The word “Hunan” has appeared in the names of Chinese restaurants in the United States, and in the names of dishes on their menus, for decades, without many Americans knowing what it meant exactly. Eateries with names like “Hunan Garden” and “Hunan Taste,” serving dishes like “Hunan pork,” have dotted the culinary landscape, but the actual cuisine of this province in south-central China, one of the most renowned in that country of 1.3 billion people, remains largely undiscovered ...

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