Traditional Chinese food includes tofu, chicken soup, rice, xiaolongbao, hot pot, noodles, Peking duck, and tea.
China is too big to have a national cuisine. Instead, regional cuisines have eight specific styles: huicai from Anhui, yuecai from Guangdong, mincai from Fujian, lucai from Shandong, xiangcai from Hunan, sucai from Jiangsu, chuancai from Sichuan and zhecai from Zhejiang.
Each style has its own vocabulary of spices, herbs and sauces. Northerners are known as wheat eaters; southerners, rice eaters. Both north and south claim superiority in their culinary heritage. The north is home to imperial cuisine. Dishes influenced by Shandong’s lucai and refined to fit an emperor’s palate.
But the fertile south is where you’ll find the great regional cuisines, such as the delicate seafood of yuecai, the mind-blowing hot sauces of chuancai and the elegance of sucai, the cuisine of the astronomers.
Chinese cuisine is comfort food. China’s version of chicken soup for the sick and the soul Is congee, a thin, easily digestible gruel made from rice boiled with plenty of water.
Eating for heals is the philosophy of Chinese Cuisine. According to Chinese tradition, all foods have a medicinal effect.
When you are feeling unwell, your body Is out of balance – too hot, too moist, too dry, too cold. Finding the food with the right elements can help remedy and rebalance the body.
Cooling foods such as bitter melon can nix a sore throat, a symptom of an overheated body. A medicinal meal, yaoshan, is a combination of nutritious foods and therapeutic herbs.
Traditional Chinese food
Rice and other grains play a central role in Chinese food culture.
Xiaolongbao is meaning ‘little basket buns’. It is Shanghainese pork dumplings traditionally steamed in the namesake baskets. They’re also dubbed ‘soup dumpling’, for the rich pork broth in it.
Tofu is China’s greatest invention. Tofu is popular all over China. It is an easily digestible, highly nutritious, and cheap plant-based protein. Soft, solid, watery, fermented, dried, fried and sweetened, it can be transformed into any number of dishes.
Hot pot is a communal dining experience with a 1000-year-old history. Friends and family gather around a wide, shallow pot full of boiling-hot broth and take turns to dip raw food into the oil to cook.
Mian is noodles served throughout China with the thousands of regional variations. Hand-pulled, the noodles are made by repeatedly stretching and folding the dough.
Tea permeates life in China. Often, a freshly brewed cup to wake the senses is the first liquid people drink upon rising, and tea is drunk constantly throughout the day.
Peking duck is a very popular and famous dish. The recipe was developed in the Yuan dynasty.