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Hunan Cuisine

Hunan cuisine, or "Xiang cuisine," is derived from the Xiaoxiang (the region of "lakes and rivers" in south-central China that more or less corresponds with today's Hunan province) area, is one of the Eight Culinary Traditions of Chinese Cuisine.

Hunan cuisine features complicated and delicate preparation process, rich variety of ingredients and a kaleidoscopic range of tastes and diverse dishes and categories. It is known for affordability, the liberal use of oil, deep colors, fresh aromas, spiciness and tender textures. Common cooking techniques include simmering, stewing, smoking, steaming and stir-frying.

The theme of Hunan dishes is strong flavors that pique our appetite for rice. Many Hunan natives don't like to eat foods that are too spicy but do so anyway, primarily to eat more rice. For this reason, Hunan cuisine is often paired with rice.

Hunan cuisine boasts an impressively long history. Its genesis dates back to the Han Dynasty, when it had already reached a fairly high level of culinary finesse. The taste is predominantly savory, sour and spicy and imparts a distinctive mountainous and rural flavor. Hunan cuisine is mainly made up of dishes from Changsha and Hengyang. The unity between the gustatory and visual perceptions and harmony of colors, the blending of tastes, aromas, presentation and textures are all vital.