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Anhui is a province of the People's Republic of China. Located in eastern China across the basins of the Yangtze River and the Huaihe River, it borders Jiangsu to the east, Zhejiang to the southeast, Jiangxi to the south, Hubei to the southwest, Henan to the northwest, and Shandong for a tiny section in the north. The capital of the province is Hefei.
The name "Anhui" derives from the names of two cities in south Anhui, Anqing and Huizhou (now Huangshan City). The abbreviation for Anhui is "WÇŽn", because there were historically a State of Wan, a Mount Wan, and a Wan river in the province.
The province of Anhui was formed in the seventeenth century. Before then, there was no coherent concept of "Anhui". Northern Anhui was firmly a part of the North China Plain in terms of culture, together with modern-day Henan province. Central Anhui constituted most of the fertile and densely-populated Huai He River watershed. Southern Anhui, along the Yangtze, was closer to Hubei and southern Jiangsu provinces in culture. Finally, the hills of southeastern Anhui formed a unique and distinct cultural sphere of its own. The creation of the province of Anhui has not eroded these distinctions.
Anhui spans many geographical and cultural regions. The northern, flatter parts of the province, along the river Huai He and further north, are most akin to neighbouring provinces like Henan and Shandong. In contrast, the southern, hilly parts of the province are more similar in culture and dialect to other southern, hilly provinces, like Zhejiang and Jiangxi.
Mandarin dialects are spoken over the northern and central parts of the province. Dialects to the north (e.g. Bengbu dialect) are classified as Zhongyuan Mandarin, together with dialects in provinces such as Henan and Shandong; dialects in the central parts (e.g. Hefei dialect) are classfied as Jianghuai Mandarin, together with dialects in the central parts of neighbouring Jiangsu province. Non-Mandarin dialects are spoken in the south: dialects of Wu are spoken in Xuancheng prefecture-level city, though these are rapidly being replaced by Jianghuai Mandarin; dialects of Gan are spoken in a few counties in the southwest bordering Jiangxi province; and the Huizhou dialects are spoken in about ten counties in the far south, a small but highly diverse and unique group of Chinese dialects.
Huangmei opera or Huangmei tone originated as a form of rural folksong and dance that has been in existence for the last 200 years and possibly longer. The music is performed with a pitch that hits high and stays high for the duration of the song. It is unique in the sense that it does not sound like the typical rhythmic Chinese opera. In the 1960s Hong Kong counted the style as much as an opera as it was a music genre.
About the only thing certain is that this art came from China. It became a part of the operatic genre at the Anqing region of southwestern Anhui province. It first appeared as a simple drama of song and dance at the Huangmei county in the Lanyang plateau in southeastern Hubei province a hundred years ago before it became the operatic form with costumes and additional roles. The music was simple and short.
Hui cuisine, the shortened term of Anhui cuisine, is also called Wan cuisine. It is one of the eight famous cuisines of China. The Anhui flavor consists mainly of the dishes of South Anhui, the coastal areas of the Yangtze River and those of the Hui River, with the cuisine of South Anhui serving as the representative style.
She County, at the foot of Huang Mountain, the world famous tourist resort, is the home of South Anhui cuisine. The cuisine of the coastal areas of the Yangtze River refers to the local dishes of Hefei, Fuhu and Anqing while the cuisine of coastal areas of the Hui River is made up of the local flavors of Bangbu, Suxian and Fuyang.
Anhui cuisine is known for its use of wild game and herbs, both land and sea, and simple methods of preparation. Braising and stewing are common techniques. Frying and stir-frying are used much less frequently in Anhui cuisine than in other Chinese culinary traditions. Anhui cuisine consists of three styles: Yangtze River region, Huai River region, and southern Anhui region.
Stewed soft shell turtle with ham
One whole soft shell turtle, pork, ham, bamboo shoots, a clove of garlic, shallot, ginger, soy sauce, salt, rice wine, black pepper, lard are all stewed together in a pot on charcoal fire. The dish is not greasy and can lead diners to endless aftertastes.
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