Four Regions of Chinese Cuisine

The world of Chinese food consists of more variety than most Americans realize. There are many different types of food in China that can be categorized roughly by four regions: Southern, Northern, Eastern and Western. Some information about each:

Southern, or Cantonese – The cuisine from this area is perhaps the most well known to Americans. Cantonese cuisine uses a large variety of vegetables and meats. Rice is the staple, and the familiar Fried Rice recipes are Cantonese in origin. Many of the dishes of this area are prepared very quickly by stir-frying. Usually Cantonese cuisine is lightly flavored, but there are a large variety of tastes used. Sweet and sour dishes originated in this region.And its taste and materials are famous too,it contains many ingreients,it can make people have an everlasting efffects on their mind. Cantonese cuisine originated from the areas of Guangdong Province and Hong Kong in southern China. Canton is an old port city that today is referred to as Guangzhou. Dim sum meaning touch the heart, the Chinese meal of small tidbits of food presented on roving carts, began in this region. Freshness is supreme to the Cantonese. Live fish and seafood are held in tanks just before being dispatched immediately for cooking. Cantonese sauces are mild and subtle so as to not overpower the freshness of the ingredients. Popular Cantonese dishes include steamed whole fish, crispy-skinned chicken, shark’s fin soup, and roast suckling pig.   Four Regions of Chinese Cuisine

Mandarin Cuisine— Northern, or Beijing – Also known as Mandarin cuisine, this type of food originated in the area of China that has very sever winters. The climate of this region does not allow for the growing of rice, so wheat is the staple. Wheat is made into noodles, pancakes and dumplings. The flavors of Northern China are more robust, with plenty of onion, garlic, cabbage, bean pastes, dark soy sauce and oyster flavored sauce. With influences from Mongolian and Muslim invaders in the past, Northern cuisine is hearty fare. Beijing (Peking) Duck, Mongolian Hot Pot and Mongolian Beef are some of the more familiar types of this cuisine.Mandarin cuisine is the food of the northern imperial courts of old Peking, known today as Beijing. In this region, wheat instead of rice is widely used, as is a pale leafy cabbage, known as Napa cabbage in America. The crepe like wraparound mu-shu pork and crispy Peking duck accompanied with steamed buns originated in this area. Mandarin cuisine, an elaborate style arising from the imperial days, is often intricately decorated with vegetables carved into flowers, animals, and designs. In another northern dish, Mongolian hot pot, diners cook their own meats and vegetables in a large boiling pot of flavorful broth at the table. Other popular Mandarin foods are pan-fried pot stickers, garlic and scallion Mongolian beef, and beggar’s chicken. Four Regions of Chinese Cuisine

Eastern, or Shanghai – This cuisine uses a combination of wheat and rice as its staples. Rice and wheat noodles are very popular. This region has a lot of rivers and other bodies of water, so fish and seafood are a very large part of the cuisine. Sugar is also grown in this area, and Shanghai cuisine uses more of it than the other regions. The cooking style of this region can be delicate and refined, with a large variety of sweet and savory pastries being made using the thinnest of pastry skin. Meatballs made from finely minced pork are also part of this cuisine. This area also produces a type of cured ham.The Shanghainese have mastered the arts of braising and stewing so full-bodied flavors commingle on the tongue. Generally considered the cuisine of China is southeastern region of Zhejiang Province, the sauces tend to be rich due to slow cooking techniques and reduction of sauces. The area is also known for preserving food by pickling vegetables and curing meats. Noodle products are heartier as in Shanghai noodles. The region is sherry-colored wine, Shao Xing, is exported worldwide and is an important ingredient in many dishes. Popular regional dishes are cold appetizer dishes such as drunken shrimp, and wine chicken, stewed “lion’s head” meatballs, sea cucumber with shrimp roe, and pickled greens with pork. Four Regions of Chinese Cuisine

Western, or Szechwan – Szechwan cuisine is famous for its use of tongue-blistering chili peppers in a variety of dishes. But there’s more to this cuisine than just heat. There are subtle dishes, such as smoked Chicken that is smoked with tea leaves. Szechwan pepper is also a spice used in this cuisine. Five-spice powder is another spice that is used in this cuisine. Hot and Sour soup and Twice Cooked Pork are familiar dishes from this area.

These four regions are only a broad guide to the remarkable, varied cuisine of China。 Four Regions of Chinese Cuisine

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