Originating from miscellaneous regions of China, Chinese Cuisine is very famous not only among the people of China but among people from all over the world. There is definitely a history behind the Chinese Cuisine in China but the story differs from area to area because of their imperial fashions, climate and local favorites. With time, the cuisines of all the regions were overlapped and become the Cuisine of Chinese people. The Cuisine is famous by the name Chinese food, especially in Europe. The integration is done during the pre-modern time. Taste also varies according to regions and cultures just as style varies according to regions and cultures. This variation in culture and region led to supreme range of techniques to make food, eating styles, ingredients of food, the dishes and their respective names. Thus, the Chinese people are very proud of eating a large variety of food with true spirit. We call it the Chinese food culture.
There are eight cooking traditions of China. These are Hunan, Shandong, Anhui, Szechuan, Cantonese, Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Fujian cuisines. Outside China also these are some Cuisines which have a Chinese flavor in them. The names of these Cuisines are Malaysian, American, Singaporean, Indian and Indonesian. Extensive study has been done regarding the culinary tradition of China. It was found that even the kings of China were quite famous for their eating habits. They used to appoint a major chef to his court and there used to be a competition between the cooks. The center of the Chinese Cuisine culture is the North China Plain. In the South, Yue people used to cultivate rice in their regions. The evolution of wheat happened in 2000 BC in western Asia. In Europe, people used this wheat to make hot noodle soup. Thus, the tradition of soup started. Other dishes were mutton, beef and pork. People preserved their meat by using curing, salt, ferment and vinegar. They used to cook meat in the fat of other animal.
When Shi Huangdi took over the Chinese empire and Han Dynasty was started, people started making food with greater complexity. The food was judged by its taste, color, texture and aroma. People try to obtain the perfect balance of the Five Tastes- sweet, salty, sour, pungent and bitter. And even it was being said that they consider a good meal to have all the Four Natures- cool, hot, cold and warm. The food was prepared in large size plates and in small pieces. The use of chopsticks and spoons for eating purposes was initiated by the Chinese people. The writers of the 2nd century used to eat smoked roasts and meats. During the Song dynasty, people were migrated towards south and by this period people used to eat southern Chinese staples which are congee and rice. The Mangolian and Manchurian cuisine was introduced during the Yuan and Qing culture and hot pot cooking came into fashion. Some restaurants and street vendor had the porkless cuisine especially for the Muslim communities that are living in China at that time.
There are lots of Chinese dishes with a huge variety of ingredients and with different textures and flavors. The “Cantonese Cuisine” which includes Dim sum, turnip cakes, dumplings, rice rolls, buns, congee, soups, stir-fried green vegetables, lotus leaf rice and many other dishes. These dishes were prepared by stewing, frying, baking and steaming. These dishes are very tasty and will touch your heart. Yum Cha is a very tasty tea. The name itself means ‘drink tea’. Another famous cuisine is the “Szechuan Cuisine”. This cuisine is popular because of its bold flavor as the cuisine is from the southwestern China. This cuisine has a very different pungency and spiciness which is because of the chili peppers and garlic used while making the dishes. Ginger, peanuts and sesame paste are the important ingredients of this cuisine.
Next is the “Anhui Cuisine” which uses the native style of cooking and is popular in the Huangshan Mountains of China. This cuisine uses the vegetables and local herbs of the areas. The cuisine is very much similar to Jiangsu cuisine. The Anhui province is gifted with variety of mushroom crops and fresh bamboos. The “Shandong Cuisine” has a long history and was once the imperial cuisine of North China and that’s why the Cuisine is very famous there and not in South China. This cuisine usually deals with sea food and its ingredients. Dezhou Chicken, braised trepan, Jiuzhuan Dachang, braised abalone, sweet and sour crap are the main dishes which are on the list of the menu of every local restaurant. Other popular Chinese Cuisines are the Min (Fujian), Su (Jiangsu, Huaiyang), Xiang (Hunan), Zhe (Zhejiang), Xinjiang Islamic barbecue, Mongolian hotspot and the Tibetan Cuisine.
Only some of the above mentioned Cuisines are famous around the world. People around the world use the Staple foods of China to make some of the Chinese Cuisines. One of them is Rice. Glutinous rice or the sticky rice is the form of rice which the Chinese people use and they even like to eat the Steamed rice. No one can forget the world famous “Noodles” of china. Chinese Noodles comes in variety of shapes, textures and sizes. As per the Chinese tradition, Noodles are responsible for the good health and long life of people. Generally noodles are made up of wheat or rice flour but soybean can also be used for it. The soybean oil, soy milk, soy sauce and soy paste are the important Chinese ingredients which are used worldwide. When it comes to the deserts, Bings, sun cakes, moon cakes, Gao or Guo are famous in China. Some are simply snacks which are made up of wheat. Chinese people generally like to have less sugary, milder and hot soups and custards as deserts. Not everyone in this world knows the Chinese recipes and that’s why they try to make it in their way but the real taste of the Chinese Cuisines comes from a Chinese only.