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Zhangjiajie is a city gathering a lot of Chinese minorities. 72.6% residents of Zhangjiajie are minorities. Most dwellers in Zhangjiajie are Tu Minority people. Tu Minority loves chili and peppery food ever since from ancient times as chili peppers can stimulate the appetite, strengthen spleen and also can improve assimilation. Tu Minority people also love vinegary, pickled and bacon food.
Zhangjiajie Tu Minority Pickled Vegetables
As soon as people mentioned Tu Minority dishes, most Chinese people will think of bright red color and the hot taste. Tu Minority pickled vegetables are not only hot and red, but also have a kind of vinegary taste to make people mouth water. Tu Minority pickled vegetables are beauty in color, aroma in smelling and delicacy in taste. They are hot, peppery, sweet, crisp and flexible. Zhangjiajie Tu Minority pickled vegetables are varied in genus such as chili pepper, radish, greengrocery, potherb, soybean, cabbage, kidney bean, sword bean and many more. Tu Minority pickled vegetables are not as salty as other pickled food and are fresh and clean. They are nice dishes for stimulating the appetite and strengthening spleen. Tu Minority pickled vegetables are not pickled simply by boiled water, but by fountain from mountains. So these pickled vegetables are particularly fresh and tasty. No matter in family meals or festivals and banquets, there are pickled vegetables on tables. Pickled vegetable is a kind of traditional dish which people can not live without with.
Zhangjiajie Tu Minority Bacon
Bacon food in Tu Minority is very popular and is easy to make. Not only pork is the maim material of bacon food, but also mutton, pig blood, fish, chicken, duck, beef, pig's trotter, harslet, bean curd and so on. These fresh materials are firstly pickled with salt, chili powders, Sichuan pepper and peppercorn for 3 or 5 days. Then, they are smoked by firewood smoke until them become brown. Nicely cooked bacon can be kept for more than half a year. The bacon made of venison is the special local meat products in Zhangjiajie. The bacon is made be people who live in mountains of Zhangjiajie. Those people marinate the wild boar, rabbit, birds and so on other wild animals for half a month and then process the meat by sootiness. Bacon of the venison is choice dish on tables. When cooking bacon food, we need to wash and boiled them well, and then chop into slices, strips or other required sizes. Mainly cooking methods of bacon are stir-frying, steaming, or making chaffy dish or others. As bacon dishes have unique nice smelling and taste, many tourists like to bring them home.
Zhangjiajie Tu Minority Chili Food
Zhangjiajie Tu Minority people specially love hot food as the hot ones can stimulate the appetite, strengthen spleen and also can improve assimilation. Men and women, children and old people all like eat hot and spicy dishes. They have three meals in a day. And they eat hot dishes in every meal. Major chili-pepper dishes can be found on Tu Minority tables are stir-fried pepper, dry-fried chili, deep-fried chili peppers, pickled chili, chili pepper sauce, chili juice and pepper soup and so on. It is said, the Tu Minority people always work quickly decidedly and without further ado, because they often eat chili peppers.
Zhangjiajie Tu Minority Ten Dishes
In Zhangjiajie, there are ten dishes for entertaining important and special guests from distance. These dishes are the best foods for common families of Tu minority. These ten best foods can not be eaten everyday. Only during festivals, good evens and other special conditions, people have those ten dishes. It is call "Ten Dishes", but in fact, it includes thirteen courses. Before dining there is a "Tu Minority Tea" named "Gong Xi Cha" with materials of brown sugar, stir-fried rice and pure water. The first dish is Moyulaojiahecai cooked by inkfish, fat and lean meat strips, day lily, and pachyrhizus powder. Its second dish named Jizhiqianzhanghecai is made of Jizhiqianzhang, carrot, fat and lean meat strips, shredded green pepper and chili. The third course is Local Chicken stewed with Jew's ear. The fourth dish is called Xiangcunkoudupian cooked by fresh pig tripe and radish. The fifth is cooked by streaky pork and lotus root. The sixth dish Countryside Huokengyu. Then its seventh dish is Dingguanzhuti with major material of fresh pig trotters. Eighth, the dish is Tu Minority Steamed Sliced Pork with marinated vegetables. The ninth food is Sijichangqing- vegetables. Then the tenth one is Tu Minority Hezha cooked by local leek and home-made bean curd sauce. The eleventh belongs to snacks is glutinous rice cake. Then there will be assorted fruits from farm house and appetitive Humi tea.
Zhangjiajie Suan Yu Zha Yu
Suan Yu Zha Yu is a wonderful and rarely known dish among Tu and Miao Minorities. This food boasting unique local flavor is cooked by newly caught fish. After cleaning and washing the fresh fish, people would swathe the fish by rice powders. The rich powders are added salt before wrapping fish. Then the fish was kept in pot for 3-5 days. When the fish becomes a bit sour, it can be deep-fried into golden color. Such a kind of dish is vinegary and fragrant. As soon as you see the deep-fried Suan Yu Zha Yu, you will be full of mouth water. As the fish has been marinated by salt in pots, it is also edible without deep-frying. This food is appetitive and available in all four seasons.
Zhangjiajie Black Bone Chicken Stewed with Rhizoma Gastrodiae
Black Bone Chicken is the meat of a sort of chook. This chook is white all over, dark in skin, bone, eyes, beak, toe, bowel and fat. It is a kind of show chicken and can be used for medicine. This chook was originally bred in China. Rhizoma gastrodiae is the tuber of elevated gastrodia. It is the Chinese healing herb whose root is useful in calming the nerves while balancing stress levels. In Zhangjiajie, black bone chicken stewed with rhizome gastrodiae is a tonics and delicious soup. Rhizoma gastrodiae grown in mountains of Zhangjiajie is golden in color and is lucid which belongs to top grade ones. So the soup of black bone chicken and rhizome gastrodiae is the folk secret recipe. It is good for curing swirling and swimming, hemiplegy and apoplexy too.
Zhangjiajie She Fan
She Fan is a sort of "festival rice" on "She Ri" of every February. She Ri is the festival for people sacrificing the god of land and the god of grain. She Fan is popular in Tu, Miao and Dong Minorities. So in Zhangjiajie, She Fan is a important food there. Tu Minority thinks a lot of the She Fan too. When ever on "She Ri", all families will cook savoury "She Fan" exultingly. Tu Minority people not only cook this rice for themselves, but also present the rice for friends as nice gifts. The steps of cooking She Fan are:
1. pick fresh and tender southernwood from cropland, brook side, or hillside and clean and chop them, knead the bitter juice of the southernwood
2. bake or stir fry the southernwood to dry
3. mix the chopped southernwood with shallot, bacon dried bean curd, and bacon with sticky rice
4. steaming or braising the hodgepodge
Zhangjiajie Sweet Potato Noodles
Sweet potato noodles are made of fresh sweet potato or amylum of the sweet potato. The makings of sweet potato noodles can be divided into traditional process and modernize. Private workshops and private families of Zhangjiajie still follow the traditional methods of cooking the sweet potato noodles. Processing of the sweet potato noodles is complex and careful. Sweet potato noodles before eating need further cooking as they are dried ones. They will firstly need to marinate in pure water till they are soft. Then you can stir fry them with pignuts, capsicum sauce or chopped pork; or you can boiled them with spices and other ingredients.
Zhangjiajie San Xia Guo
Talking about this dish-San Xia Guo, people in Zhangjiajie all know it and no people who have been to Zhangjiajie do not know it as well. It is said, San Xia Guo was originally from Ming Dynasty. In Ming Dynasty, the court called up soldiers of this place to go up the line to repel the ancient Japan. It was in winter and in the Chinese New Spring Festival. The leader of the army gave orders to spend the New Year one day ahead avoiding delaying of army. At that day, they cooked a dish with materials of rabbit, bacon and dried bean curd. Nowadays in Zhangjiajie, the San Xia Guo Dish is a bit different from the one in Ming Dynasty. It is usually cooked by the tripe of cow, pig and sheep or pig trotters and pig head. San Xia Guo is a classic local dish and is a must try.
Zhangjiajie Steamed Sliced Pork
Steamed sliced pork is a famous dish for treating guests in Tu Minority. It is cooked by streaky pork. The steamed sliced pork of Tu Minority is fatty but not stodgy. The streaky is often steamed with dried pickles. The streaky pork will under several working procedures such as boiling, deep-frying and steaming. Although it contains fatty meat, it is not stodgy at all. You can order this dish in almost every restaurant.
Zhangjiajie Tuan Nian Cai (Hodgepodge)
Tuan Nian Cai is a sort of hodgepodge. It is a necessary dish during New Year Festival. Every family of Tu Minority will cook the Tuan Nian Cai at that day. The Zhangjiajie Tu Minority people stew rabbit, bean curd, cabbage, shallot, pork and chili pepper all together in a pan. This dish is not only tasty but also has profound meanings. It stands for reuniting of the whole family members and good harvest in the next year.
Zhangjiajie Loach Stewed with Tofu
The loach stewed with tofu is a funny dish of Zhangjiajie, particularly in Tu Minority. There is a interesting Chinese name-"Niuqiu Zuan Doufu" which literally means the loach dig into the tofu. At first, they put he small loaches into crocks or vats. Then they put some clean water into the crocks or vats and put some salt into them. After one day or two days, the loaches will expel the sand, mud and other impurities from their bellies. After cleaning the loaches, they will put the live loaches into fresh and tender tofu. Then the loaches will dig holes in tofu and dig into them. After a while, people would stew the tofu together with the loaches and add peppercorn, shallot, gourmet power, chopped ginger, sauce and so on other seasonings. Loach stewed with tofu is a kind of regale for entertaining important guests by Tu Minority.