A number of different cooking styles are prevalent in China, out of which a few culinary traditions have been identified by Chinese chefs as the best. Each of these traditions has an individual style and distinct taste. A few dishes from these cuisines have become popular in many good Chinese restaurants in Kolkata.
Savory and appetizing, this cuisine follows the technique of slow braising and adds a number of ingredients like scallions, shallots, and garlic. Among the various Chinese cuisines, Shandong is the oldest and was once considered the most desired cuisine in the royal court. Owing to Shandong’s close proximity to the ocean, most of its famous dishes include seafood as the primary ingredient.
Commonly referred as “Szechuan”, this is perhaps the only cuisine which is so widely popular outside of China. It is mostly identified with bold flavors and a patent spicy taste. A few common ingredients which are used in Szechuan dishes in most Chinese restaurants in Kolkata include garlic, pepper, peanuts, and ginger. One of the unique elements of this cuisine is its use of peppercorns in abundance, which creates a numbing and stinging sensation in the mouth.
Having originated in the temperature regions of China in cities like Nanjing, Suzhou and Yang Zhou, this cuisine is known for its balanced approach to taste. Its flavors are mostly sweet and salty, soothing and gentle to the stomach. In literal terms, the word “hóng shāo” means “red braised”, which is a cooking process prevailing in this region. It leads to a sweet and savory, caramelized flavor.
Just like Sichuan cuisine, this particular cuisine is also known for its hot and spicy flavours and is very popular in many well-known Chinese restaurants in Kolkata like Chowman. The spicy flavor is achieved through dried chillies which also give a bright red colour to the dishes. A number of popular dishes such as Crispy Duck have originated from Hunan.
Popularly known as Cantonese cuisine worldwide, the Guangdong chefs make sure to use only the freshest of ingredients in order to create a clean and light dish that portrays natural flavors. Guangdong cuisine is generally sweeter in taste in comparison to other cuisines, following cooking techniques such as stewing and braising.