Fujian Cuisine (闽菜)
After all the wok dishes, steamed buns and exceptional knife skills, I would like to introduce you guys to another aspect of the Chinese cuisine, a region that works mainly with exotic ingredients of the sea (Province Yunnan also have very exotic ingredients, but that is another topic for itself). The Fujian Cuisine is combination of traditional “Han” cuisine, which mainly utilizes wok technics, and the local Min (闽) cuisine.
However, what differentiates Fujian Cuisine from other cuisines is that Fujian chefs specialize in soups. Based on its location, Fujian province has a rich abundance of seafood and exotic herbs and mushrooms. Fujian chefs usually would draw out the ingredient’s deliciousness by cooking them together in a pot over slow heat. The results of this cooking technic are clear and light-flavoured soups, which often have very nourishing characteristics.
It is not that Fujian chefs only make soups now – they have also mastered the art of the wok and the knife. Geographically, Fujian also has many mountains and with them, basins. Lychees and other fruits are therefore also very popular amongs chefs, as they use them to further elevate other ingredient’s sweetness or sourness. In terms of the use of spices, Fujian chefs strongly believe in the “as natural as possible” principle. They do, however, use sugar and vinegar to get rid of the astringency of certain ingredients. The soups could be clear as water, light but not bland. They could also be milky and flavorful, like Japanese Tonkotsu stock.
The Fujian Cuisine also values knife skills, but they are not just there to enhance the presentation of the dish, but to improve the end texture and the taste of the dish. For example, the thinner you slice potatoes, the crispier they get once fried or stir-fried. For those ingredients which have thick outer layers, it is important that the chef processed them with the knife so, that the flavour of the spices can reach inside.
More of the most famous dishes of the Fujian Cuisine:
佛跳墙 (The Buddha jumps over the wall)
荔枝肉 (Lychee Pork)
If you are interested and you really want to know the differences between regional cuisines in China, I highly recommend you to go there yourself and try everything out! The regional cuisines in China do show similarities in many aspects, but the small differences are the gems that make the adventure exciting!