What to Eat in China

Manchu Han Imperial Feast, the top Chinese cuisine and the most famous Chinese cuisine in the world

Manchu Han Imperial Feast

‘What to eat in China?' 'What to eat in the China tour?' There two questions are the most common ones for travelers to China. Being a big oriental city with rich history and abundant resource, China has a long history of food and its Chinese cuisines culture is perse one. If you face the problems above, you should not miss this article, it is the guideline for eating in China.

 

What to eat in China is decided by where to go in China. Different places in China has its own custom of food. In Beijing, you may find the food made by flour the favorite one in this city and the famous Beijing Roast Duck is the top one among the food in Beijing. In Guangzhou, this situation changes. The Cantonese like rice and the Yue cuisine is the favorite one by the local people. So where you plan to go decides what to eat in the China tour. But there is one thing you must know-- the Chinese Eight Cuisines.

 

 

Chinese Eight Cuisines


Chinese cuisines have a number of different genres, but the most influential and typical known by the public are the “Eight Cuisines”. These are as follows: Shandong Cuisine, Guangdong Cuisine, Sichuan Cuisine, Hunan Cuisine, Jiangsu Cuisine, Zhejiang Cuisine, Fujian Cuisine and Anhui Cuisine. The essential factors that establish the form of a genre are complex and include history, cooking features, geography, climate, resources and life styles. Cuisines from different regions are so distinctive that sometimes despite the fact that two areas are geographical neighbors their styles are completely alien.

 

 

1. Shandong Cuisine

Sweet and Sour Carp, one of the most famous Shangdong cuisine

Lu Cuisine--Sweet and Sour Carp 

 

Shandong Cuisine, also called Lu Cuisine, is originated from the native cooking styles of East China’s Shandong Province. Its history can date back to Qin Dynasty (221 BC to 207 BC). It has become one of China’s eight cuisines since Song Dynasty (960 AD to 1234 AD). It is the most prevalent distinct regional cuisine in China, popular through out Beijing, Tianjin and Northeast China. 

 

Lu Cuisine is more inclined to keep the freshness of ingredients than other cuisines and fond of salt flavor, featured with tender, savory and crisp. It is particular about making soup.

 


Seafood is the most notable ingredient of Lu Cuisine as Shandong is a costal province, including scallops, prawns, clams, sea cucumbers, and squid, which are all local ingredients of exemplary quality.

 


2. Guangdong Cuisine

Boiled Chicken with Sauce, one of the famous Guangdong cuisine and recommended for your China travel

 

Canton Cuisine--Boiled Chicken with Sauce

 

Guangdong Cuisine, also known as Cantonese Cuisine or Yue Cuisine, is the culinary style of Guangdong Province, which was called Canton when the Wade-Giles romanization of Chinese was in use.


Guangdong Cuisine 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. In summer and autumn it pursues clarity and in winter and spring, a little more substance. The sauteed dishes always rely upon exquisite presentat ion involving cutting and carving skills.


In contrast to the fast-fried cooking method of Sichuan dishes, Guangdong people prefer to braise, stew and sauté their food. These cooking methods aim to preserve the flavor of the dishes.

 

3. Sichuan Cuisine

Stewed Beancurd with Minced Pork in Pepper Sauce, a famous dish in Sichuan cuisine and a must-have dish during your Sichuan tour.

Sichuan Cuisine--Stewed Beancurd with Minced Pork in Pepper Sauce

 

This combines the cuisines from Chengdu and Chongqing. From as early as the Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911), books had systematically recorded a total of 38 cooking methods like to scald, wrap, bake, mix, stew, and adhere, etc.


Sichuan Cuisine is the most widely served cuisine in China. The dishes of Sichuan Cuisine are famous for their hot and spicy flavor. An outstanding facet of Sichuan dishes is the delicate use of pepper or chili. The ingredients used are great in variety, including poultry, pork, beef, fish, vegetables and tofu.


Sichuan Cuisine wins universal praise for its hotness, sourness and numbness it produces, which are rare in other regional cuisines. These together sum up the unique flavor of Chuan Cuisine, which enjoys a good reputation as a cuisine that is "one dish with one flavor and one hundred dishes with one hundred flavors".

 

4. Hunan Cuisine

Dong Anzi Chicken, a famous Hunan cuisine and recommended for your Hunan tour.

Hunan Cuisine--Dong Anzi Chicken

 

Hunan cuisine, also called Xiang Cuisine, stems from a province that has an age-old reputation as a “land of fish and rice”. Hunan Province has always been a cornucopia as far as foodstuffs go. The salient features of Hunan cuisine are richness, creaminess, and moistness, combined with a delicate use of chili. Hunan cuisine is also fragrant, with crunchy fresh vegetables that are cooked “al dente”. It is said of Hunan cuisine that it not only has the saltiness of the cuisines of North China and the sweetness of the cuisines of South China, it also has the spicy-hotness as well as the tanginess of more local dishes.


Stewed fins, fried fresh cabbage with chestnuts, Dong Anzi chicken, immortal chicken with five elements, are of the highest reputation.

 

5. Jiangsu Cuisine

Fish Wrapped in Mutton, a famous dish in Jiangsu Cuisine and recommended for your eating in China

Jiangsu Cuisine--Fish Wrapped in Mutton

 

Jiangsu Cuisine, called Su Cuisine for short, originates from the native cooking styles of South China’s Jiangsu Province. It has a fresh taste, with moderate saltiness and sweetness, which is thick without being greasy and light without being thin. Meanwhile it places an emphasis on the making of soup and retaining the original taste of the ingredients. Once it was the second largest cuisine among ancient China’s royal cuisines, and it remains a major part of the state banquet in China.


Su Cuisine is made according to precise material choice and a precise cooking schedule . It requires exquisite and fine cooking. There is an excellence in cooking methods such as stewing, simmering, and baking over a slow fire, warming up, steaming, sautéing, stir-frying, and skillful braising in mud and baking on forks.

 


6. Zhejiang Cuisine

West-lake Braised Fish in Vinegar, a famous Zhengjia cuisine and recommended for your Zhejiang cuisine

Zhejiang Cuisine--West-lake Braised Fish in Vinegar

 

Zhejiang cuisine, called Zhe Cuisine for short, is originated from South China’s Zhejiang Province. It is famous for its mellow, yet not greasy, taste.


As Zhejiang cuisine consists of hundreds of small delicacies from its main cities, it takes in Hangzhou's fineness and persification, Ningbo's softness and originality, and Shaoxing's pastoral interests. Hangzhou, once the capital of the Southern Song Dynasty (1127 - 1279), it is customary to endow cuisine with dainty place-names. The chief techniques of cooking lie in the methods used such as frying, quick-fry, stir-fry, braising, and steaming thus rendering the dishes both salubrious and savory.

West-lake braised fish in vinegar - is a traditional delicacy in Hangzhou.Shelled shrimps cooked in Longjing tea - as the Longjing tea is taken from the best tea in Hangzhou, which is recognized for greenness, fragrance, pure taste and elegant looks, when the living shrimps are stir-fried in the Long tea, the dish sends an artistic aroma and is quite delicious.

 

7. Fujian Cuisine

Surf Clam Shell, a famous Fujian cuisine

Fujian Cuisine--Surf Clam Shell

 

Fujian Cuisine, also called Min Cuisine, originates from South China’s Fujian Province. The history of Min Cuisine dates back to 5000 years ago.


The three notable features of Min Cuisine are: the use of delicacies from the mountains and sea as the main ingredients, a specialism in soup making and expertise in applying various kinds of seasonings. Fujian’s abundant natural resources mean Fujian Cuisine is rich in high-quality ingredients, especially delicacies from the mountains and sea.


Min Cuisine pays a great deal of attention on utilizing soup. As a saying about the region's cuisine goes, “It is unacceptable for a meal not to have soup”. Fujian people like to use various kinds of sauces and seasonings to create the tastes of salty, sweet, sour and spicy.
The cooking techniques of Fujian Cuisine are: pan-frying, deep-frying, boiling, baking, stewing, mixing, sautéing with wine, stewing in gravy, grilling, cooking with red rice wine, simmering, stir-frying, smoking, braising and salting.

 

8. Anhui Cuisine

Li Hongzhang Hotchpotch, a famous Anhui cuisine and recommended for China travel to Anhui

Anhui Cuisine--Li Hongzhang Hotchpotch

 

Anhui Cuisine is also called Hui Cuisine or Wan Cuisine. It is one of the eight famous cuisines of China, derived from North China’s Anhui Province.


It is mainly composed of local flavors of Huizhou and other areas along the Yangtze River and the Huai River. Among the dishes on the Ahhui cuisine menu, you will find less fried or quick-fried dishes than those that are braised. People here are inclined to add ham as seasoning and sugar candy to enrich the freshness and are quite accomplished in the art of cooking.


Some dishes representative of the Hui style of cuisine are: Stir-Fried Frog with Log Flower Mushrooms; Phoenix-Tailed Shrimp Steak; Li Hongzhang Hotchpotch; Bagong Mountain Bean Curd; Grape Fish, Mountain Bamboo Shoots, Assorted Meats; Phoenix-Tailed Shrimp in a Bird's Nest and Red Tato in Honey.

 

 

By knowing the Chinese Eight cuisines, you may know what to eat in your China tours. But you must know that besides the Chinese Eight Cuisines, there are lots of famous local cuisines, so if you are traveling in China or going to have a China tour, you must have a try of the famous local food which will take you experience the most traditional food culture.


Now, What to eat in China and What to eat in your China tour are still questions for you? After reading this article, you may get some idea for your China tour and know what to eat in China.

Logo of the Parent Company of China DIY Tours