Introduction to Chinese Cuisine
Have you traveled to the Great Wall of China? If yes, then there is no doubt that the country’s intriguing culture must have encapsulated you.
China, also called the People’s Republic of China, is one of the largest and the most populous countries in the entire world. The country has a fascinating history filled with dynasties and reformations. Apart from the monuments, the country is famous for its exceptionally unique food culture. Do you want to try out Chinese cuisine? Then, you must be aware of some fundamentals.
In this blog, I have done in-depth research and articulated all the important information regarding Chinese cuisine in one place. Discover more below!
Chinese Food Culture
With a long history, the Chinese food culture has evolved greatly with time. It forms an integral part of the country.
Upon detailed examination, one could see that the Chinese food revolves around three significant factors, which includes color, taste, and fragrance. A Chinese table can have an assortment of plain as well as colorful dishes.
The Chinese chef plays immense importance in the usage of herbs and spices that can give the dish a distinct aroma and flavor. They use unique cooking methods to bring out the uniqueness of each dish. You’ll find that although the Chinese recipes use similar ingredients, each one has its different properties.
Moreover, the Chinese have an intriguing eating tradition as well. For example, the youth should not start eating before the elders. And, if a senior has taken out the food for a youngster, then he/she should thank them. Also, keeping knives on the table gets considered bad.
The people must not wave their chopsticks in the air or play with them. Also, when eating anything, they should place their chopsticks vertically in the bowl as it resembles their funeral tradition of putting chopsticks vertically in a bowl of rice. They should not also hold a bowl from the bottom as it resembles begging.
Initially, Chinese cuisine has four primary cuisine divisions, including Chuan, Lu, Yue, and Huaiyang. These four divisions represent the cuisines of West, North, South, and East China.
However, currently, there are eight regional cuisines in China. Let’s explore each one in detail!
Cantonese cuisine revolves around the dim sum, which means small hearty meals. All the dishes in this cuisine get made in bite-size portions so that one can taste a variety of dishes.
Originating from the Sichuan province, the Sichuan cuisines focus around bold flavors brought by spices and pungency. They use a lot of garlic, spices, and Sichuan pepper.
The Anhui cuisine emphasizes more on vegetables and herbs, rather than seafood. There is a lot of usage of mushrooms and bamboos, as it is the regional crop.
Also known as Lu Cuisine, the Shandong cuisine traces its recipes from the Imperial dynasty. It has a likeness for broths and creaminess. The Shandong dishes haves extra saltiness and crispiness.
Fujian cuisine comes from a coastal region. Hence, the use of seafood in these recipes is frequent. Also, similar to Shandong cuisine, the Fujian has dishes with broth or soup.
In the Jiangsu cuisine, the meals include a lot of meat in it. From ducks to crabmeat, they include all types of meat in their recipes.
The Hunan cuisine incorporates the sourness and spiciness in their meals. Pickles tend to be the specialty of the Hunan cuisine.
Zhejiang cuisine is a combination of regional cuisines. You will find the elements of all the local cuisines in Zhejiang. However, the distinct feature is the soft flavor and mellow fragrance of the dishes.
Main Ingredients Used in Chinese Cuisine
Chinese cuisine mainly relies on its native crops for the primary ingredients. Unlike other cuisines, they use one main ingredient in a recipe. They rarely use two main components or all of them together. Here are the three primary ingredients found in abundance in every Chinese household.
In Southern China, rice farming is a common practice. Hence, rice forms a staple food in their diet. Usually, they eat steamed, plain white rice. They also use it to make Congee at breakfast. For special dishes, they use sticky or glutinous rice.
In Northern China, the wheat farms are in abundance. Thus, it forms an integral part of their daily meals. They eat wheat-based foods, such as dumplings, bread, and steamed buns.
Whenever talking about Chinese cuisine, you must have heard people mentioning noodles. Well, the noodles are indeed popular and commonly eaten food all over China. There are numerous noodle types and varieties. They eat noodles with different toppings, meat, and other ingredients. Often, they eat it with broth, but at times, they prefer it dry. The two most common noodles get made from rice or wheat flour.