How popular is Sichuan cuisine in China
Chinese cuisine - delicious variety of flavors
What actually makes a meal "Chinese"?
A typical Chinese meal consists of rice or pasta and other dishes that, in contrast to the Western menu, are served at the same time. The type and number of dishes depends on the number of people and the type of occasion. For six people in a family circle, three or four dishes are served for dinner in addition to rice, and one less dish for lunch. The more festive the occasion, the more and more unusual dishes are offered. When putting together a meal, Chinese chefs pay attention to the color, aroma and taste as well as the variety of ingredients.
China's regional cuisines
Chinese cuisine is as diverse as the regions of the vast country. It is the locally available products that - due to climatic differences and natural resources - have always determined the essence of China's regional cuisine. Many sources distinguish eight major historical trends in Chinese cuisine: Beijing, Shangdong, Jiangsu, Anhui, Canton, Fujian, Sichuan, and Hunan. The main differences in Chinese cuisine can be identified based on the four cardinal points.
North of China: noodles, Dutch oven and Peking duck
In the mild climate of the Chinese north, mainly grain thrives. Therefore, pasta and steamed buns are among the staple foods here. The most important vegetables are Chinese cabbage, cucumber and celery. The influence of nearby Mongolia has enriched North Chinese cuisine with the Mongolian hot pot and popular dishes with lamb and mutton. The local cuisine around the Beijing area uses lots of onions and garlic. The Peking duck is probably their most famous dish: a specially fattened duck is pre-cooked, dried for several days, roasted in an oven intended for this preparation and served with thin pancakes and a spicy dark sauce.
China's east: from sweet and sour to red-boiled
The fertile land around Shanghai produces wheat and rice, and numerous rivers and canals supply fish in abundance. The sophisticatedly decorated and labor-intensive Shanghai cuisine has many sweet elements and tends to be prepared with a lot of oil. Prawns are fried until crispy, eel cooked in oil, fish from the West Lake are prepared sweet and sour with preference. Famous ingredients such as Jinjiang vinegar or Shaoxing rice wine as well as the technique of so-called red cooking come from the Chinese West: Meat, fish or poultry are slowly simmered in a mixture of rice wine and soy sauce, such as the lacquered pork neck.
China's south: lush, tropical and noble
Rice is harvested twice a year in the fertile, rainy areas of the Chinese south, and sweet potatoes, taro, corn and wheat are also grown. The tea from Fujian is one of the best in China. In southern China, leafy vegetables and a variety of fruits such as oranges, bananas, peaches, pineapples and lychees thrive in the tropical climate. Inland there are pig and poultry farms and fish farms on the productive coast. Cantonese cuisine in particular, located in the southern province of Guandong, is one of the most varied and sumptuous cuisines in China. Stir-frying in the wok originated here, and dim sum - the famous dumplings filled with meat, fish, mushrooms or vegetables, braised, steamed or deep-fried - have reached their greatest diversity in Cantonese cuisine.
China's West: A variety of flavors from Sichuan
In the west of China rice, wheat, corn and rapeseed grow, as well as bamboo shoots, numerous citrus fruits and many types of mushrooms. While in the south the seasoning is rather mild, western Chinese cuisine uses the full range of flavors - salty, sweet, sour and spicy. The most famous cuisine in Western China is Sichuan (also Szechuan) cuisine. Fresh and dried chilli are part of many dishes here, Sichuan pepper and pickled mustard vegetables are popular specialties of the region. The sour and spicy soup and the crispy Sichuan duck are known beyond the country's borders.
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