China’s local dishes have their own distinctive and unique styles that can be divided into eight regional cuisines. There are other local cuisines that are famous but are not in the 8 Chinese cuisines, such asBeijingcuisine andShanghaicuisine.
1) Shandong Cuisine
Consisting of Jinan cuisine and Jiaodong cuisine. Shandong cuisine is light, not greasy with an emphasis on aroma, freshness, crispness and tenderness. Shallots and garlic are used as seasonings givingShandong dishes a pungent taste. Soups are very important inShandong cuisine both clear and fresh soups and creamy soups that are thick pungent. Cooking methods are deep-frying, grilling, pan-frying and stir-frying. Jiaodong chefs well known for their fresh and light seafood. Typical menu items: Bird’s Nest Soup; Yellow River Carp in Sweet and Sour sauce.
2) Sichuan Cuisine
Sichuan orSzechuan cuisine is one of the most well known Chinese cuisines. Characterized by its spicy and strongSichuan pepper flavors. Chili pepper andSichuan pepper corns as well as garlic, ginger and fermented soybeans are frequently used in the cookingprocess. Frying, frying without oil, pickling and braising are used as basic cooking techniques. Typical menu items: Hot Pot; Smoked Duck; Kung Pao Chicken; Twice Cooked Pork; Mapo Tofu.
3) Guangdong Cuisine (Cantonese Cuisine)
The most recognized of the Chinese cuisines to the western diner isGuangdongor Cantonese cuisine. The basic cooking techniques include roasting, stir-frying, sautéing, deep-frying, braising, stewing and steaming,preserving the ingredients’ natural flavors. Cantonese chefs also pay much attention to the artisticpresentation of their dishes. Typical menu items: Shark Fin Soup (see pic); Steamed Sea Bass; Roasted Piglet.
4) Fujian Cuisine
CombiningFuzhou, Quanzhou and Xiamen Cuisines, Fujian Cuisine is celebrated for its diverse seafood, vivid color and combined tastes of sweet, sour, salt and savory. Typical menu items: Buddha Jumps over the Wall soup; Snow Chicken; Prawn with Dragon’s Body andPhoenix’s tail.
5) Jiangsu Cuisine
Jiangsu Cuisine, also called Huaiyang Cuisine, from the lower reaches of the Yangtze River. Using the freshest of fish and crustaceans as the main ingredients. Cooking techniques consist of stewing, braising, roasting, and simmering. The flavor of Huaiyang Cuisine is light, fresh and sweet and itspresentation is delicately elegant. Typical menu items: Stewed Crab with Clear Soup, Long-boiled and Dry-shredded Meat, Duck Triplet, Crystal Meat, Squirrel Mandarin Fish, and Liangxi Crisp Eel.
6) Zhejiang Cuisine
Comprising local cuisines of Hangzhou,Ningbo, andShaoxing,Zhejiang Cuisine is light and not greasy. Zheijian cuisine is known for the freshness, tenderness and smoothness of its dishes with a mellow fragrance. Typical menu items: Sour West Lake Fish, Longjing Shelled Shrimp, Beggar’s Chicken.
7) Hunan Cuisine
Hunancuisine consists of the local dished from Xiangjiang Region,DongtingLakeand Xiangxi coteau areas. It is characterized by strong and pungent flavors. Chili, pepper and shallot are usually necessities in this variation. Typical menu items: Dongan Chicken; Peppery and Hot Chicken.
8) Anhui Cuisine
Chefs from this region focus much more on the temperature in cooking and are good at braising and stewing. Often ham will be added to improve taste and candied sugar added to gain freshness. Typical menu items: Stewed Snapper; Huangshan Braised Pigeon.