“The Chinese eat everything with four legs, except tables, and everything that flies, except airplanes.”— Anon ( Chinese food )
In China, cultures in different regions are respectively distinctive. So are the Chinese food cultures. It gives rise to the different styles of food. There are eight main regional cuisines, Eight Great Cuisines (八大菜系): Sichuan, Shandong, Hunan, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Anhui, Guangdong, Fujian. Except for the Eight Great Cuisines, Beijing Cuisine and Shanghai Cuisine are also famous from China and abroad.
· SICHUAN CUISINE 川菜 – Spiciest Chinese food
This combines the cuisines from Chengdu and Chongqing. From as early as Qing Dynasty.
Sichuan Cuisine features pungent seasonings which were framed as three pepper (Chinese prickly ash, pepper and hot pepper); Seven tastes (sweet, sour, tingling, spicy, bitter, piquant, and salty); and Eight flavors (fish-flavored, sour with spice, pepper-tingling odd flavor, tingling with spice, red spicy oil, ginger sauce, and home cooking).
· SHANDONG CUISINE 山东菜
Shandong cuisine boasts a long history and far-reaching impact and can be traced back to the Spring and Autumn Period (770-212bc). It was quickly developed in the South and North Dynasty (960-1279) and was recognized as an important style of cooking in Qing Dynasty.
This is the local flavor of Jinan City and Jiaodong peninsula derived from the use of shallots and garlic. Seafood is the major component of their food. Condiment serves about pure, delicious taste and merged with fresh, tender, fragrant crisp characteristics. The soup in Shandong cuisine is very important. The dishes are mainly clear, fresh, and fatty, perfect with Shandong’s own famous beer, Qingdao Beer.
· HUNAN CUISINE 湖南菜
Hunan Cuisine is developed from the local food of the Xingjian Valley, Dongting Lake Area, and western mountainous Hunan Province.
A great variety of ingredients, shiny and strong colors, hot and spicy tastes, smoked and pickled flavors. Methods of cooking Pickling, smoking, spicing, simmering, steaming, braising and frying.
· JIANGSU CUISINE 江苏菜
Jiangsu Cuisine developed from the local recipes of Yangzhou, Suzhou, and Nanjing. In the Southern Song Dynasty, Jiangsu and Zhejiang cuisine became two important part of the South feed.
It is characteristically sweet. Sweet-sour Fish, Sweet-sour Pork, and Sweet-sour Soup are common dishes at the table of the ordinary families. Cooking techniques can be varied, but people often use frying and stir frying, braising and steaming.
· ZHEJIANG CUISINE 浙江菜
Hangzhou, once the capital of the Southern Song Dynasty (1127 – 1279), it is customary to endow cuisine with dainty place names.
Zhejiang cuisine wins its reputation for freshness, tenderness softness, and smoothness of its dishes with a mellow fragrance.
· ANHUI CUISINE 安徽菜
Huizhou and other regions of the Yangtze River and Huaihe local flavor composition of Anhui cuisine.
Anhui cuisine is known for its use of wild herbs, both land and sea, and simple methods of preparation. Braising and stewing are common techniques. Frying and stir-frying are used much less frequently in Anhui cuisine than in other Chinese culinary traditions.
· GUANGDONG CUISINE 广东菜
Guangdong cuisine originated in Han dynasty. Cooking skill matured in Song dynasty and Tang dynasty as Canton has been a trading port. Due to the Ming and Qing thriving economies, the Guangdong cuisine had a great promotion.
Guangdong dishes takes fine and rare ingredients and is cooked with polished skills and in a dainty style. It emphasizes a flavor which is clear but not light, refreshing but not common, tender but not crude.
· FUJIAN CUISINE 福建菜
Fujian cuisine has four distinctive features that is fine cutting techniques, alternative soups, unique seasonings, and exquisite cooking.
They are slightly sweet and sour, and less salty, and often use the red distiller’s gran for flavoring. The most obvious feature is their pickling taste.