The philosophy of yin and yang finds prominence in Chinese food. The Chinese maintain a balance in the food texture, color, and flavor by following the basic principles of yin and yang. Food that has the cooling properties are said to have yin, and those items that have the warm properties are said to have yang. The idea is to achieve a healthy balance between the two.
Chinese food beholds a large variety from different regions with some mouth-watering dishes. It is basically divided into 8 regional cuisines.
This cuisine uses fresh fish and crustaceans as the main ingredients and is very popular in the lower areas of the Yangtze River. The cooking techniques used are roasting, braising, stewing and simmering. The carving techniques of the food are very well-known in this type of cuisine. Some of the famous foods of this variety includes Stewed Crab with Clear Soup, Duck Triplet, Crystal Meat, Liangxi Crisp Eel, Long-boiled, and Dry-shredded meat.
The Shandong cuisine gives a lot of prominence to the soups. It also uses a combination of the Jinan and the Jiaodong cuisine. The characteristic feature of this cuisine is that the food items are fresh and crisp and generally non-greasy. These foods have a strong aroma. The soups, if thin in its consistency, are clear and if thick are very creamy with a strong flavor. There is a lot of deep-frying, pan-frying, stir-frying, and grilling used by the Jinan chefs. The Jiaodong chefs are known for food items with a light taste. Some of the popular food items in this category are Bird's Nest Soup and Yellow River Carp in Sweet and Sour Sauce.
This is the most famous Chinese cuisine in the world. Popularly known as the 'Szechuan' in the West, the Sichuan cuisine boasts some spicy and hot flavors due to the emphasis of the use of chili. Another reason for the typical taste it offers is the use of the pepper and prickly ash by the chefs. This lends uniqueness to the dish. The basic cooking techniques belonging to this category use a lot of pickling, braising, and also frying without oil. Some of the hottest and spiciest famous food items in this category remains the Kung Pao Chicken, Tasty and Spicy Crab, Twice Cooked Pork, and Water-Boiled Fish.
The Fujian Cuisine is known for a wide range of seafood. This cuisine is characteristic due to the myriad colors and the mouth-watering combination of the sweet, salty, and sour tastes in the food items. Another important feature is the pickled taste. The famous food items of the Fujian Cuisine are the Snow Chicken, Prawn with Dragon's Body, Phoenix's tail, and the Buddha Jumping Over the Wall.
The Hunan Cuisine has a typical thick and sharp flavor. This is due to the use of the pepper, chili and shallot in the dishes prepared. This cuisine has an ideal mix of the local cuisine. (Dongting Lake, Xiangjiang Region and the Xiangxi coteau). The food items prepared under this category range from the Dongan Chicken, the Peppery and Hot Chicken, Lotus Seeds in Rock Sugar Syrup, and the Sizzling Rice Soup.
Also known as the Hui Cai, it comprises the specialties of the South Anhui, Yanjiang, and Huai Bei. This cooking demands a lot of attention to the temperature of the food being cooked and also the taste and color of the dishes. These are known to build up energy of the person. The food menus include bamboo shoots cooked with sausage and dried mushroom, stewed soft shell turtle with ham, Li Hongzhang Hotchpotch, and the Stewed Snapper.
Guangdong (Cantonese) Cuisine
The cooking methods used for this cuisine vary from the others in terms of the flavor and also the raw materials used. There is a strong emphasis on the seafood and mixed flavorings. The food tastes clean, light, and extremely fresh. When the chefs prepare Guangdong Cuisine, they have to use methods of deep-frying, braising, stewing, roasting, stir-frying, sautéing, and steaming. Once the dishes are ready, the chefs also go an extra mile in the presentation as well. Popular dishes are Steamed Sea Bass, Dim Sum, Shark Fin Soup, and the Roasted Piglet.
Also known as the Zhe Cai, it encompasses the specialties of the Hangzhou, Ningbo, and the Shaoxing cuisine. The cooking methods employ the use of methods like stewing, stir-frying, deep frying, and sautéing. Some of the famous dishes are the Longjing Shelled Shrimp, Beggar's Chicken, and Sour West Lake Fish.
Famous Chinese Food Items
- Grape-shaped Fish
- Hot Diced Pork
- Maofeng Smoked Hilsa Herring
- Red-Bayberry-Shaped Meat Balls
- Diced Ham with Crystal Sugar
- Fish in Vinegar and Pepper
- Litchi and Prawns
- Chicken Balls with Qiandao Sauce
- Fragrant Chicken Stew
- Squid with Pineapples
- Gluten Meat Pouches
- Bean Skin Rolls
- Deep-fried Onion
- Roast Leg of Lamb