Chinese food is well known for its diversity and richness. Each region has different traditional food culture and flavors. Therefore, Chinese food is divided into many schools, which have been passed down to the present, among which the most influential and representative are the “Eight Major Cuisines”. Today, let us learn about China’s “Eight Major Cuisines”.
1. Eight Major Cuisines
There are eight major cuisines of Shandong, Sichuan, Guangdong, Fujian, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Hunan and Huizhou in many schools of Chinese dining culture. These “Eight Major Cuisines” are famous for stewing, braising and simmering, and their cooking skills have their own charm.
2. Chinese food menu – representative dishes of various cuisines
(1) Shandong cuisine
Shandong cuisine is the spontaneous cuisine among the four traditional Chinese cuisines (also the eight major cuisines) (compared to the influential cuisines such as Huaiyang, Sichuan, and Cantonese). It is the cuisine with the longest history, the richest techniques, and the most powerful skills. It is a representative of the culinary culture of the Yellow River Basin.
Features: Ruddy color, soft texture, sour, sweet, bitter, spicy, and salty.
Features: fresh and soft, white in color, and shaped like a hibiscus.
Features: The fish tail is raised, the color is like amber, the outside is burnt and the inside is tender. The shape of the carp jumping through the dragon gate, the sour and sweet taste, expresses the joy of life such as the title of the gold list, the newlyweds and candles.
(2) Sichuan cuisine
Sichuan cuisine is one of the four traditional Chinese cuisines of the Han nationality and a master of Chinese cuisine.
Sichuan cuisine is known for its wide range of ingredients, varied seasonings, diverse dishes, fresh taste, and richness. It is known for its spicy and spicy seasoning. It is famous for its unique cooking methods and strong local flavors. It combines the characteristics of the south, east and northwest.
There is sweetness in spicy and spicyness in sweetness. The tenderness of chicken matches the crispness of peanuts. The taste is spicy and crispy, spicy but not fierce, and the meat is smooth and crisp.
The color is bright red, the texture is soft and tender, and the taste is spicy and strong.
The meat is spicy, tender and easy to chew. The soup is red and oily, with strong spicy and pungent flavor.
Cantonese cuisine is one of the four and eight major cuisines in China. Cantonese cuisine in a narrow sense refers to Guangzhou cuisine, while in a broad sense, it includes Chaozhou cuisine (Chaoshan cuisine) and Dongjiang cuisine (also known as Hakka cuisine). Cantonese cuisine is more complicated and delicate. The most distinctive feature of Cantonese cuisine is its wide range of ingredients and its many and ingenious ingredients. At the same time, it focuses on quality and taste, and the taste is light. It changes with the seasons, with light flavors in summer and autumn, and heavy flavors in winter and spring.
The shape is beautiful, the skin is yellow and the flesh is white, the fat is tender and delicious, and the taste is very delicious. The meat is white in color, with oil on the skin, with a scent of scallion oil. The scallions are trimmed and decorated with ginger, minced garlic, and soy sauce to keep the chicken’s deliciousness and original flavor.
The fresh green kale, the tender beef slices, and the hot kway teow in the mouth, the wonderful combination creates an unforgettable taste, which is really delicious.
Hakka stuffed tofu is delicious. The white and tender tofu is stuffed with meat, fish, shrimps, etc., which increases the taste and makes it more chewy.
(4) Fujian cuisine
Fujian cuisine refers to Fuzhou cuisine, West Fujian cuisine and South Fujian cuisine in a broad sense. Fuzhou cuisine is light and refreshing, emphasizes the freshness of soup, and is good at all kinds of delicacies of mountains and seas. Southern Fujian cuisine (Xiamen, Zhangzhou, Quanzhou) pays attention to seasonings and flavors. Minxi cuisine (Changting, Ninghua area) is more salty and spicy, and most of them are cooked with mountain delicacies, especially mountainous flavors. Therefore, Fujian cuisine has three major characteristics: red glutinous rice seasoning, making soup, using sugar and vinegar.
Usually, abalone, sea cucumber, fish lips, yak leather glue, pleurotus eryngii, tendons, flower mushrooms, cuttlefish, scallops, quail eggs, etc. are used to gather together, add broth and Fujian old wine, and simmer.
After being cooked, it is soft, tender and moist, the meat fragrant is rich, but not greasy, and has a good taste.
Litchi meat has a history of two to three hundred years. It is named after the white water chestnut (horse’s hoof) and pork cut into a cross knife in the raw materials, which look like lychees after cooking. The litchi meat has the characteristics of Fujian cuisine, and the taste is sweet and sour.
Drunken chicken is a famous traditional dish in Fuzhou, Fujian Province. The fat hen is cooked and drunk with red lees. The color is light red, the bones are crispy, the meat is soft and tender, the taste is mellow, and the food is not greasy.
Jiangsu cuisine uses a wide range of ingredients, mainly fresh from rivers and lakes. Fine cutting techniques, various cooking methods, good at stewing and braising. Pursue the original taste, freshness and peace, strong adaptability. The dishes are elegant in style and beautiful in shape and quality.
Stewed pork ball (called Lion’s head in China) is made of 60% fat and 40% lean meat, plus onions, ginger, eggs and other ingredients to chop into meat paste, making fist-sized meatballs, which can be steamed or braised in brown sauce, fat but not greasy. But nowadays, lean meat is generally used.
Crystal trotter is a traditional special dish in Zhenjiang, belonging to Jiangsu cuisine. After the dish is cooked, the meat is red and white, smooth and crystal clear, and transparent, like crystal, so it has the reputation of “crystal”. When eaten, it has the characteristics of crispy lean meat, non-greasy fatty meat, crispy, tender and fresh, and it is also unique with ginger and Zhenjiang vinegar.
The mandarin fish is boned and carved with patterns. Then, it is seasoned and marinated, dragged in the egg yolk paste, fried in a hot oil pan. Next, topped with hot sweet and sour marinade. The shape is like a squirrel, crispy on the outside, tender and sour on the inside. Sweet and delicious.
(5) Zhejiang cuisine
Zhejiang cuisine pays attention to the variety of raw materials and seasons. Unique cooking, especially good at frying, roasting, braising, simmering, steaming. The taste focuses on freshness, crispness and tenderness, maintaining the true taste of the raw materials. The dishes are finely made and the form is emphasized.
West Lake Fish in Vinegar Gravy is mainly cooked with grass carp and other ingredients. The color is bright and red, and the meat is fresh and tender with a crab flavor.
Generally, half-fat and half-lean pork is used and cut into about two inches of square-shaped pork as ingredients. After being cooked, the thin-skinned and tender meat has a bright red color, a mellow and rich taste, crisp but not broken in shape, aromatic and glutinous but not greasy.
Stir-fried shrimps with Longjing Tea combines tea with shrimps. The shrimps are white, fresh and tender. The Longjing buds and leaves are fragrant and its color is elegant. It is clear and appetizing, and the aftertaste is endless.
Hunan cuisine has always attached importance to the mutual matching of raw materials, and the tastes penetrate each other. Hunan cuisine is particularly spicy in seasoning. Due to its geographical location, Hunan has a mild and humid climate, so people like to eat hot peppers for refreshing and dehumidification. At the same time, stir-fry is also a specialty of Hunanese cooking.
It is usually made with the head of bighead carp fish and chopped pepper as the main ingredients and steamed with soy sauce, ginger, green onions, garlic and other auxiliary ingredients. The dishes are bright red in color, strong in flavor, and tender in texture. Fat but not greasy, soft and glutinous, fresh and spicy.
This dessert tastes sweet, the lotus seeds are glutinous, and the fragrance is pleasant. The white lotus floats on the clear soup, like a pearl floating in the water. It is one of the famous Hunan dishes.
Steamed multiple preserved hams is a traditional Hunan dish. It is made of cured pork, cured chicken, cured fish, chicken soup and seasoning, and steamed in a pot. The method is simple, and its fragrance is strong, salty and sweet.
Its main flavor characteristics are mainly salty and fresh, highlight the original flavor, pay attention to fire power, and the food tonic. In terms of cooking methods, the main techniques are roasting, stewing, braising, steaming, and smoking.
The marinade is mellow, the chicken is tender.
Stewed soft-shelled turtle soup with ham is a classic Anhui dish. The main ingredients are turtle and ham. The taste is delicious, and the cooking is difficult. It has the effects of nourishing yin and yang.
“Yipin Guo” is more particular about cooking. In the hot pot, the bottom of the pot is covered with dried bamboo shoots, the second layer is covered with meat, the third layer is white tofu or fried tofu, and the fourth layer is meatballs. Add bean vermicelli on the fifth layer, garnish with spinach or needle mushrooms, add seasoning and appropriate amount of water, and then simmer and cook. This dish has a strong local flavor, thick and fresh flavor, and appealing to the appetite.