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Eating in China

 

One could go on and on about the culinary delights of China. China’s great food has earned world wide recognition. With its diverse landscape and dense population, you don’t have to go far before finding completely different cuisines. Chinese gastronomic delights run the gamut of the taste spectrum and it is impossible to taste them all. The bestknown regional cuisines come from 8 provinces in China: Canton, Hunan, Fujian, Sichuan, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Shangdong and Anhui.

 

Cantonese Cuisine: drawing from a wide array of ingredients, epicures are constantly amazed by the never-ending repertorie of Cantonese food, which emphasis is placed on dishes that are fresh, tender, refreshing, smooth. Seasoning is designed according to the five tastes (fragrant, fluffy, zesty, succulent, strong ) and six flavours (sour, bitter, sweet, savory, spicy, flavoursome ). This cuisine uses a variety of cooking techniques including pan-fry, deep-fry, braise, broil and stir-fry. The food is presented with colourful aplomb and while it may be smooth and soft, it is never heavy.

 

Hunan cuisine: with a wide variety of ingredients, it can be oily and colourfuol. Chills and smoked meats are often used, this dictates that the resulting in cuisine that is big on tastefragrant, hot and sour, complemented by soft and tender textures. Cooking methods include: smoked, braise, steam, stew, deep-fry, stir-fry.

 

Fujian cuisine: This region is known for its fresh and delicate flavors as well as eye-pleasing presentation. Favourite cooking methods include: stir-fry, quick-fry, panfry and braise, especially the wine-marinade method.

 

Sichuan Cuisine: strong flavors characterize this cuisine. Whether sour, sweet, ma (numbing), spicy hot, or fragrant, this food is distinguished by the clever use of spices, especially the essential Trio of peppers, being: chili peppers, black pepper and Sichuan pepepr. Fresh ginger is also heavily used. Hot Sichuan dishes’ distenctive flavor draws wide appeal. The cuisine really lives up to its sensational reputation, according to the expression “for a hundred dishes there are as many different flavours”. These complex taste sensations are created by adding more spices and herbs on the basis of the five flavours: spicy, salty, sweet, ma or mouth-numbing and sour.

Jiangsu Cuisine: its subtle characteristics can be hard to place-there is lightness in the heavy dishes, the stews are deliciously tender and flavorsome, retaining the ingredients’ natural juices, seasoned to be mild on the palate, with a hint of sweetness in the savory dishes. This cuisine specialises in stewing, simmering, poaching and stir-frying. Jiangsu cuisine is known for its harmonious use of colours in presentation, as welll as its light and delicate taste, brought out by intricate knife-work and rich flavours.

 

Zhejiang Cuisine: This style is light, fragrant,crisp, tender, tasty, fresh. Zhejiang is not only a large producer of aquatic products, but as a scenic province highly popular among tourists. Its cuisine is as enchanting to the eye as the palate, so reminiscent of the gorgeous scenery that one almost can not bear eating the masterpiece. Zhejiang food is often cook by stir-fry, deep-fry, poach, saute, steam and stew.

 

Shandong Cuisine: This region is known for the delicate aromas, melt-in-your-mouth texture and pure wholesome flavours. Its forte lies in the preparation of stock and white sauce. Perfect stock is clear and sublimely fragrant, while white sauce is flavoursome without being heavy. The cooking methods used are quick-frying, stew, deep-fry and stir-fry.

 

Anhui Cuisine: This unique cuisine is deft in its selection of ingredients and perfect timing in execution. It may be big on oil and soy sauce, but the rich and heavy flavours that enhance the ingredients’ natural taste. What makes Anhui cuisine special is its strength in cooking game and seafood, especially by braising, simmering and stewing.

Aside from the major cuisines, wherever you go in China there are numerous delicacies and unique snacks to be found. After one taste, many visitors are hooked, certainly adding a yummy-factor to and China Experience.

 

Not only restaurants serve up gastronomic masterpieces, just about every Chinese family has its own secret recipes and speciality menus. In the north, people cook with more salt and dishes tend to be more heavily coloured; while the southerners have a lighter plate, with a penchant for sweetness, lighter coloured and less salty dishes. The fiery taste of chilis and Sichuan pepper combines with sour flavours to create unique spicy sensations in the provinces of Hunan and Sichuan. Pork is widely eaten in China, but those living along the coastline may prefer seafood. Being a multi cultural society, China is home to many different ethnic groups. Some groups may eat only lamb and beef for cultural and religious reasons. In terms of staple food, the Chinese northerners’ diet is based on wheat flour: steamed bun, dumplings, noodles,filled buns, roasted pancakes, corncakes, fried dough sticks, etc. In contrast, in the south, the diet relies heavily on rice products such as millet, brown rice, black rice, glutinous rice, etc.

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