Minority people are born bold and forthright, liquor is a necessity in their daily life. Every household made its own liquor by glutinous rice or broomcorn. Sweet wine is a primary beverage when mixed with water in hot summer days, it can also mixed with honey to warm up in freezing winter days. Even though there are no appetizers in a meal, liquor is essential. It is also an important part when guests are welcomed. When it comes to festival or joyous occasion, it is of great importance to add to the fun. People are get used to deliver emotions and show respect to others by liquor, there is numerous way of drinking: when giving a reception to friends coming from afar, when testing the bridegroom in a wedding, when making a vow between new couples... All of these can reflect the glorious culture of liquor.
Tea drinking is also a time-honored tradition. The most famous one is "mashed tea". It is a mixture which consists of tea, nuts and herbs. The host puts them in a container, and mashes it again and again. And then boil in a copper pot, the fragrance would give out. It was originated from ancient residents; it was used as a traditional medicine to calm inflammations. The other famous tea is GuZhang green tea; it was consecrated to royal in Tang dynasty. Tea-drinking is not enough; they created songs for showing gratitude to guests. Every guest would be given a pair of chopsticks, put it under the bowl, the host would stop, or they would drinking all the time.
2. Staple food
There are lots of materials that can be staple food, the main material are paddy rice and corn, together with sweet potato and soybean. Also they make good us of these materials and created numerous processed foods. Rice can be processed as rice-noodle, rice-tofu and rice-wine. Soybean can be made to slices, paste, and stinky tofu altogether. Fruits and vegetables are collect in their own gardens. Meats are from poultries and livestock they feed. The wild resources are abundant here, thus, minority people are getting used to take what the nature produced. Wild lives can be taken in different periods of the year. There is lots of specialty here, such as various wild vegetables, wild kiwi fruit, pupas, snakes and so on.
"Sour" and "spicy" are the indispensable tastes, without these two flavors, everything would be tasteless. Every family has a piece of field that grows peppers, every household has a pot for making pickles. The sour food can be divided into 3 categories: sour vegetables, sour meats and sour cereal. Sour vegetables are mainly made of various vegetables. The material directly made the name of the food; there are sour cabbage, sour radish, sour eggplant and so on. Sour meat is made of meats of poultries, livestocks and aquatics. The most famous one is sour fish, the fish was taken out all the organs and then coat with sauces for 2 or 3 days. Finally, it was sealed up with corn powder together in a pot. They would be taken out to eat directly or fried after 10 more days. The flavour is strong but original.
Salted foods are popular, too. Bacon, salted fish and sausage are the main products. All of the finished products are coloury, salt but tasty.
The catering culture of western Hunan is related tightly with the climate, geographical position and history. With the exchange of different cultures and their own creativity, nowadays, it has become an important part in Hunan culture.
Festal feast is expected highly among minority people, different festivals, food categories and way of cooking are distinctive. Traditional festivals were taken seriously by Tujia people; the spring festival is the more important of the most important one. Reunion feast would be had a day before New Year's Day. They would butcher the fattest hog; a collection of dishes made of pork is the biggest and essential one. Every family member has to go back to home that day, no matter how far they are situated. There are 2 reunion feasts in a day, morning and evening, the dinner is a heavy one, and it usually lasts 2 to 3 hours. When it comes to lantern festival, dumpling balls are needed. They would present the original rice mutually which made of pork and vegetables when worshiping God of the land. Customs in festivals such as dragon boat day or mid-autumn festival are almost the same to other parts of Hunan province. In the past, Miao people have their own spring festival in October. In recent years, they have been assimilated a lot and are getting used to spend spring festival in January. But the customs and traditions remain unchanged. The biggest festival for them is "first harvest of the year" which means everyone who works in other places has to come back and have a meal with families, all of the food is made up of the first gains of the year.
They are pay attention to preserve their health by adjust diet custom. Hotpot is popular in winter, everything boiled would be abacterial, and the high temperature can get rid of the internal chills of the body. Cold mix that added alcohol can do well to stomach; dogs are eaten to fertile kidney; rice wine can engender liquid and allay thirst. Tujia people are good at balance in vitro and vivo by making good use of gender of food. Cold and raw foods are forbidden for weak person, hot and spicy foods are forbidden for positive physique. Honey and walnut are used for purgation; herbs to reduce inflammation, peppers are used for seasoning and promoting appetite.
Table manner is important, when a respectable guest comes, they would lay a bowl of wine in the doorway, and they would prepare a fancy dinner for guests.
The customs has distinct regional characteristics, Tujia people and Miao people shares the same taste. As is mentioned above, sour and spicy are popular. Western Hunan is mountainous, traffic here is inaccessible, people had suffered a lot for lack of salt in ancient times, gradually, sour has become a replacement of salty flavour. Pepper is also popular and can be made as pepper paste, pepper powder and so on. There are some other snacks, such as spicy soup, cold noodles. Every housewife is an expert of making all the relishes.
With the development of tourism, ethnic catering resources are an important part of tourism resources. Thus, it is important for us to analyze the function under the development of modern minority culture, to facilitate exploitation of tourism resources and the development of local economy.
It is an excellent folklore tourism resource, folklore tourism resources mean tourism activities that aims at folk customs. It is a main attraction for tourists. It was reported that about 40% foreign tourists are interested in cultural relics and historic sites, 34.4% are interested in folk customs and traditional relishes. It proves that folk culture is attractive to tourists; minority catering cultures of western Hunan takes a great advantage undoubtedly. Diet reflected culture, culture integrated in diet. The spirit of catering tourism is combine relishes and cultures together, provided a sense of amusement. When visiting a spot, graceful dining environment, abundant and special snacks and beverages can be taken into consideration. That is to say, without catering, tourism can hardly develop.
A saying goes, stand and sit has its own rules. If a kid was seen sit lazily and casually, he would be punished severely by seniorities. On the one hand, the punishment can remind them of not to waste food, on the other hand, it can cultivate a good table manner even an upright attitude towards life. The order of seat is important especially in a banquet. The left side of shrine is superior to the right side, seniorities should be seat at first, and also they would eat first. If one finished drinking, he should greet to others to show his respect. If he finished dining, he should greet to others, too. The host should treat guest as their family members. Juniors would visit seniors every double ninth day. If the neighbor had no time to take care of their babies, they would be taken good care of by the other neighbors. The harmony atmosphere is valuable in modern times. From these entire courtesy implement in catering, the cultural function can be obvious.