Zhejiang cuisine is known as one of the major eight schools of cooking in China, offers combined flavors of Hangzhou, Ningbo and Wenzhou. Of the three sub-cuisine traditions, Ningbo cuisine is noted for seafood, for its special flavor and taste, careful selection of ingredients, and its unique, fresh and tender tastes. To obtain the natural flavor and taste of the cooking materials, Ningbo has its special ways of quick-frying, stir-frying, deep-frying, simmering and steaming, and special care is taken in the cooking process to make the food fresh and tender. The representative Ningbo dishes are Crystal Sugar Stewed Turtle, Dry Fried River Ell, and many others.
Top Ten Ningbo Dishes
Crystal Sugar Turtle (Bingtang Jiayu)
Crystal Sugar Turtle, the number one of Ningbo top ten dishes, is also known as "Number One Scholar Turtle". Legend goes that in the Qing Dynasty, a candidate for the imperial examination was on his way to the capital for the court examination and during his stay in Ningbo, he ate this dish in a small restaurant and felt the dish was extremely tasty. When he asked for the name of the dish, the manager of the restautant, to express his good wish for the success of the customer, replied that the dish was called "Number One Scholar Turtle". Story goes that the scholar was a great success in the examination and became the Number One Scholar of the year. Thinking the it was the dishes that he ate in Ningbo that had brought him the luck, he came back and named the dish "Number One Scholar Turtle" and the restaurant "Number One Restaurant. Thus the dish has become well known far and wide.
The dish is golden in color, tasty and nutritious.
Dry Fried River Ell (Guoshao Manyu)
Ningbo has lots of rivers and lakes, and thus is abound in river ells.
The cooking of the dish is a complicated and skillful process: prepare a 0.5 kg ell, cook it soft, remove the bones, and fried it with spices. The prepared dish should be perfect in shape, golden in color, fresh and slightly sweet in taste.
Yellow Croaker with Sea Cucumber (Huangyu Haishen)
This nutritious dish is made of yellow croaker and sea cucumber. To prepare the dish, select a fresh yellow croaker, steam it and remove the bones, then cook it with slices of sea cucumber with seasonings. The dish is perfect for going with wine.
Fried Lichen Cubes (Taicai Xiaofangkao)
This dish is made of fried slices of pork belly and lichen slices with seasonings of Shaoxing wine, sauce, red preserved bean curd and sugar. For its nice shape and color, this disk well stimulates appetite and is best served to go with wine .
Goose Liver Fried with Veil Fat (Wangyou Bao'e'gan)
With a history of over 2000 years, this delicious and nutritious dish is prepared with fried goose liver with seasonings of spices, chopped scallion pieces, and paper powder.
Yellow Croaker Fried with Lichen (Taicai Tuo Huangyu)
This dish with unique Ningbo local flavor is made of fried yellow croaker with lichen powder, best served with vinegar.
Fried Yellow Croaker with Bean Curd Sheet (Fupi Bao Huangyu)
This unique Ningbo dish should be prepared with a very skillful cook though the process looks simple: wrap croakers with bean curd sheets, cut it into blocks and fry them until they turn golden. This dish is best enjoyed with vinegar.
Ningbo-style Ricefield Eel Slices (Ningbo Shansi)
This unique dish is cooked with fresh ricfield eel slices with ginger slices, Shaoxing wine, sauce and other spices.
Steamed Chicken in Soup (Huozhong Quanji)
To prepare this nutritious dish, select a homebred hen, keep livers and heart in the belly, cook it for a while and steam it with slices of mushroom, edible tree fungi and bamboo shoots.
Great Croaker with Pickled Cabbage (Xucai Dahuangyu)
This dish is of unique Ningbo local flavor, prepared with fried fresh great yellow croaker and cooked with pickled potherb mustard a special local vegetable and other seasonings.