Hunan cuisine or Xiang cuisine is one of the 8 main cuisines in China. Similar to Sichuan province, it is comprised of hot and spicy food. There are many local delicacies, famous throughout China. Hunanese born Chairman Mao was noted to have said that the more chilli one consumes the more revolutionary they become! Desserts in Changsha tend to be honey flavoured and plentiful, especially in the many street markets. Among some of the best dishes are:
Changsha Stinky Tofu (臭chou豆dou腐fu): Arguably Changsha’s most famous street dish, the word stinky does not do it justice. However, should you be brave enough to try one of these fermented soybean cubes, you will find the taste a lot better than the smell!
Mao’s Braised Pork Belly(毛氏紅燒肉): This Hunanese version of braised pork dish gets its name from Chairman Mao himself. It is rumoured to have been a favourite dish of his, with only special pigs being selected for the dish as a result.
Three-Boxed Birds: Derived from stories of an ancient doctor’s headache remedy, this popular dish consists of a small sparrow inside a pigeon, inside a hen. It is then herbed and steamed for a long time.
Spicy beef With Chilli: You will often see this dish served in Changsha. It is comprised of tiny pieces of fried beef and several types of chilli pepper. It encompasses everything about Hunan cuisine in one delicious dish.
There are plenty of authentic cultural activities to witness in Changsha. The city is famous for its actors (with TV networks being based here), so you can expect dozens of traditional performances: drum and local opera, storytelling and acrobatics. Around city centre Wuyi Square you can find all the KTV’s, nightclubs and bars to contrast the more traditional culture. There really is something for everyone in this city. You can spend an evening strolling along the Xiang river, or take a boat cruise and admire the magnificent skyline. Equally beautiful are the views from the Changsha Ferris wheel, which provides breath-taking panoramas of Yuelu mountain and the city. For a really local experience, visit the Hunan opera in a night of vibrant Chinese entertainment.