Hop on the grand express of history, diversity, and modern adaptations of Chinese cuisine which roots back to ancient times. The most popular “take-out” food anywhere in the world has marvellously blended into its local foreign origins. Chinese cuisine is far more than what the numerous around the corner “Chinese restaurants” have to offer.
And so we decided to give you a taste of the cuisine’s heritage and origins. Buckle up for a quick ride with eight tantalizing stops that will get you all obsessed of Chinese cuisine by the end of the tour.
Chinese cuisine map
1. Anhui cuisine
Further categorized into three styles: the Yangtze River region, Huai River region, and southern Anhui region, this Chinese cuisine is the wild flower of the eight! Wild herbs from across the lands and the depths of the sea are all braised and stewed to create authentic delicacies like “Li Hongzhang Hodge-Podge” – the salty sweet soup named after the famous Li Hongzhang statesman.
Fact: brace up your appetite this cuisine has pangolin and stone frog too.
2. Cantonese cuisine
The culinary style adopted by many around the world stirs itself on a range of sauces as an essential seasoning. The sauces brought in the sauté style of cooking; hoisin sauce, oyster sauce, plum sauce and sweet and sour sauce all aid in preserving and savouring the flavour. We have all tasted this culinary style one time or another for sure; Cantonese Fried Rice sure rings a bell, right!
Fact: “Ho sik”, “Ho ho may”, or “ho may doh” is what you say for delicious Cantonese food.
3. Fujian cuisine
Dating as far as 5000 years, and originating from South China the Fujian style is also categorized into three styles: Fuzhou (mixed sweet and sour taste), Western Fujian (mustard and pepper), and Southern Fujian (spicy and sweet). Its main focus is soup, and the classy style of cooking in red rice wine, “drunken”, including methods of frying and baking. “Buddha Jumps over the Wall” is the most epic named dish ever. It’s the chefs’ masterpiece of shark’s fin, sea cucumber, shaoxing wine and abalone.
Fact: Yanpi (translated “swallow skin”) is a thin wrapper used in dishes, and yes! It is totally edible made from lean minced pork
4. Hunan cuisine
“Land of fish and rice” is Hunan province’s tagline. The cuisine is a combo of North Chinese saltiness and South’s sweetness doing the salsa with a pinch of spice. Hunan cuisine is known for its pungent flavours of chili peppers, shallots and garlic. Rich in aromas, this fragrant style of cooking is well-known for stewed dishes amongst its techniques of pot-roasting, smoking and braising.
Fact: Yuanyang huoguo (translated “lovers’ hot pot”) is two sided pot of spicy and non-spicy food.
5. Jiangsu cuisine
The perfectly precise! Seasonal ingredients that are prepared with freshness, thick and light, but not greasy and thin texture are what the Jiangsu culinary is all about. Its notable styles include Nanjing style (fine cutting techniques), Yangzhou style (freshwater fish and seafood), and the Suzhou style (original design). The exquisite fine cooking cuisine specializes with duck dishes. “Farewell My Concubine” is a soft-shelled turtle stewed dish with a wine.
Fact: The popular dish “Lion’s head braised with crab-powder” is actually sunflower shaped flavoured meat made to look like a lion’s head.
6. Shandong cuisine
The most popular of all the eight, it reflects the Jiaodong style (seafood with light tastes) and Jinan style (use of soup in the dishes). This distinct cuisine includes seafood from scallops, clams, to squid and ingredients like corn and peanuts. Bao technique and Pa technique are amongst its 30 different cooking techniques.
Fact: “Eight Immortals Crossing Sea teasing Arhats” is a sumptuous starter where the eight immortals are fin, sea pumpkin, abalone, asparagus, prawns and ham.
7. Szechuan cuisine
The Miss Hot of the eight cuisines has seven bold flavours: sour, pungent, hot, sweet, bitter, aromatic, and salty. The Sichuan pepper is the uniqueness of this Chinese cuisine. It is divided into five styles: sumptuous banquet, ordinary banquet, popularised food, household-style food, and food snacks. Pickling, salting, and drying are Szechuan’s culinary techniques. Kung Pao Chicken and Tea smoked duck are well known Szechuan dishes.
Fact: Sichuan culinary lingoà zha = deep-fry, chao/bian = stir- fry, jian = pan- fry.
8. Zhejiang cuisine
This traditional Chinese cuisine coming from the “land of milk and honey” (Zhejiang province) is divided into three styles based on its origins, Hangzhou style (uses bamboo shoots), Shoaxing style (poultry and freshwater fish), and Ningbo style (seafood and salty dishes). It is a non-greasy, fresh styled food that concentrates on the moderations and duration of cooking. The famous dish Dongo Pork is fried pork belly in wine.
Fact: The story behind its traditional Hangzhou dish “West-lake braised fish in vinegar” is that once a lady braised a fish in vinegar and sugar to serve it to her ill brother-in-law who immediately recovered after eating it. This story travelled to the emperor and since then the recipe had gotten its fame.
Take a chance to travel across China through its diverse cuisine with a glorious menu Grand Tour of China by private chef Benson Tong. It is all set to give you an enticing tour of China with the luxury of a sumptuous in home dining experience. No need for tickets or luggage packing!