Hunan cuisine is a type of Chinese cuisine that is commonly referred to as Xiang cuisine, as it consists of cuisines from the Xiang river region including Dongting Lake and western Hunan Province.
Hunan cuisine is one of the eight great traditions of Chinese cuisine and is known for its spicy, hot flavors, and is thus commonly compared to Szechuan cuisine. Hunan cuisine and Szechuan cuisine do share many things in common as both cuisines are known for their fiery cooking, which can be seen through their common use of chili peppers in many of their dishes.
In addition to chili peppers, Hunan cuisine also uses garlic and shallots and is considered a “dry hot” or just purely hot type of cuisine, which is what sets it apart from Szechuan cuisine.
Hunan cuisine is quite an oily cuisine and uses many smoked and cured ingredients in its dishes. Additionally, Hunan cuisine is a very seasonal cuisine, and its menu changes with the seasons.
Common examples of Hunan cuisine are orange beef, dong’an chicken and dry-wok chicken.