Can you handle China’s spiciest fare?

4 Min Read

If you thought China’s Sichuan food was spicy, you haven’t tried Hunan cuisine yet.

It’s perhaps the spiciest cuisine in China, despite the commonly held belief that Sichuan holds the title.

The food of Hunan, a mountainous, landlocked province in the south of China, might still use Sichuan peppers, but it’s distinct from the Sichuan or Chongqing food to its west because it also incorporates hot and sour flavours, mostly expressed through chilli and vinegar, and is usually oilier.

Vinegar is key in this cuisine as it’s known to help you better detect the wide range of flavours from the many agricultural products of the region – opposed to just the pepper where the numbness can tend to overwhelm.

Spices of Hunan food at Little Hunan in Sydney.
Some of the main flavours that comprise Hunan food.

THE FOOD

What better way to indulge in this fiery cuisine in the Great Southern Land than at Little Hunan in Sydney’s CBD and the western suburb of Burwood.

Andrea: Check out our vibrant coloured cumin-filled lamb rib dish embellished with heaven facing chillies. It’s stir fried with even more spices like Sichuan pepper, cassia cinnamon, star anise and garlic, and bursts with onions and bright green shallots. 

Five Spice Lamb Ribs with Heaven-Facing Chillies at Little Hunan in Burwood.
Would you take a look at this.

I love the myriad of sensations of that the dish’s spices create, especially the tingling of the Sichuan pepper and the hotness of the chillis that electrify the earthy tones of the lamb.

Rex: In fact, there may be more spices than there are lamb ribs. This dish really wins with the adventure it takes you on through the intense flavours, rich colours and fresh aromas. 

Andrea: The star of our experience at Little Hunan is its pan-seared whole barramundi in Hunan chilli soy sauce. I’m in heaven with the vibrant flavours that perfectly match the vibrant colours. Look at this to see what I mean: 

Pan seared whole barramundi in Hunan chilli soy sauce at Little Hunan in Burwood, Sydney
A balance between Hanan flavours and Australian produce.

Rex: Hunan is known as the land of fish and rice, reflecting its proximity to both the ocean and lowlands that are primed for cultivating rice. Little Hunan cooks it using the traditional method of frying it in a wok. We can’t get enough of the zesty sauce. When we finish the fish, we continue scooping it onto our bowls of rice, trying to make the most of the spicy goodness.

Andrea: We get a plate of greens beans to give our banquet freshness and balance.

Rex: Usually I’m more partial to meat, but the blending of umami through the garlic, soy sauce, Chinese rice wine and a dash-of-sugar seasoning gives this dish some zing.

Andrea: Come to Little Hunan to experience what the province has long been famous for: it’s food.

Rex: This is a relaxed affair, great for a lunch on the weekend or a low-key dinner with your family and friends.

You can read more from Two Chat Food here or you can follow us on Instagram at @twochatfood.


Little Hunan | $
17 Goulburn St, Haymarket NSW

Opening hours
Mon-Sun: 11:30am-10:30pm

Little Hunan Burwood
232 Burwood Rd, Burwood NSW

Opening hours
Mon-Fri 11:30am-2:30pm, 5:00pm-9:30pm
Sat: 11:30am-9:30pm
Sun: 11:30am-9:15pm 

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