China and its tastes

China is the land of endless tastes. Cooking practices and the food production itself of different areas in China depend on the nature of the geography of each particular region.

In northern parts of China, the taste ranges from salty, simple with less vegetables and having wheat as the staple food. Western part of China is famous for its hearty halal food with lamb the main meat. Central Chinese cuisine is worldly renowned for its spiciness and the high range of seasonings, whilst the Eastern China tends to lean more into the sweet and lighter tastes. Lastly there is the Southern minority food, which is prone to be more on the sour side. 

Three traditional important aspects such as color, smell, and taste are used to describe Chinese food, as well as the meaning, appearance, and nutrition of the food. Cooking should be appraised with respect to the ingredients used, knifework, cooking time, and seasoning.

All in all, the Chinese gastronomy as such is not only valued and enjoyed by the people in China but has gained notoriety around the globe for centuries, shaping many other cuisines in Asia, with modifications made to cater to local palates.

Here is our little guide through Chinas Cuisines: 

1. Northern China Cuisine

The regions consist of Beijing, Xi'an, Inner Mongolia, and Northeast China.

Beijing Cuisine, famed for its imperial court cuisine, is influenced by a variety of China’s cooking styles, not only due to it being the capitol, but also due to its close proximity to the Shandong and Inner Mongolia. The imperial cuisine originated from the imperial kitchens, where food was cooked for royalty and officials.

The Inner Mongolian Cuisine originated from traditions of ethnic Mongols, ranging from dairy products to a variation of red meat (captive herds and game): mutton, beef, venison, etc. Typical dishes of this region include roasted whole sheep, roast leg of lamb, as well as the local favorite: Hand-grasped mutton.

The Shandong Cuisine is famous for diverse cooking techniques featuring seafood ingredients. This region is known for its fresh, salty, crisp, and tender flavors.

2. Western China Cuisine

The regions consist of Xinjiang, Tibet and Gansu.

As the Xinjiang region is inhabited by many ethnic groups, and about half of the population belongs to the Uyghur minority. With that, the Xinjiang Cuisine mostly refers to Uyghur cuisine. The food is predominantly halal food due to the majority of Xinjiang people being Muslims.

Whilst Tibetan Cuisine is a blend of flavors of Nepalese, Indian, and Sichuan cuisines due to Tibet's position neighboring India, Nepal and Sichuan Province. It also has its own original dishes, influenced by its harsh climate where they farm yaks.

3. Central China Cuisine

The regions consist of Sichuan, Chongqing, Hunan.

This region is world renowned for its spicy flavors. Ranking at the top of the chain of numbing and spicy taste is the Sichuan Cuisine, from the Sichuan Province, making the numbing Sichuan pepper a unique must try flavor for all.

The Hunan Cuisine has strong resemblance to the Sichuan Cuisine, but is known to be generally even spicier. It has a great variety of ingredients due to the high agricultural output of the region.

4. Eastern China Cuisine 

The regions consist of Guangdong, Fujian, Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Anhui and includes five of the famous eight cuisines of China, taken from the Pearl River Delta to the Yangtze River Delta.
Among all Chinese flavors, the Cantonese Cuisine has had one of the most widespread fame within the western gastronomy world, making the Dim-Sum almost as the trademark for Chinese gourmet. With its flavors being mild and focusing less on spices, but more on its absolute freshness and natural flavor of ingredients, the dishes within this cuisine mostly use sweet sauce as well.

The Zhejiang Cuisine taste comprises the methods and styles of Hangzhou, Shaoxing, Shanghai and Ningbo. Famous for its freshness, softness, and smoothness, it is characterized by various techniques of cooking, such as sautéing, stewing, steaming, and deep-frying.

5. Southern Minority Cuisine 

The regions consist of Yunnan, Guizhou and Guangxi provinces.

Southern minority Cuisine is mainly characterized by lots of preserved foods, particularly pickled vegetables and tofu, which give it its sour flavor. Its ethnic food is typically simple and full of natural ingredients and ingredients of rural preserved foods. They preserve almost everything to prevent wastage and have been doing so since ancient times.

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