Chinese Cuisine: A Brief Introduction to It

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The different regions influence Chinese cuisine in China. Each region’s culture significantly varies from one another, leading to the creation of different styles of cooking. There are influences from Cantonese cuisine, Anhui cuisine, Hunan cuisine, Fujian cuisine, Shandong cuisine, Zhejiang cuisine, Jiangsu cuisine, and Szechuan cuisine. Unfortunately, the Chinese take-out that you’ve been ordering may not have genuine influences from any of these cuisines in China.

Typical Chinese Cuisine and Flavors

A Chinese cuisine expert criticized how many Chinese take-outs often taste the same because they are cooked with excessive cornstarch and soy sauce. This is different from the real Chinese food that significantly varies in styles and flavors. Not only are these foods tasty, they are also prepared to be appealing to the eyes and nose.

Chinese Cuisine: A Brief Introduction to It and Its Unique Flavors
Chinese Cuisine: A Brief Introduction to It and Its Unique Flavors

You can find hot dishes and mild ones, with the basics being made of ginger, chili, and garlic, not the typical soy sauce found in take-outs these days. It is because of this sauce that your Chinese take-outs usually taste too salty.

Basic Chinese Ingredients

Chinese cuisine is typically healthy, too. It often makes use of a carbohydrate source, such as noodles, rice or mantou steamed bread, and accompanying vegetables, fish, or meat, called Cai by the Chinese.

Rice is a vital part of Chinese dishes. However, northern Chinese cuisines usually count on wheat-based products such as mantou and noodles more than rice. It’s in Southern China where rice is king.

Extremely formal occasions, however, usually do not involve rice. Fried rice might only be served once all the other dishes are consumed. Soup if often served as an appetizer and as the last item of a meal.

Role of Wok in Chinese Cuisine

A Chinese kitchen is not complete without the wok. This is often used to cook several Chinese dishes, especially stir-fried ones. Stir-frying is often considered as an effective way to keep as many nutrients in vegetables as possible and to save on stove fuel as well.

If you are interested in learning Chinese cuisine, invest in a 14-inch carbon steel wok with a flat bottom and a long wooden handle. Preheat it before adding oil. Choose an oil with a high smoking point, such as canola or peanut oil. Then, add your raw ingredients. Instead of stir-frying everything all at once, do it by batches. This will prevent your wok from getting overcrowded and risk not cooking your food enough. Keep stir-frying the veggies until they become crisp. Make sure the meat is seared. Turn off the heat once the vegetables start to turn dark.

Don’t be intimidated by thoughts that Chinese cuisine is hard to learn. You can motivate yourself by learning stir-frying. It all starts from there, and then you can progress to more complex cooking.

Eating Chinese Cuisine

Chinese mainly use chopsticks to eat solid foods and a wide, flat-bottomed ceramic spoon to eat liquid dishes and soups. Expensive Chinese eating utensils are often made of silver and ivory. But many restaurants now use disposable chopsticks made of bamboo or wood.

Chinese Cuisine: A Brief Introduction to It and Its Unique Flavors
Chinese Cuisine: A Brief Introduction to It and Its Unique Flavors

The next time you order Chinese take-out, judge it using the things you learned from this article. Assess whether it’s authentic Chinese food or just claiming to be one. And try to buy a wok so you can start your own Chinese cooking at home.