Fujian's fragrant feast
A platter of Fujian traditional snacks.[Photo provided to China Daily]
As the popularity of regional cuisines heats up, a once-unappreciated tradition discovers fresh confidence, Li Yingxue reports.
Having just finished a day's work at his newly opened Fujian restaurant in Beijing, head chef Hong Zhixiong hopped on a plane to Xiamen in Fujian province in search of the freshest ingredients.
Early the following morning, Hong returned to Beijing on a three-hour flight, bringing with him carefully selected ingredients.
At lunch, the table was awash with exquisite Fujian dishes made from the ingredients he had brought back. "They still carry the Fujian morning dew and the fragrance of the soil from Wuyi Mountain," Hong says.
"Fujian cuisine is known for its fresh flavors, but this freshness doesn't come from seasonings, it's the result of blending mountain and sea delicacies, to create a complex and delicate flavor," he explains.
With decades of experience in the culinary industry and a holder of the title of "Master of Fujian Cuisine" that is awarded by the Fujian Culinary Association, Hong has both the innate sensitivity Fujian natives have for food and his accumulated understanding of the characteristics of different Fujian ingredients. He is committed to serving authentic Fujian flavors to Beijing diners.
Despite being one of China's eight major culinary traditions, Fujian cuisine is not as widely known as Sichuan or Cantonese cuisine. In recent years, more chefs like Hong have ventured beyond the province, exploring the essence of their traditional cuisine while incorporating innovative elements, with the aim of introducing this historically rich, seafood-centric cuisine to a broader audience.