Fujian Cuisine and Local Snacks in Xiamen

 Taken from : http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_60ece9210100m6uo.html
Fujian cuisine (fú jiàn cài 福建菜) was a latecomer in southeast China along the coast. The cuisine emphasizes seafood, river fish, and shrimp. It is known for its meticulous ingredient selection, fine cutting, and fresh taste. The local cooks are good at preparing seafood, and the dishes they cook are tender, tasteful but not oily and look elegant. Generally speaking, Fujian dishes are slightly sweet and sour, and less salty, and often use the red distiller's grain for flavoring.

1. Fuzhou (fú zhōu 福州): The taste is light compared to other styles, often with a mixed sweet and sour taste. Fuzhou is famous for its soups.

2. Western Fujian (mǐn xī 闽西): There are often slight spicy tastes from mustard and pepper and the cooking methods are often steam, fry and stir-fry.

3. Southern Fujian (mǐn nán 闽南): Spicy and sweet taste are often found and the selection of sauces used is elaborate.

4. Quanzhou (quán zhōu 泉州): The least oily but with strongest taste/flavor of Fujian cuisine. Great emphasis is placed on the shape of the material for each dish.

• Various soup and broth: The most characteristic aspect of Fujian cuisine is that its dishes are served in soup.

• Ingredients of seafood and mountain delicacies: Fujian cuisine emphasizes seafood and mountain delicacies. Many mountain delicacies such as mushroom, bamboo shoots and tremella are often found here. The coastal area produces 167 varieties of fish and 90 kinds of turtles and shellfish. It also produces edible bird's nest, cuttlefish, and sturgeon. These special products are all used in Fujian cuisine.

• Fine slicing techniques: Fujian cuisine stresses on fine slicing techniques so much that it is reputed as sliced ingredients are as thin as paper and shredded as slim as hairs. Fine slicing techniques may better show the aroma and texture of food. Cutting is important in Fujian cuisine.

• Exquisite culinary art: Fujian dishes are tasty because of their emphasis on a series of delicate procession: selecting ingredients, mixing flavors, timing the cooking and controlling the heat. When a dish is less salty, it tastes more delicious. Sweetness makes a dish tastier, while sourness helps remove the seafood smell.

Some typical famous dishes:

Buddha Jumps over Wall (fó tiào qiáng佛跳墙)

Sea Clams in Chicken Soup (jī tāng tǔn hǎi bàng 鸡汤氽海蚌)

Liquor-Soaked Chicken (zāo zuì jī 糟醉鸡)

Sautéed Sliced Sea Whelks with Rice Wine Sauce (dàn zāo xiāng luó piàn 淡糟香螺片)

Black Mushrooms and Wheat Gluten Soup (bàn yuè chén jiāng 半月沉江)

Glossy Ganoderma and Jade Cicadas (líng zhī liàn yù chán 灵芝恋玉蝉)

Litchi Pulp (lì zhī ròu 荔枝肉), Zuipaigu (lì zhī ròu 醉排骨),

Phoenix Tailed, Dragon Bodied Prawns (lóng shēn fèng wěi xiā 龙身凤尾虾)

Chinese Radishes with Clam Meat (gàn bèi luó bo zhū 干贝萝卜珠)

Fujian is also famous for yenpi (yàn pí 燕皮), a thin flour wrapper made with large proportions of lean pork. This wrapper has a unique texture due to the incorporation of meat and has a "bite" similar to things made with surimi. Yenpi is used to make rouyen (ròu yàn 肉燕), a type of wonton. People in Fujian call wonton as "Bianshi (biǎn shí 扁食)".

Buddha Jumps over Wall (fó tiào qiáng佛跳墙)

With a history of over 100 years, Buddha Jumps over Wall is prepared with more than 20 ingredients, such as chicken, duck, pig's trotters and mutton, and stewed over a low fire with a jar for holding Shaoxing wine. Whenever this dish is served, the whole restaurant will be full of aromas. In the past a scholar composed a poem, saying: "All the neighbors enjoy pleasant aromas when the dish is served; and even a Buddha who is attracted by the smell jumps over the wall." Hence the name.

Tusundong (tǔ sǔn dòng 土笋冻)

Tusundong is a jelly made of marine products. Tu Sun can be made into jelly because they have gelatins. It is annelid with a scientific name of Sipuncula. With a length of two or three inches, it has bowels and a heart organ. After being boiled, the gelatins it contains will dissolve into water. Then it will become gelatinous after being cooled. Now it has been one of the key cold dishes in large and small banquets.

Oily Scallion Cakes (yóu cōng guǒ 油葱馃)

On middle autumn's day, local people has the old custom of sacrificing salty cakes to ancestors. It is said that when a family steamed this sacrifice, the child lifted the cover of bamboo steamer and saw a half-ripe salty cake. Thinking it tasteless, he poured a bowl of meat into the cake conveniently. When the parents discovered, the cake had ripened but tasted good. Therefore, people rushed to copy it and salty scallion cake became oily scallion cake through the development.

Fried Oysters (háo zǎi jiān 蚝仔煎)

Prepare some fresh crabmeat, cut Chinese chives into half an inch long, add some sweet potato powder, and mix them properly. Fry it with a frying pan. When the food is almost done, add some eggs. This snack is fragrant soft and very delicious.

Mianxian Hu (miàn xiàn hú miàn xiàn hú 面线糊)

Prepare soup with shrimps, oysters, razor clams and other seafood, add thread-like noodles to the soup, and boil the mixture until it becomes gruel.

Spicy Fried Rolls (wǔ xiāng 五香)

Wrap dried tofu sheet around a mixture of cubed pork, fish meat, onions, water chestnuts, soy sauce, five spices, and sweet potato starch. Deep fry, cut in slices, serve.

Spring Rolls (chūn juàn 春卷)

Much like a "Minnan burrito", they use spring roll wrappers instead of tortillas, and a filling of: shredded carrots and bamboo shoots, green peas, shredded meats and shrimp, tofu, and anything else that strikes your fancy or wanders in off the street. Cook filling well, add salt and soy sauce, wrap in the spring roll wrappers, serve with mustard, chili sauce, plum sauce, scrambled eggs, leeks, and Chinese parsley.

Stir- Fried Rice Noodles (chǎo miàn xiàn 炒面线)

Deep fry rice noodles until golden, then rinse in boiled water to remove grease. Stir-fry shredded pork, fish, mushrooms and bamboo shoots in peanut oil and add chicken bouillon, Shaoxing wine, and salt. Add the noodles and serve hot.

Zongzi (zòng zǐ 粽子)

Pyramid-shaped dumplings of glutinous rice and other stuff wrapped in bamboo leaves. Originally served on the Dragon Boat Festival, but now year round. Make your own by stir frying glutinous rice, pork, chestnuts, mushrooms and shrimp (or some use red beans), and wrap them with bamboo leaves into a pyramid shape, and tie them, then braise them in a soup until well done.

Fish Ball (yú wán 鱼丸)

Shenhu fish balls are a famous traditional snack in south Fujian, in the shape of a ball or fish. Bright and snow white, such balls are soft, refined and delicious.

Peanut Soup (huā shēng tāng 花生汤)

Unsurprisingly, the main ingredient for this snack is peanuts - which have to be peeled, soaked, and stewed. This has to occur before any sugar is added. The peanuts in the sweetened broth then have to be simmered until they are completely soft. Seasoned peanut soup drinkers never drink their soup without adding one or all of the following as a side dish: deep fried dough sticks, fried doughnuts, vegetable pastries, meat buns, sweet buns, or fried glutinous rice.

Peanut Crisp (huā shēng táng 花生糖)

As a well-known Chinese style cookie of Xiamen, it uses peanut kernels and granulated sugar as major raw materials. To make it, firstly stir-fry and de-coat the peanut kernels, mix with sugar and boil them, then ground them into crisp, roll and pull them in shape, and slice them to small pieces. To serve it, carefully open the wrapping paper, and slightly put the crisp in the mouth; it melts quickly with agreeable sweetness and the aroma lingering in the mouth.

Stuffed Biscuits (xiàn bǐng 馅饼)

There are two kinds of Xiamen pies. Sweet pies take pea gravel as the filling. They are added with pork oil and white sugar and then dried by the fire. Salty pies have meat cubes as the filling and are also made with pork oil and white sugar. They are characterized by crisp husk and fine fillings. There is a vegetarian pie in Nanputuo Temple (nán pǔ tuó sì 南普陀寺), whose fillings are not only pea and white sugar, but also xanthic flowers and agaric.

Nanputuo Vegetarian Meals (nán pǔ tuó sì zhāi fàn 南普陀寺斋饭)

Nanputuo Vegetarian restaurant selects vegetable oil, flour, bean, vegetable, mushroom, and fruits as ingredients. Every dish has its own flavor and theme through chefs' exquisite design. The vegetarian meals are made in strict accordance with the tradition of Buddhist diet. They must be made of vegetarian ingredients in the way of cooking vegetables with idyllic names.