The Eight Culinary Cuisnes of China

It is more than just Food
map of china map of shandong map of jiangsu map of anhui map of zhejiang map of fujian map of guangdong map of hunan map of sichuan
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China, the amazing country with cuisines and stories that are fascinating as always.

' Eat only the finest, Taste only the most supreme ' shandong scenary - palace entrance ' A land of fish and rice ' jiangsu scenary - houses alongside river ' Oil, Color, Fire control ' anhui scenary - houses by the lake ' Two light, One heavy ' zhejiang scenary - houses above river ' Ten variations in one soup ' fujian scenary - fujian tulou ' Five ways to cook, Six ways to taste ' hong kong scenary - hong kong harbour ' When the spicy spirit meets, And you know why it worths to live' hunan scenary - hunan farms ' One style for each dish, Hundred tastes for hundred servings ' sichuan scenary - sichuan farms

Shandong

shandong map slide down slide up
palace entrance

Ingredient Choice:

'Exquisite selection'

(average ingredient just don't work here)

Knife Skill:

‘Consistent pacing’

(more of an art itself)

palace entrance

Fire Control:

‘Quick-fry’

(e.g. oily quick-fry, salty quick-fry, soupy quick-fry, watery quick-fry)

Seasonings:

‘Back to origin’

(use only if it can strengthen the original taste of the dish)

'Fine and Crispy'

(do expect onions for every Shandong dishes)

'Never eat the food if they aren't being cut in the proper way'

(confucianism: Shandong was the birthplace of Confucius)

During the Spring and Autumn period, there was one chef called Yi Ar (易牙) who served a dish by means of his son just because ‘the emperor said he has never tasted a baby’s meat before’

Nine turn the large intestine

Nine turn the large intestine

Rose red coloring done by boiled sugar

Its sweet flavour has confused lots of tasters - it is pig intestine indeed!

The original name of this dish is "braised intestine". While some literati felt the sour, sweet, salty, fragrant, fresh flavors are mixed in a subtle way, they decided to give it a special name - "Nine turn the large intestine" (Taoism: "Nine Alchemy Dan " - Taoist tempering azoth with fire)

The original name of this dish is "braised intestine". While some literati felt the sour, sweet, salty, fragrant, fresh flavors are mixed in a subtle way, they decided to give it a special name - "Nine turn the large intestine" (Taoism: "Nine Alchemy Dan " - Taoist tempering azoth with fire)

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Jiangsu

jiangsu map slide down slide up
houses alongside river

Ingredient Choice:

'Time and Season'

(dishes vary in terms of seasons)

Knife Skill:

‘Varying styles’

(can be seen as in fruits carving - employing different knife skills for different fruits)

houses alongside river

Fire Control:

‘Stew, brais, steam, fry’

Seasonings:

Light and into’

(locking the light fragant smell into the dish)

'Fresh and Winey'

(emphases on the color and shaping match for food)

'Jiangsu cremating'

(the famous physician Hua Tuo introduced this idea of food therapy in Jiangsu)

The former province governor of Jiangsu, Chen Guofu (陳果夫) has tried combining some of his favorite delicacies into one dish. He made use of his power, getting together all the chefs under his province. And that was the birth of ‘ The No.1 Dish in the World’ as named by the governor himself

Sweet-sour spare ribs

Sweet-sour spare ribs

Tangy ketchup, Sharpy rice vinegar, Crispy fried pork pieces

Excellent example showing the idea 'getting the sauce into the dish'

‘The Sweet-sour spare ribs is a bit sour’ – an infamous writing appeared in the 2003 A-level examination in China. The piece of work tells about the great time the writer has had with her playmate, and how that has turned to misunderstanding between the two, echoing the ‘sourness’ of the sweet-sour spare ribs

‘The Sweet-sour spare ribs is a bit sour’ – an infamous writing appeared in the 2003 A-level examination in China. The piece of work tells about the great time the writer has had with her playmate, and how that has turned to misunderstanding between the two, echoing the ‘sourness’ of the sweet-sour spare ribs

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Anhui

anhui map slide down slide up
houses by the lake

Ingredient Choice:

'Take the fresh local materials'

(Anhui is a place with rich resources in poultry)

Knife Skill:

‘Attentive to your knife’

(note that knife skills for Anhui cuisine does not exist in itself - it is often combined with fire control as a whole)

houses by the lake

Fire Control:

‘Build up your unique fire art’

(charcoal fire is one of Anhui chef's strengths)

Seasonings:

‘Eat to live’

(seasonings are not for the sake of flavouring up)

'Fresh and Rich'

(wild herbs often appears in Anhui dishes)

'Food as a painting'

(there are strict rules on even the food containers themselve - the decorations and colors used must be integrated as a part of dish itself)

Anhui people are proud of their fire controlling techniques, and they have developed various fire controlling methods for different dishes (‘Slip Burn’, ‘Clear Stew’ and ‘Live Smoke’ just to name few)

Fish bite sheep

Fish bite sheep

Fish: 魚, Sheep: 羊, Fresh: 鮮

魚 + 羊 = 鮮

It was being told that once there has been a sheep fell over a river, and the next day one caught a big fish with lamb inside. The fish was cooked afterwards and surprisingly, it tasted extremely nice

It was being told that once there has been a sheep fell over a river, and the next day one caught a big fish with lamb inside. The fish was cooked afterwards and surprisingly, it tasted extremely nice

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Zhejiang

zhejiang map slide down slide up
houses by the lake

Ingredient Choice:

'Strict on the mix-and-match'

(there are laws governing its choice of combination)

Knife Skill:

‘Unique shaping’

(for the same type of meat, you can see different shapings in terms of each slices)

houses above river

Fire Control:

‘Balancing’

(dishes are often cooked in medium fire)

Seasonings:

‘Fresh and salty as a whole’
'Soft and Mellow'

(be prepared for bamboo shoots in their dishes)

'Legendary cuisine'

(Most of the Zhejiang cuisines are associated with legendary stories in ancient China)

It was being told that in the ancient time, a beggar has stolen a chicken, but then he didn’t have any tools to cook it. The story goes on as the beggar used mud for covering the chicken and heated it under fire. This method has later become famous and is now being used across China (泥烤技)

Shrimp with Longjing tea

Shrimp with Longjing tea

Shrimps cooked with tea - elegant combination

Excellent knife skills - look at the shrimps

This dish was made by accident. The original intention was to fry onion with shrimp, but then the chef has mixed the onion up with tea, so did this delicious cuisine

This dish was made by accident. The original intention was to fry onion with shrimp, but then the chef has mixed the onion up with tea, so did this delicious cuisine

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Fujian

fujian map slide down slide up
fujian tulou

Ingredient Choice:

'Delicate and fine'

(especially when it comes to shark fins)

Knife Skill:

‘Thin as paper’
fujian tulou

Fire Control:

‘Attentive to fire control’

Seasonings:

‘Salty, sweety, soury, spicy and freshy’

(salty:shrimp paste, sweety: rock candy, soury: white vinegar, spicy: five-spice powder)

'Sweet, Salty and Bright '

(bright is in terms of its visual impression)

'Pick your father'

(In the past there are no ‘schools’ in learning Fujian cuisine, young chefs have to be ‘taken up’ by a ‘teacher’ in the sense it is more like a father-and-son relationship - sticking together everyday in 4-5 years, nasty works required, objections to instructions forbidened)

There was one famous chef, Cheng Chuan Fat (鄭春發) who has received not even secondary education while managed to become a policy maker just because the government officials wanted him to stick around - he would then make dishes for the officers

Buddha Jumps Over the Wall

Buddha Jumps Over the Wall

Abalone, shark fin, sea cucumber, swim bladder

Affordable only to the upper class in the past

Naming convention - since the birth of this dish, it has even attracted attention of an old monk from the next door, who was supposedly ‘resistant’ to meat

Naming convention - since the birth of this dish, it has even attracted attention of an old monk from the next door, who was supposedly ‘resistant’ to meat

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Guangdong

guangdong map slide down slide up
hongkong harbour

Ingredient Choice:

'Birds, beasts, insects, fishes'

(only if you can think of, e.g. edible bird’s nest)

Knife Skill:

‘Articsic rules’

(complicated knife skills are used as to provide an articstic view of dishes - dim sum)

hongkong harbour

Fire Control:

‘Stew, roast, pot,bake’

(never mistaken Guangdong baking as the same of western baking)

Seasonings:

‘Clean, crisp, fresh, tender’
'Light and Original '

(also note that historically Canton area has been a place where Chinese and Western culture meet)

'Family'

('Dim Sum’ is the most common choice in family eating-out. The concept behind is support and sharing among the family – each member can take a piece of food from different bamboo containers, leaving the other pieces for eaters behind)

To many people eating Cantonese cuisine means much more than food itself, it represents care and touch. Foreigners may get an idea by looking at the name ‘Dim Sum’ (點心), which literally means ‘touch your heart’

Chinese BBQ Pork

Chinese BBQ Pork

East-and-west fusion

Now appear on almost all Cantonese restaurant located worldwide

A saying extremely popular among adultes: ‘it would be much better giving birth to a BBQ pork than to you - 生舊叉燒好過生你’ (parents usually shout that out when they get angry)

A saying extremely popular among adultes: ‘it would be much better giving birth to a BBQ pork than to you - 生舊叉燒好過生你’ (parents usually shout that out when they get angry)

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Hunan

hunan map slide down slide up
hunan farms

Ingredient Choice:

'Slippy and fatty'

(not to mention they use tons of oil to 'fat up' the dishes)

Knife Skill:

‘Consistent shaping’

(the reason behind is for evenly distributed hotness and spiciness)

hunan farms

Fire Control:

‘Simmer innovator’

(Coloring: red simmer + white simmer. Flavouring: broth simmer, soup simmer, milk simmer)

Seasonings:

‘Spciy made in Hunan’

(chefs use locally made spicy sauces to tone up the dish - e.g. star anise)

'Dry hot'

(another important point is that their dishes use more oil than any other style in the world)

'Show time'

(All families make their own pickles and dried vegetables, which are then being presented whenever some guests are coming. This is a way of to show off a housewife’s ability of crafting and housekeeping)

Knife skill requirement in Hunan cuisine was strict in the past, there has been ten different basic cutting methods ordinary dishes, not to mention their combinations. Now the new-blood are not well-trained in the sense they are often unfamiliar with these cutting methods.

Fish Head with chopped pepper

Fish Head with chopped pepper

Require local spicy sauce, local oil usage

Eaters probably need to travel to Hunan for getting a taste of the 'real dish'

This dish was born in the 1980s the first time it appears on a restaurant’s menu, and in one month's time almost all of the ‘big restaurants’ in Hunan has put the dish into their menus.

This dish was born in the 1980s the first time it appears on a restaurant’s menu, and in one month's time almost all of the ‘big restaurants’ in Hunan has put the dish into their menus.

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Sichuan

sichuan map slide down slide up
sichuan farms

Ingredient Choice:

'Serious selection'

(Hunan chefs are most picky on the choice of chilis)

Knife Skill:

‘Size, length, fitness, thickness’

(the consistency is for the sake of uniform distribution of spiciness throughout dishes)

sichuan farms

Fire Control:

‘38’

(this major number is on cooking techniques)

Seasonings:

‘The three peppers’

(Sichuan peppercorn, sichuan pepper and zhitianjiao)

'Numbing hot'

(some chilis get in nice and slow, while some fire quick. And tears roll down your face in short)

'Migration province'

(Sichuan cuisine are connected with ‘spiciness’, which reflects its reagional nature as a migration province - Sichuan has gone through three major migration processes in its history, while chili and pepper were brought by immigrants at the time)

A famous Sichuan way of cooking is called ‘little fry’ (小炒), which basically means ‘same oil throughout, same wok throughout, make sauce according to current situation, fire in quick and fry in short’. This method often being used to cook vegetables.

Kung Pao Chicken

Kung Pao Chicken (Kung Pao Ji Ding)

Stir-fry dish with peanuts, chicken, vegetables and peppers

A typical testing dish in the cooking contest

During the Cultural Revolution, the dish's name became politically incorrect because of its association with Ding. The dish was renamed "Fast-fried chicken cubes" (Hongbao Jiding) or "chicken cubes with seared chiles" (Hula Jiding) until its political rehabilitation in the 1980s

During the Cultural Revolution, the dish's name became politically incorrect because of its association with Ding. The dish was renamed "Fast-fried chicken cubes" (Hongbao Jiding) or "chicken cubes with seared chiles" (Hula Jiding) until its political rehabilitation in the 1980s

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