All the foodies out there, it’s time to ask yourself whether or not Chinese food has mostly been your instant gateway to all your hunger issues. Chinese food is a blessing no one can deny. The organic flavors of fresh herbs with a perfect balance of flavor ranging from sweet, sour, chili, tangy and mild, Chinese food is sure to satisfy your taste buds regardless of how different they could tend to be. The best part about this cuisine is that it is express food like in Chats wood restaurants, which means that you can enjoy it even while you’re on the go.
Chinese food is also one of the easiest cuisines to prepare at home; with a few simple ingredients, you can recreate some of the most scrumptious dishes from the Chinese cuisines. In today’s culinary side of the world, a whole lot of fusion is involved when it comes to Chinese food. From American Chinese food to South Asian Chinese food, the authentic flavours of China have evolved and altered as per personal preferences and taste buds. Thus it has brought about a diverse range of Chinese flavours in the food industry.
However, if you look back and go over Chinese history, you would be able to find there’s a lot more to Chinese food then what we know. It sure is quite a daunting task to find authentic Chinese cuisine in places other than China, but what’s even more challenging is to be able to experience and enjoy the regional cuisines china has.
There is a lot more to it than just ‘Chinese food.’ There are about eight Chinese cuisines based on their geographical location. The reason why the food tends to be diverse regionally is due to the environmental and cultural factors that affect the inhabitants, thus explains the change and difference in taste. To enlighten yourself about it even more, here are some of the most mouthwatering Chinese cuisines out there.
This type of cuisine is also referred to as Yue cuisine, which originates from southeast China from the Guangdong province. This style of Chinese food is the most commonly found internationally as most Chinese immigrants who opened up their own restaurants and settled abroad were from the Guangdong province of China, which is around Hong Kong. The kind of food in this cuisine contains little to no grease and almost no dairy involved. They are famous for their exquisite seafood and rice dishes that contain lightly seasoned and sweetened flavours. You might need to look out for what you’re ordering in a restaurant that serves Cantonese food, and it might not always be as it seems.
The Sichuan or Chuan cuisine is actually the most popular kind of food styles in china itself. It originates from southwest china. The dishes here are known for their deep and rich flavours and are quite spicy and hot. ‘Sichuan’ itself is a pepper, hence the name and the flavours that come with it. It also contains a bit of a tangy and sweet flavour, but that differs from one dish to another. The usual spices that can easily be found in any household of southwest china are the five fragrances, which are fennel, pepper, aniseed, cinnamon, and clove. And of course, what’s a Sichuan cuisine inspired dish without chilli and Sichuan pepper itself?
Jiangsu or Su cuisine originates from the metropolitan city Shanghai itself. This kind of cuisine is more healthy and fresh, while the flavours tend to be salty and sweet. It has a very refined, gourmet-style cuisine often served at government banquets, which makes it very elite relatively. The food is presented in a very artistic manner, and apart from taste, colours, and the visual appeal is also strongly considered in the Jiangsu cuisine. Meals prepared are naturally rich and aromatic, and a lot of organic ingredients are involved, such as meat and plants, which is not overly spiced and seasoned, so the dish retains its naturalness.
Zhejiang/Zhen cuisine is all about a seafood lover’s wonderland. Originating from the eastern province on the pacific, the flavours tend to be unique and refined; this could probably be due to the capital city being renowned for it is versatile and wealthy. The dishes contain little to no flavour and are not overly seasoned or strongly aromatic but are not bland either. The food served here is fresh and mild. Visual appeal is not strongly considered as Jiangsu cuisine. The rawness of the food closely relates to Japanese food.
Fujian food/Min cuisine originates from the southeast of the Fujian province on the pacific. There is a great history attached to this cuisine as it dates back to around 5000 years. This cuisine also specializes in seafood but has a burst of flavour, not too intense but relatively stronger than Zhejiang cuisine. The dishes prepared have a lot of sweet and sour flavours involved in it with a hint of spice. Mustard and pepper commonly is a key prominent feature in this kind of cuisine. It is also considered as exotic considering the natural flavours of the sea and mountains as its main flavours. It is high in nutrition and low on calories, perfect for those on a diet.
This is also known as Xiang cuisine. While Sichuan cuisine contains a lot of spice, the Xiang cuisine that originates from the Hunan province of china, has even spicier and hotter food. The key flavours are hot, sour, and salty. There is also a lot of vinegar used in this cuisine, so prepare yourself for the burning sensation and numbness from this type of food. A lot of flavours are involved here, including citrus fruits. However, despite being famous for its spice, there is no use of peppercorn in Hunan cuisine, but apart from that, almost no dish is complete without chillies otherwise.
Shandong cuisine is also known as the ancient mother of the northern cuisine styles. Originating from the province of Shandong itself, it was one of the first regions to be civilized in china. Thus it had set a culinary standard and form of inspiration for surrounding areas, especially the North of Beijing and northeast China. It consists of a whole lot of greens and seafood. This cuisine is also famous for its style of frying on a high flame that retains natural flavours. With seafood being its forte, mild flavours are used, such as salt and vinegar, to preserve the taste of the seafood.
It can be quite amusing to know how many cuisines china actually has. The next time you are in a Chinese restaurant or are preparing yourself a Chinese inspired dinner, go through some of the authentic dishes from some of these regions and try recreating those as per your preference. Explore the diverse flavours China possesses while you are at it.