Sichuan Cuisine is one of the eight major cuisines of China. The cuisine features a wide range of materials, various seasonings and different cooking techniques and numerous tastes. Statistics show that the number of Sichuan dishes has surpassed 5,000. With a rich variety of strong flavors, Sichuan food is famous for its countless delicacies, dominated by peppery, chili flavors, and best known for being spicy-hot. If you find the Sichuan dishes too bland, then you are probably not eating authentic Sichuan cuisine. Chili peppers and prickly ash are used in many dishes, giving it a distinctively spicy taste, called Ma in Chinese. It often leaves a slight numb sensation in the mouth. Thanks to the development of global trade, chili peppers were spread to Sichuan by Americans in the 18th century, which greatly influence flavor of Sichuan cuisines.
Sichuan cuisine is characterized by stirring and frying over a hot fire, braising, and so on. People in Sichuan like to use condiments like chili, garlic, cinnamon, dried orange peel, scallion etc. to make their cuisine delicious. The most of the characteristic of Sichuan cuisine is hot and spicy. You can see that even every Sichuan cuisine cooked with chili peppers.
Hot Sichuan Dishes
•Stir-Fried Tofu with Minced Beef in Spicy Sauce
It is a real feast of tender and white bean curd, minced beef or pork, hot pepper, tasty bean sauce and green spring onion. It is believed that the dish was created by a pockmarked but ingenious woman, whose name was Ma Po.
Ma Po Tou Fu
•Couple's Spicy Lung Slices
People who first see the dish’s name may be scared. Actually, the dish is made from sliced beef and ox tongue, not people’s lung. The dish is quite popular in Chengdu, the capital city of Sichuan Province. The dish was firstly sold by a couple, and the dish was the most delicious dish among that other vendors sold, then got the name- couple's spicy lung slices. With time passed by, the ingredient has switched the pig’s lung to beef and ox tongue, but the flavor remains savory.
Couple's Spicy Lung Slices
•Kungpao Chicken Cubes
The chicken cubes are quickly fried to keep its tenderness, and the deep-fried peanuts are added in to enrich the dish's flavor. It was an imperial cuisine in Qing Dynasty. It is said that “kungpao” is the official title of the dish's inventor, Ding Baozhen.
Kungpao Chicken Cubes
•Lamp Shadow Beef
The beef cut with the larruping skill is thin, slippery and reddish. When put it under the lamp, a red shadow will appear. This delicious dish was named by the great poet Yuanzhen in Tang Dynasty. It tastes spicy and sweet. Now it has been a special local product of Sichuan.
Lamp Shadow Beef
Beijing, Zhangjiajie, Mt. Huangshan, Shanghai
Beijing, Xian, Guilin, Shanghai