How Much Do You Know About Chinese Cuisine?
If you live in Europe or in other Western countries, you may be familiar with some Chinese dishes that you can find at your local restaurants such as spring rolls, spicy tofu, egg-fried rice, dumplings, Peking duck, wonton soup… However, this is quite a restricted idea of what Chinese cuisine actually is.
Chinese cuisine history dates back thousands of years, and it certainly has evolved with time. This region has a rich and diverse cooking culture with different styles, ingredients, and techniques that vary from region to region. To be exact, there are eight different culinary cuisines in this wide country.
In the Western part of the world, we are most commonly familiar with the cuisine of the Cantonese region, from Guangdong, due to the emigrants that moved to the United States of America and Europe in the 1800s and that brought their cooking culture with them. People from this region tend to cook with fresh seafood and rice, and frequently use techniques such as stir-frying and steaming. To make a Cantonese-inspired recipe, we recommend you visit successrice.com/recipes/easy-shrimp-fried-rice/ to try this country’s delicious shrimp fried rice at home.
As we mentioned before, there are other culinary cuisines apart from Cantonese, and today we wish to introduce you to the lesser-known cuisines to expand your knowledge of this incredible country, its ingredients, techniques, and popular dishes.
Which are the lesser-known culinary cuisines of China?
As you may know, China is a vast and large country, and it has plenty of cooking methods, flavors, and ingredients depending on the province, which lead to the formation of different cuisines. There are eight popular cuisines in China, each of them corresponding to a different province: Anhui cuisine, Shandong cuisine, Jiangsu cuisine, Zhejiang cuisine, Fujian cuisine, Cantonese cuisine, Hunan cuisine, and Sichuan cuisine.
Today, we will dive a little bit deeper into the least known among Western countries to expand your knowledge of this amazing country.
This cuisine is derived from the cooking styles of the people located in the Huangshan Mountains. In this region, you will be able to find salty, fresh, light flavors with a wide variety of herbs and vegetables from the sea and land as well. People from the Anhui province prefer hams and cooking methods such as braising, steaming, and stewing. Among their preferred dishes you can find stewed bamboo shoots, stewed soft-shelled turtle with ham, braised palm civet, and fried tofu,
In this northern coastal province of China, there are two predominant styles: soups and light seafood dishes. The flavors you can find are umami, salty, sweet, and sour. Scallions, ginger, and garlic are used in almost every dish. It is also referred to as Lu Cuisine, which originated around the year 700 BC. These dishes pay close attention to the natural taste of their ingredients. Some notable dishes are braised sea cucumber with scallions, braised intestines in brown sauce, caramel sweet potato, omelet chicken slices, braised prawns, and steamed tofu.
In this province, representative of the South of China, food is known for being slightly sweet, umami, and a mild taste. This region’s main ingredients are river and sea fishes, and their signature dishes are Nanjing salted duck, sweet and sour mandarin fish, stewed tortoise and chicken, fried rice, port trotter, and mutton in the fish maw.
The foods in this province are typically light and fresh rather than oily. Their dishes are known for their appearance; chefs prefer fresh foods such as fish and seasoned vegetables. Their cooking methods vary from frying to steaming.
Notable dishes are fried shrimp, sliced lotus root, braised bamboo shoots, steamed pork with rice flour, west lake fish in vinegar gravy, and dong pork.
This province is also influenced by its coastal location and its mountains. Woodland mushrooms, bamboo shoots, fish, shellfish, and turtles are among the most popular ingredients consumed by its inhabitants. We are talking about a fresh, light cuisine that uses delicacies and seafood. Common seasonings include red vinasse, vinegar, and sugar.
Among its most famous dishes you can find braised sea clam with chicken soup, sweet and sour litchis, oyster omelet and Buddha jumps over the wall, which is a shark fin soup.