Brief of Fried Eel Slices
Fried Eel Slices has gained much fame in Hangzhou. As the name suggests, this dish is prepared out of eel slices. It applies the cooking method prevailing in the northern China by stir-frying eel slices with garlic, which is a typical example of “cooking ingredients of the southern China with the cooking method of the northern”. Eel slices cooked in this way combines the intoxicating fragrance of the garlic with the tender texture of eels, which is of unique flavor. In recent years, renowned chefs in Hangzhou has developed their own way to cook the dish, that is, to deep fry eel slices until partially cooked and then to braise the dish lightly to gain a soft “skin”. Hangzhou’s version of Fried Eel Slices features appetizing smell, sour and sweet flavor, and is crisp outside but tender inside, catering to every taste.
Eels are also called “yellow eels”. Most of them grow in the south of the Yangtze River of China. With few thorns, much meat and a high content of histidine,eels are of high nutritional value and also a favorite on the dining table. .
People love to eat eels also due to their medicinal values. It is alleged that in the Eastern Han Dynasty (184-220) a physician named Hua Tuo (华佗141-203, renowned as “Medical Sage” in Chinese history, was sentenced to death by Cao Cao(曹操，155-220, a great politician, militarist, literati and calligrapher, the founder of the Wei State ,but with a paranoid and violent personality).Before Hua Tuo’s death, Tuo felt restless that his leechcraft could not be passed down. Seeing this, a kind gaoler agreed to help Hua Tuo bring one of his medical books to Tuo’s wife. Unluckily this had been uncovered by Cao Cao. Finally the gaoler was killed and Tuo’s medical book was burnt to ashes. These ashes were dumped into paddy fields and happened to be eaten by eels. It turned out that the eels having eaten the ashes led a long life. Therefore, people believed that eating eels can prevent diseases and disasters.
Although this is only a legend, eels truly have the function of tonifying Qi(气: Qi is an important theory in Traditional Chinese medicine , referring to vital energy in Western philosophy), nourishing the blood, liver and kidney, reinforcing strength, warming spleen and curing rheumatism etc. Chinese people hold that eels are most nutritious one month after the Tomb-sweeping Day. At that time, eels are, bulky, sturdy and tasty. In terms of this, there comes a saying“Eels in the Lesser Heat(小暑，the 11th solar term according to the Chinese Lunar Calendar ) is even better than ginseng”.