chinese restaurant food

Chinese cuisine

One cannot talk about Chinese Culture without mentioning Chinese Food and Cuisine! Chinese food has always enjoyed a good reputation with culinary fans and to be able to travel to the country of origin for Chinese food, Mainland China, is nothing short of ecstasy for Chinese food lovers!


History and Introduction of Chinese Food
Chinese people has always treated food as part of their culture very much. There is an old saying still being quoted today ---"Food is the first neccessity of the people." Delicious and nutritious food has been regarded as the basics of ordinary life.

Indeed, the greeting for most Chinese when meeting one another tends not to be "how are you", but more popularly, "Have you eaten?" ! Everywhere in China, regardless if it's a big or small town, you can find Chinese restaurants and food stalls easily. In fact, Chinese restaurants are commonly found in cities all over the world!

Food in China is a communal affair. Chinese food is often taken together as a family unit with the emphasis on shared dishes. Only the rice or buns are served individually; everything else is shared from a communal bowl, including the main soup.

It is always a Chinese culture to greet each other while sitting down for a meal and wait for everyone to be seated before a meal can start. The most senior or elderly person at the table will take the first bite and only then, will the rest of the diners join in.

Various Chinese food or cuisine
Chinese foof has always been part of the Chinese culture for a long time. In fact, food is very much part of the Chinese people culture and way of life. Due to it's long history, Chinese food or cuisine is very much affected by the local history and geography.

The Chinese culinary culture has a distant source and has been developed for many centuries. The legend has it that the Chinese cooking culture originated with Yi Yin, a virtuous and capable minister of the Shang Dynasty (ca. 15th to 11th century B.C.). It can be seen that China initiated the culinary art as early as the Shang and Zhou (ca. 11th century to 221 B.C.) times.

Chinese cuisine can be generally classified under Southern and Northern categories. In general, the southern dishes emphasize freshness and tenderness. Due to the cold weather, northern dishes are relatively oily, and the use of vinegar and garlic tends to be quite popular. As far as staple food is concerned, people in North China favor noodles, dumplings and other staple food made from flour while the majority in the South almost consume rice daily.

As time went by, distinct local flavors were added to the Chinese dishes, such as the Northern food("Lu" or the Shandong dishes), the Southern food ("Yue" or the Cantonese dishes), the Chuan food (Sichuan dishes), Huai Yang (Yangzhou) and the vegetarian foods and recipes of each kind of dishes have been handed down. There are four oldest types of Chinese food: the Sichuan, Cantonese, Northern(Beijing and Shandong) and Huaiyang. Later on, eight types gradually evolved after the Tang and Song Dynasties (the Beijing, Sichuan, Cantonese, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Anhui, Hunan and Fujian groups). Each of these groups has its own history and unique techniques.

Northern (Shandong, Beijing) Cuisine
The Northern (Shandong, Beijing) type is known for its preparation of dried products such as shrimp, scallops and sea cucumber. Noodles, dumplings and buns tend to be a staple diet. It is best known for Peking duck.

Sichuan Cuisine
Sichuan food features hearty cooking flavoured with an exotic palette of spices: red and black pepper, sesame paste, flower pepper and fermented bean paste. Sichuan dishes are known to be "ma la hot" or "tongue burning spicy-hot."

Canton Cuisine
The Cantonese cuisine is perhaps the most famous of the various Chinese cuisine. The world outside is in fact most familiar with Cantonese cuisine, having spread far and wide across the world by intrepid Chinese chefs from Hong Kong who have migrated to various parts of the world. Canonese cuisine is famous for its remarkable range of refined ingredients cooked with a light touch, featuring roast meats, oyster sauce, black beans and shrimp paste. Cantonese dishes are well known for their freshness, tenderness and smoothness.

Jiangsu Cuisine
The Jiangsu type food can be classified into that of Suzhou-Wuxi style and Zhenjiang-Yangzhou style. The feature of Suzhou-style dishes is their natural flavour in original stock and a mixture of salty and sweet taste. The characteristics of Zhenjiang-Yangzhou style food are best described by the saying that the soup is so clear that you can see the bottom of the bowl and the sauce is so thick that it turns creamy white.

Zhejiang Cuisine
Zhejiang food is represented by Hangzhou, Ningbo and Shaoxing styles. Dishes of Hangzhou style are meticulously prepared, hence tasty and crisp. A blend of freshness and saltiness characterize dishes of Ningbo style. Steamed and roasted seafood is Ningbo's specialty. Shaoxing hood, with poultry as its main specialty, is palatable, crisp and glutinous.

Hunan Cuisine
Hunan food takes curing, simmering, steaming and stewing as the main cooking methods. Dishes of this style are usually tinged with sour and spicy flavor and are thoroughly cooked.

Anhui Cuisine
Anhui style food features dishes stewed in brown sauce with stress on heavy oil and sauce. Delicacies are abundant in Anhui dishes.

Fujian Cuisine
Fujian dishes, mostly marinated in wine, are sourly sweet. They stress beautiful colors and fresh tastes. Seafood dishes are Fujian specialties. Taiwan is also famous for it's Fujian cuisine.

In addition to the main categories of Chinese Cuisine, there are in fact a wide variety of sub-Cuisine developed in the many towns and villages of China and including the various Chinee communities spread throughout the world.

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If you would like to try cooking Chinese food, check out this interesting Chinese recipe book that is suitable even for beginners. Or email us for further information.