Since Zhangjiajie is situated in the northwest part of Hunan Province, Zhangjiajie cuisine is a combination of Hunan style and Tujia ethnic minority cuisine. Hunan cuisine is characterized as strong and spicy; the chefs here even use more chili than Sichuan cuisine. The main cooking techniques are sauteing, braising, stir-frying, steaming and stewing. Besides, Tujia cuisine is sour and spicy. There are three main kinds of sour foods: sour vegetables (sour cabbages, sour eggplant, etc.), sour meat (the most famous one is Sour Fish), and sour cereal. The ethnic people prefer smoking, baking and charcoal fire heating to preserve the foods for a long time.

 

Zhangjiajie Mixed Pot (San Xia Guo)

The history of San Xia Guo can be dated back to 1555 (during the Ming dynasty) when there was a war between Ming army and Japanese enemies. Chinese soldiers were afraid that they could not come back to their hometown after the war, so they decided to celebrate their last spring with their relatives. However, they did not have enough time to have a big party; hence San Xia Guo was invented. The food was really simple: three ingredients were fried together (‘San’ means three and ‘Xia Guo’ means together). At that time, only bacon, tofu and radish were used.

Today, the ingredients can be changed upon guests’ request. You can choose your favorite vegetables and meat. This traditional Tujia food can be found in local restaurants and street vendors.

 

Zhangjiajie Tujia Bacon

There is a tradition in Zhangjiajie that the pork is usually smoked at the end of the year. The smoking process is a painstaking task that requires a lot of skills from the cook. The pork is cut and then marinated with salt and many other spices. After four to six days, the meat is slowly dried with smoke. The cook has to control the fuel so that the meat is not sour nor tough. After this process, this pork can be preserved for six months.

 

Hot and spicy chicken

The chicken cubes are stir-fried with pepper, vinegar and rice wine to create a spicy taste. The dish is appetizing with beautiful golden color.

She Meal

Tujia ethnic people celebrate a special ‘She Day’ in the second lunar month annually. On that day, a ‘She Meal’ is prepared with glutinous rice, preserved ham, and a local vegetable called Hao. This is a cannot-miss dish for your Zhangjiajie dish.

Duojiao Yutou

Zhangjiajie is known as ‘a land of fish and rice’, so enjoying a fish dish is a cannot-miss part of your Zhangjiajie trip. Duojiao Yutou is a fish steaming dish. It is spicy with local red pepper.

Most famous restaurants in Zhangjiajie

  • Shan Gui Zhai: across from the Tujia Cate City in Lao Beimen Area
  • Laowu Yutou: in Sanjiaoping Area
  • Tongda Restaurant: on the first floor of Tongda International Hotel in Yongding Da Dao
  • Qiannian Waguan Soup Restaurant: Daqiao Bei Road (near Ziwu Road) in Yongding District
  • Wulingyuan Hotel Restaurant:192 Wuling Avenue, Wulingyuan District
  • Tang Tujia Restaurant: Wuling Avenue, Wulingyuan District
  • Wulong Shanzhai: 2/F, Xinhua Tiancheng Golden Street, Yongding District
  • Xiangzhong Family Restaurant: B 20, Xintiandi, Biaozhi Gate, Wulingyuan District
  • Hu Restaurant: 897 Ziwu Road, Yongding District