Chinese cuisine originated from the various regions of China and has become widespread world wide. Regional cultural differences vary greatly amongst the different regions of China giving rise to the different styles of food. There are eight main regional cuisines Some other local cuisines are also well known, such as Beijing cuisine and Shanghai cuisine.
Consisting of Jinan cuisine and Jiaodong cuisine, Shandong cuisine, clear, pure and not greasy, is characterized by its emphasis on aroma, freshness, crispness and tenderness. Shallot and garlic are usually used as seasonings so Shangdong dishes tastes pungent usually. Soups are given much emphasis in Shangdong dishes. Thin soup features clear and fresh while creamy soup looks thick and tastes strong. Jinan cuisine is adept at deep-frying, grilling, frying and stir-frying while Jiaodong division is famous for cooking seafood with fresh and light taste.
Shandong is a large peninsula surrounded by the sea to the East and the Yellow River meandering through the centre. As a result, seafood is a major component of Shandong cuisine. Shandong"s most famous dish is the Sweet and Sour Carp.
Sichuan cuisine, often known in the West as Szechuan cuisine, is one of the most famous Chinese cuisines in the world. Characterized by its spicy and pungent flavour, Sichuan cuisine, prolific of tastes, emphasizes on the use of chilli. Pepper and prickly ash also never fail to accompany, producing typical exciting tastes. Besides, garlic, ginger and fermented soybean are also used in the cooking process. Frying without oil, pickling and braising are some of basic cooking techniques.
Chilli peppers and prickly ash are used in many dishes, giving it a distinctively spicy taste, called "ma" in Chinese. It often leaves a slight numb sensation in the mouth. Sichuan hot pots are perhaps the most famous hotpots in the world, most notably the Yuan Yang (mandarin duck) Hotpot half spicy and half clear.
Cantonese food originates from Guangdong, the southernmost province in China. It is one of the most diverse and richest cuisines in China. It doesn"t use much spice, which brings out the natural flavour of the vegetables and meats. The taste is clear, light, crisp and fresh, Its basic cooking techniques include roasting, stir-frying, sauteing, deep-frying, braising, stewing and steaming. Among them steaming and stir-frying are often used to preserve the natural flavour.
Consisting of Fuzhou cuisine, Quanzhou Cuisine and Xiamen Cuisine, Fujian Cuisine is distinguished for its choice of seafood, beautiful colour and magic taste of sweet, sour, salty and savoury. The most distinct feature is their "pickled taste".
Jiangsu cuisine is also called Huaiyang cuisine. Aquatics as the main ingredients, it stresses the freshness of materials. Its carving techniques are delicate, of which the melon carving technique is especially well known. Cooking techniques consist of stewing, braising, roasting, simmering, etc. The flavour of Huaiyang cuisine is light, fresh and sweet and with delicate elegance. Jiangsu cuisine is well known for its careful selection of ingredients, its meticulous preparation methodology, and its not-too-spicy, not-too-bland taste. Since the seasons vary in climate considerably in Jiangsu, the cuisine also varies throughout the year. If the flavour is strong, it isn"t too heavy; if light, not too bland.
Comprising local cuisines of Hangzhou, Ningbo and Shaoxing, Zhejiang cuisine, not greasy, wins its reputation for freshness, tenderness, softness, smoothness of its dishes with mellow fragrance. Hangzhou cuisine is the most famous one among the three.
Hunan cuisine consists of local cuisines of Xiangjiang Region, Dongting Lake and Xiangxi. It characterizes by thick and pungent flavour. Chilli, pepper and shallot are usually necessaries in this division.
Anhui chefs focus much more attention on the temperature in cooking and are good at braising and stewing. Often hams and sugar candy are added to improve taste.