As China has an expansive territory and varied local cultures. Therefore, China has varied local cultures. The “Eight Great Cuisines” (Cantonese, Sichuan, Anhui, Shandong, Fujian, Jiangsu, Hunan and Zhejiang), along with Beijing cuisine and Xinjiang cuisine are among some of the most popular Chinese cuisines. There are unique features of each regional cuisine. For understanding China’s regional food, let us discuss 10 Chinese dishes, one from each region.
1. Cantonese Cuisine: Slow-Boiled Soup
The Guangdong Province is the place of origin of Cantonese cuisine. In the world, it is the most widely served style of Chinese cuisine. This cuisine is famous for its dim sum, congee and soup and the emphasis is given on mild flavours. Soup is a regular dish for Cantonese people as they like it very much.
A popular dish is ‘Slow-boiled Soup’, a clear broth made by simmering meat and other ingredients over low heat for several hours. As ingredients, Chinese medicines and herbs are used. This item is available in the best Chinese restaurant in Kolkata.
2. Beijing Cuisine: Roast Duck
The essence of cuisines from different cultures is absorbed in Beijing cuisine, a classic Chinese cuisine. Originating from the Emperor’s Kitchen in the Forbidden City, its imperial cuisine has made it famous. The use of strong seasonings is the characteristic of this cuisine.
An internationally famous dish of this cuisine is ‘Peking Roast Duck’. Till the colour of the duck becomes shining red, it is roasted. Crispy skin and tender texture are the characteristics of this food item.
3. Sichuan Cuisine: Kung Pao Chicken
The spicy and numbing flavour has made Sichuan cuisine internationally famous. Sichuan pepper and chilli peppers are widely used in it. The majority of dishes in this cuisine are cooked by fast-frying.
A traditional Sichuan dish is Kung Pao Chicken, made with chicken, chilli, Sichuan peppers, peanuts and vegetables. The flavour of the dish can be either spicy or mild and the chicken tastes tender and smooth. The famous Chinese restaurants in Kolkata serve this dish.
4. Hunan Cuisine: Numbing Spicy Chicken
The usage of spicy flavours and preserved ingredients is common in Hunan cuisine. It is spicier and not numbing compared to Sichuan cuisine. Seasonal ingredients are used in it.
A typical Hunan cuisine is ‘Numbing Spicy Chicken’ that tastes tender and spicy. It consists of chicken cubes cooked with red chilli peppers and scallions.
5. Jiangsu Cuisine: Sweet and Sour Mandarin Fish
A light and fresh taste is the characteristic of Jiangsu cuisine. The cutting techniques and elaborately shaped dishes have made it famous.
A typical Jiangsu dish with a fresh and delicious flavour is sweet and sour mandarin fish. The surface of the fish is crispy in taste and the middle portion is soft and tender. You should taste this dish when you go to an authentic Chinese restaurant.
6. Fujian Cuisine: Shark Fin Soup
Fresh seafood has made Fujian famous. Soup making is the speciality of this region and various kinds of seasonings are added in it.
A variety of shark fin soup in Fujian cuisine is ‘Fo tiao qiang’. The preparation time for it is three days. The usage of about 30 mostly high-class ingredients and its marine taste have made it famous.
7. Shandong Cuisine: Braised Intestines in Brown Sauce
One of the important components of Chinese culinary art is Shandong cuisine, which is the representative of northern China cookery. The various tastes of this cuisine are salty, fresh, tender, fragrant, crisp and sweet and sour. For its fresh seafood and its soups, it is famous.
A famous Shandong dish is ‘Braised Intestines in Brown Sauce’, which is made from pork intestines. It has a combination of sour, sweet, fragrant, spicy and savoury flavours, which gives it a delicious taste.
8. Zhejiang Cuisine: West Lake Fish in Vinegar Gravy
Freshness, tenderness, softness, and smoothness of the dishes have made Zhejiang cuisine famous. There is a mellow fragrance in the dishes and they are extremely elegant in appearance.
A famous Zhejiang cuisine is ‘West Lake Fish in Vinegar Gravy’, which has a sweet and sour flavour. The grass carp from West Lake in Hangzhou is used to prepare this dish. To keep the fish fresh and tender, the chefs cook it in a special method. This food item is listed on the menu of various Chinese restaurants.
9. Anhui Cuisine: Red-Braised Fermented Mandarin Fish
Saltness and freshness are the two main features of the flavour of Anhui cuisine. The original flavours and the nutrition of the ingredients are preserved in this cuisine. Braising and stewing rather than frying, are mainly used for cooking.
One of the signature dishes of Anhui cuisine is ‘Red-braised fermented Mandarin Fish’. A salted and pungent smell and a unique flavour have made this dish special.
10. Xinjiang Cuisine: Big Plate Chicken
Ethnic Muslim people live in Xinjiang and their food is halal. The roast mutton, kebabs, roast fish and rice are some popular food items of Xinjiang cuisine. The eating habit here is with hand.
A famous dish of Xinjiang cuisine is ‘Da pan ji’. It is actually a big plate of chicken stewed in a rich, spicy sauce with noodles, potatoes, onions, green bell peppers and chillies.