Thursday, November 18, 2010

Huizhou: Some Spicy Hunan Cuisine

I actually didn't know I had food poisoning until right after breakfast, when whatever I ate came straight back out... both ends. It wasn't fun at all. During the a meeting, our colleagues decided to take us to this restaurant that's famous in Huizhou for authentic 湖南 Hunan cuisine, which was the worst thing for my stomach.

Now, Hunan cuisine is all about spicy food. Typically people think of Szechuan as the province with all the spicy food but Hunan cuisine can hold its own. They differ from one another in that Szechuan cuisine is more about a numbing spiciness, with the Szechuan peppercorn, while Hunan is all about the heat from dried chilies.

magical chinese herbal medicine
Prior to setting off, one of their guys went of and bought me 保濟丸 baojiwan, which is a Chinese herbal medicine that.. cures everything haha. It says it is for stomach aches, upset stomach, cramps, pains, cold, fever, chest pains etc etc. It listed at least 20 different things that it can be used for.

one serving
That one whole bottle... ONE SERVING. Smells exactly like Chinese medicine... but whatevers, at the time I have no Pepto, so no choice. The funny thing is... it actually worked! My stomach didn't hurt as much and I figured that this is a once in a lifetime chance to be eating some legit Hunan food, so as soon as I got to the restaurant, I went for it.

湘妃樓 Xiang Fei Lou
Heng Jiang 3rd Road
Huizhou City, Guangdong Province

wet napkins & logo
Xiang Fei Lou. Really popular restaurant in Huizhou. Many people that travels to this city ome here as one of the main stops. Funny thing about this restaurant is that on the outside it says "Absolutely no Japanese will be served." I guess his family suffered greatly under Japanese oppression back in the days so the owner refuses to serve Japanese patrons.

soy beans
They started off by giving us a few side dishes. Marinated soy bean. This was actually pretty damn spicy. Only ate 2 beans since I didn't want my stomach to go crazy already.

Seaweed. Yea. Spicy too.

lotus root soup
Lotus root soup. I haven't had lotus root soup in awhile so this was really refreshing.

spicy stir fry beef
Stir-fry Beef Skin. YES, beef skin. It's actually the part of the meat that's just before the cow hide so it has this weird crunchy texture for some pieces while some was like jerky. Extremely spicy...

Eggplant. I hate eggplant so I only took a bite. Still can't stand it.

spicy teppan glass noodle
This was my favorite dish: sour cabbage glass noodle. They take sour cabbage, stir fry it with glass noodle and all sorts of aromatics like garlic and chili, then plated on top of a teppan plate.

chinese sausage
Stir-fry chinese sausage. Very typical to order Chinese sausages for Hunan food.

fried fish
Fried fish in spicy sauce. Yea sorry for the horrible name but I don't know what kind of fish it is. I just know that it was specially imported from Hunan cause it's only eaten there or something. Has a real fishy taste so it's a freshwater fish, but the spicy sauce totally drowns it. Would be super good with rice.

red bean pancake
Ended the meal on something sweet, 紅豆餡餅 red bean crepe. At the restaurant they actually called it Indian nan. Semi-sweet red bean filling in between the crispy sheets of "crepe."

I was actually really surprised I went through the entire meal with me being food poisoned and all, but I did pay for it after a few hours. Of course I didn't eat much but I was glad I got to try it out.