu Cuisine will use many methods, such as stewing, quick-frying, warming-up, stir-frying, wine sauce pickling and adding some sugar as condiments, making Jiangsu dishes taste fresh, light and mellow.
Jiangsu cuisine chefs focus on the controlling of fire heat and the art of cutting. The food carvings and cuttings are extremely exquisite and changeful. Skillful Jiangsu chefs can even cut tofu 2cm wide into 30 slices, and the finished shredded tofu is like a single hair and can go through the needle eye. Besides, the chefs are especially good at simmering, braising, and stewing.
Famous Zhejiang Cuisines
Nanjing Salted Duck
Nanjing salted duck is braised using a moist-heat cooking technique to make the meat succulent and leave the skin taut. The duck is then pickled for a few hours and hung out to dry, before being simmered in a broth of ginger, onion and star anise. The result is a plain-looking dish packed with flavor. Nanjing salted duck is most commonly eaten around the time of Mid-Autumn Festival in September. The dish also goes by the name Osmanthus Duck, due to the availability of sweet osmanthus, which is often added to the cooking broth. As a popular pastime, whether locals on family holidays or simply daily visitors, people in Nanjing often take to the streets to buy Nanjing Salted Duck. The number of ducks sold in Nanjing exceeds that of chickens, and duck sales are estimated at about 80,000 ducks daily.
Yangzhou Fried Rice
Yangzhou Fried Rice is perhaps Yangzhou's most well-known dish. It features best materials, delicate cook, fine process, the original flavor and the pleasant color. It is a simple homemade dish, made from cold cooked rice and various ingredients, such as sausage, lettuce and green peas.Yangzhou Fried Rice serves as the most popular staple dish in Huaiyang cuisine. It is so named because its origin can be dated back to Yangzhou, where it is said fried rice started to be widely popular.