While weighing up the immensity of China, it is worth recalling that this is a land simply obssessd with food. Food plays a central and prominent role in the both Chinese society and the national psyche. Wrok, play, rommance, busines and the family all revolve around the food. Meals are occasions to clinch deals, strike up new friendships, rekindle old ones and fall in love. “Have you eaten yet” is a commen greeting when people meets. All you need to fully explore this tasty domain is a pair of chopsticks, an explorative palate and passion for the delicous food. So first step is to know the eight cuisines in China.
There are eight kinds of cuisines in China which include Yue (Guangdong), Chuan (Sichuan), Lu (Shangdong), Min (Fujian), Su (Jiangsu), Xiang (Hunan) and Zhe (Zhejiang ) cuisines.
Yue cuisine is very popular in Guangdong provice and features light and mellow flavor. Guangdong abounds with the source of animals and plants so nearly all kinds of creatures can be cooked and served for people. Not to mention the wild fowls and animals, cats, dogs, rats, turtles, and even the tylorrhynchus which are strange to common people are listed in the cooks’ recipe. The dim sum of Yue cuisine is very popular among foodies. Dim sum is a Cantonese term for small hearty dishes. These bite-sized portion use the tradional cooking method such as frying, steaming, baking and stewing. The Cantonese style of dining, yum cha, is the combination of varoius kinds of dim sum with the drinking of tea.
Chuan cusine is famous for its pungency and spiciness and favored across China by people. The predominant ingredient in food is chili or pepper. The food materials are great in variety including poultry, pork, beef, vegetables and tofu. Although the Chuan cusine can be tasted in every corner of China, the most authentic Chuan cuisine still can be found in Sichuan area and Chongqing.
Lu is short for Shandong so Shandong cuisine is commonly and simply known as Lu cuisine. It is also one of traditional four great cuisines in China and can represent the food culture in Yellow River area. Its cooking method has great effect on the cuisines of Beijing, Tianjin, northestern China. Shandong cuisine is featured by a variety of cooking techniques and seafood. The typical dishes on local menu are braise abalone, braised trepang, sweet and sour carp.
Min cuisine is local Fujian cuisine. It was gradually formed on the basis of the fusion of Han and local old Yu enthnic cultures. After long-term contact with southeast Asians, their food customs also affect the local dining habits in Fujian. Slicing techniques are valued in the cuisine and a way to enhance the flavor, aroma and texture of seafood and other foods. The food is often served in soup or broth with cooking method of boiling, steaming and braising.
Su cuisine or Jiangsu cuisine is composed of local styles of Yangzhou, Nanjing, Suzhou and Zhejiang dishes. It is very famous in the world for its distinctive flavor and styles. It features variety of food material, delicate slicing, diverse cooking methods and elegant styles. Jiangsu is reputated as the Land of Fish and Rice so fish and crabs are favored by people here.
Xiang or Hunan cuisine is known for its hot spicy flavor, fresh aroma and deep color. The cooking methods include stewing, steaming, stir-frying and smoking.
Zhe or Zhejiang cuisine consists of local styles of Hangzhou, Ningpo and Shaoxing but Hangzhou local cuisine is best known. The dishes of Zhe cuisine are fresh, soft flavor with a mellow fragrance but not greasy. The most famous dishes are West Lake Vinegar Fish and Dongpo Pork.