Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Culinary odyssey in Hunan Province

Okay, I'm back. I haven't posted in a while because a few months ago my darling husband had a few drinks and left our camera at a bar and, being more susceptible to inertia than the average person, I got out of the habit. Now our camera's been replaced and I have a backlog of photos to post, but I'll start with some from my recent trip to Hunan province for the Chinese New Year. I took so many photos that they'll have to be divided into two posts, so I'll start with the good stuff - the food.

Hunan food is similar to Sichuan in that it involves lots of chiles. This is good. Very, very good. Here we have tofu covered in fresh chiles, dried chiles, and chile paste (and made by a chef that called himself the "Chile King":

More tofu, cooked with chiles and spring onions:

Hey look - more tofu with chiles!

Strips of smoked tofu (which we dipped in chile sauce):

And tofu swimming in chile sauce. Bright red food is almost always good. (Yes, even those cheap hot dogs):

Almost everywhere we went, we also had variations of the amazing cucumber/garlic/chile salad. This one was heavy on the spring onions:

A version heavy on the chiles:

And one with a lot of chopped coriander:

Taro. With chile:

Taro spring rolls - basically fried bread stuffed with mashed taro - and chile sauce for dipping:

Eggplant topped with a huge mound of chopped garlic:

Dry-fried green beans (which we wolfed so fast that I barely had time for a photo):

Sichuan hot pot. Not a great photo, but it's basically a boiling vat of chili broth into which you dump various ingredients. We had lotus root, bean sprouts and noodles:

Cold noodles with chiles, peanuts, Sichuan peppercorns, and spring onions:

A fried... thing. We got this from a street vendor. It tasted like a huge potato chip with peanuts stuck on top. Deep-fried fatty goodness:

Teeny-tiny oranges we ate on the train:

Those black things are congealed pig's blood. I don't fully understand how that works. And no, I didn't try it:

Pine bud drink. It smells and tastes like a Christmas tree. A really sweet Christmas tree:

All of this, and I actually lost two pounds in six days while traveling. Is there anything China can't do?

Next up - stuff we actually did in Hunan.

1 comment:

  1. I want to go to there. Now. Excellent photos, many featuring cards! I want to play cards. How about this Saturday?