Hunan chili

Hunan chili - Photo: Mark Hobbs



Hunan is a land of gentle hills, capable of producing a great deal of food. The northeastern section of Hunan falls in the the Middle Yangtze Plain, a fertile agricultural area. China’s second largest lake, Dongting Lake, is located in the far northeast portion of the province.


Street vendor. Photo: Mark Hobbs

Across China using chili in cooking is as common as the Italians using garlic – It is simply part of the flavor. Nowhere in China uses chili to more effect than in Hunan. Szechuan is of course famous for its hot chili spiced food.


Hunan Cuisine, is often spicier than Szechuan cuisine by pure chili content, it contains a larger variety of fresh ingredients and it tends to be oilier, and is said to be purer and simpler in taste.


In every street market and modern supermarket across the province, chili in all it’s various varieties can be found, chili can be dried, ground to a fine powder, mixed with oil and of?course?fresh. There are several varieties of chili usually available, the most popular being ?the hot red chili (know in the west as birds eye chili) it is both cheap and?plentiful.


Hunan’s culinary repertoire consists of more than 4,000 dishes, including Dong’an Chicken, Crispy Duck, Orange Beef, and Spicy “Kung Pao” Chicken.






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