Beijing roast duck is undoubtedly the most famous dish in Beijing and also the most popular in local restaurants, for both tourists and locals. Believe it or not, it actually originated from Shandong Province. A restaurant named Bianyifang created its own technique of closed oven roasting in 1416, then, in 1864, another restaurant, named Quanjude, improved on this technique and created their own technique of hung oven roasting, which is now the most popular method for roasting duck in Beijing today. Jujube wood, peach wood and pear wood are generally chosen as the fuel for the oven because they give off plenty of heat with little smoke and impart a fruity fragrance. However, if you want to try duck that has been cooked using the closed oven roasting technique, you can still go to Bianyifang, which still maintains its original technique of cooking duck.
The best Beijing roast duck has crispy golden skin and meat that just melts in your mouth. To truly experience its mouth-watering flavour, first dip a slice of duck meat into some sweet bean sauce or hoisin sauce, then wrap the slice in a soft pancake along with some slices of vegetables, such as spring onion and cucumber.
Join our tour to taste Beijing Roast Duck: Explore Chinese Culture through the Ages
The roast chicken produced in Fuli Town in the north of Suzhou City is a local speciality that is famous not only in Anhui, but also across the whole of China. The recipe has over 70 years of history behind it, and this has produced a very unique flavour.
The cooking process of this roast chicken dish is very elaborate. Firstly, choose a fat, tender chicken. Secondly, clean and pin the chicken and then dry it. After that, pour malt sugar water on it and fry it in sesame seed oil. The chicken is then put into a special soup, which has been preserved and continuously used for over 60 years, and contains 13 luxurious spices, including camellia, angelica, gypsum, cardamom, cloves and magnolia, to name but a few. When it is stewed at a high temperature in this thick gravy, the chicken becomes very crispy. After being stewed like this for four to six hours, it can then be taken out of the soup and it is ready to eat. Thanks to this procedure, the roast chicken is delectable both in colour and taste. It is fatty but not greasy. If you pick up the chicken’s leg and shake it lightly when it is hot, the meat will drop off the bone completely.
Hui Cuisine is known for using ham and rock candy to give flavour to its dishes. Braising and stewing are the main cooking techniques used in Hui cuisine, as oppose to the more common method of stir-frying. Hui Cuisine refers to the types of dishes cooked in the culinary style specific to the Huizhou region, rather than referring to the cooking style of Anhui Province as a whole. In the past, there were many rich merchants living in the Huizhou region. The customary convention was to conduct business meetings over dinner, and the host usually tried to provide the most tantalizing delicacies and the most delicious dishes for the meeting. So during this time Hui Cuisine began to develop and focus more on improving in quality, which is why the most famous dishes in Hui cuisine use rare and expensive ingredients. Not to mention that, since the Hui merchants were doing business all over the country, Hui Cuisine was spreading with them and thus became popular across the whole of China.
The most famous dishes in Hui Cuisine:
Terrapin braised with ham （火腿炖甲鱼）
According to traditional Chinese medicine, terrapin is good for people who have hypertension and coronary heart disease. It is also helpful for controlling cholesterol and improving general health.
Marinated Mandarin fish （腌鲜鳜鱼）
Ingredients: Mandarin fish, pork, garlic shoots and leaves, bamboo shoots
Mandarin fish in Huizhou has a distinct flavour, so some people call it “smelly Mandarin fish”. You can judge the flavour for yourself after you’ve given it a try.
Steamed Shiji （清蒸石鸡）
Ji (鸡) means Chicken in Chinese. But please be aware that shiji (石鸡) is not a type of chicken (鸡). It is a type of frog, similar to a bullfrog, which can be found in the area around and on Mt. Huangshan. It is said that eating this type of frog is very good for improving your general health.
Mao Tofu （虎皮毛豆腐）
Mao tofu is different from ordinary tofu because it has white fungi on its surface. This is because Huizhou people ferment the tofu in order to improve its taste.
Try some authentic Hui cuisine on the tour: Explore Traditional Culture in Picturesque Ancient Villages