Steamed Wuchang Fish – a flagship of Hubei cuisine

Steamed Wuchang Fish

Steamed Wuchang Fish (清蒸武昌鱼) is a traditional delicacy hailing from Hubei Province. This dish typically features fresh Wuchang fish as the primary ingredient, accompanied by winter mushrooms, winter bamboo shoots, and seasoned with chicken broth, resulting in a silky and tender texture with a delightful fragrance and freshness.

Also known as “tuantou fang,” Wuchang fish is named after Liangzi Lake in Ezhou, characterized by its small head, high body, flat face, thick back, and diamond-shaped profile, boasting succulent and flavorful flesh owing to its rich fat content. Its prominence dates back to the year 265 AD, during the Eastern Wu dynasty, when the last emperor Sun Hao contemplated moving the capital from Jianye to Wuchang. Advised by the prime minister Lu Kai, who famously said, “I would rather drink the water of Jianye than eat the fish of Wuchang,” Wuchang fish gradually gained recognition.

In 1957, Mao Zedong’s poem “Swimming” was published, featuring the line “Just tasted the Wuchang fish after drinking Changsha water,” further piquing people’s interest in Wuchang fish. In 1965, Wuchang fish was officially recognized as a local specialty dish of Hubei Province, cementing its status as a flagship cuisine of Hubei cuisine.

As culinary techniques evolved over time, the preparation of Wuchang fish has seen continuous refinement and innovation. From traditional methods to contemporary techniques including steaming, braising, netting, and stir-frying, steamed Wuchang fish stands out for its unique appeal. The finished dish presents a complete fish with a bright and lustrous appearance akin to jade. Adorned with red, white, and black ingredients, it exudes an elegant and vibrant aesthetic. The flesh of the fish is succulent and flavorful, while the broth is clear and pristine, capturing the essence of the fish with its refreshing and fragrant taste. Served with ginger shreds and sesame oil, it tantalizes the senses with its delightful aroma.

Steamed Wuchang Fish is not just a culinary delight; it encapsulates the rich cultural heritage and gastronomic traditions of Hubei Province, inviting diners to savor a taste of history and experience the essence of local cuisine.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *