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Dumpling Fatigue in China

May 13th, 2011 by

Any trip to China is made even more special because of the scrumptious array of culinary delights available. Foreigners need not fret about what to eat as options are definitely not only limited to dumplings, dumplings, dumplings. When it comes to dining in China, the possibilities are truly endless.

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Chinese cuisine makes use of fresh ingredients combined with exotic spices that create the aroma that is only distinct to kitchens ruled by Chinese cooks or chefs. Chinese cuisine is not only limited to dumplings. In fact, Chinese cooking can be further categorized into more specific types wherein the most popular cuisines include Anhui, Beijing, Cantonese, Szechuan, and Shanghai just to name a few. These various cooking approaches are influenced by geography, lifestyle of the people, and the available resources in the region where a particular dish originated.

Here is a list of the different styles of Chinese cuisine as well as the famous dishes under each category:

Anhui Food

Anhui cuisine originated from the Huangshan Mountain in China. Dishes are prepared through simple cooking methods such as braising and stewing. Common ingredients include wild herbs, stone frogs, mushrooms, and bamboo shoots just to name a few.

A favourite Anhui dish is the Steamed Stone Frog given that the main ingredient is harvested directly from the Huangshan Mountain. Each frog can weigh about a quarter of a kilo and it is known to be a great source of calcium, protein and can improve one’s vision. The dish is also prepared with some bamboo shoots and dried mushrooms.

Beijing Food

Beijing, the capital city of China, promotes a lot of dishes that make use of meat that is roasted, boiled, stir-fried, or even stewed. Most food items also include noodles. But the most famous dish that is clearly associated with this city is Roasted Peking Duck and is available in all hotels in Beijing. The cooking process is tricky as the duck has to be air dried and slathered with a special mixture of soy sauce and sugary syrup before it is actually roasted.

Peking Duck is eaten with the carved skin, meat, sliced onions, cucumber, and hoisin sauce wrapped in thin rolled bread.  The most premium cuts, which are loved by many, are the thin layers of crispy golden brown skin. It’s melt-in-you-mouth goodness.

Beijing City Guide

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Cantonese Food

Cantonese food originated from Guangzhou, or Canton, in southern China. This cooking style is considered one of the most adventurous as the range of ingredients can include common ones such as chicken, pork or beef as well as exotic components like snakes, snails, insects, innards, and even worms.

Still, a majority of Cantonese dishes make use of fresh seafood because Canton is sea-adjacent. It’s also common to see restaurants maintain tanks of live seafood so that customers can choose the main ingredients for their orders.

Sichuan or Szechuan Food

Sichuan, or Szechuan, cuisine originated in central western China specifically in Sichuan Province. Most dishes are prepared with a lot of chilis, garlic, ginger, peanuts and peppercorns. These ingredients make dish generally spicy and fares are usually stir fried, braised as well as steamed.

A known signature dish of Szechuan cuisine is Kung Pao Chicken. Small cuts of cubed chicken are combined with choice ingredients such as chili peppers, Sichuan peppercorns, vegetables and ground peanuts or cashew nuts.  The sauce is thick, spicy and extremely delicious.

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Shanghai Food

Shanghai is another city that is most visited by tourists the world over and a great destination for foodies. A trip is not be complete without trying their signature dish, the Shanghai Hairy Crab.  This is an extraordinary kind of crab that thrives in rivers. Locals tend to partake of this dish during the colder months of the year.  The hairy crabs are tied with ropes and steamed in unique bamboo containers. These are served whole together with a serving of vinegar.  Hotels in Shanghai have to make advance reservations for hairy crab deliveries to make sure that they do not run out.

Shanghai City Guide

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