China’s long history, vast territory and rich culture have given birth to the distinctive Chinese culinary art. With several thousand years of creative and accumulative efforts, Chinese cuisine has become increasingly popular among more and more overseas gourmets.
As the top three cuisines in the world (the other two are French cuisine and Turkish cuisine), Chinese cuisine has a deep influence to East Asia. Originated from different regions and ethnic groups of China, Chinese cuisine can be divided into many categories, like the Eight Famous Cuisines, local snacks, ethnic foods and so on. Rooted in the traditional Chinese philosophy, Chinese food represents the harmony and balance of nature, not only satisfy a gourmet appetite, but also preserve people’s health.
For most of foreign travelers, Chinese cuisines are equating to Sichuan Hot Pot, Peking Roast Duck, Kung Pao Chicken, Sweet and Sour Pork… These are all tasteful and popular dishes in China, however, the real Chinese cuisines are far more beyond that.
With vast territory and abundant resources, Chinese people have developed diverse cuisines based on different regions, weathers and raw materials. Generally, Chinese cuisines can be divided by regions, and there are over a dozen of regional cuisines in China, and the most popular ones are called Eight Famous Cuisines. Except regional cuisines, ethnic foods, such as Tibet food and food in Minority areas, have their own unique flavors and features. Local snacks, though not formal meals, win its position among all kinds of people. Chengdu and Xian are famous for their snacks, and some people are travel to these cities just to taste the local snacks!
Eight Famous Cuisines (divided according to region and flavors), they are Lu Cuisine (Shandong Cuisine), Chuan Cuisine (Sichuan Cuisine), Yue Cuisine (Guangdong Cuisine), Min Cuisine (Fujian Cuisine), Su Cuisine (Jiangsu Cuisine), Zhe Cuisine (Zhejiang Cuisine), Xiang Cuisine (Hunan Cuisine) and Hui Cuisine (Anhui Cuisine).
Ethnic regions in China, like Tibet, Yunnan, Guizhou, Xinjiang, and Inner Mongolia have unique food culture, and the cuisines in these places are mainly developed based on the ethnic culture, folk customs and local specialties. Some travelers just fall in love them while others don’t, so be prepare for it before you visit these places.
Local snacks account an important part in Chinese food culture. Every place at least has one or two special featured snacks, while the food center like Beijing, Chengdu, Xian, Guangzhou and Shanghai have more local snacks, and these cities also have snacks streets where foodies can savor all kinds of food and snacks in just one place.
Most foreigners have already tasted Chinese cuisines before them come to China, and the top 10 popular Chinese dishes among foreigners are: Sweet and Sour Pork, Kung Pao Chicken, Spring Rolls, Fried Rice, Mapo Tofu, Jiaozi, Wonton, Roast Duck, Chow Mei and Sautéed Shrimp Cashew Nuts.
With an ancient civilization more than five thousand years, China’s food culture is an important part of its culture. Rooted in traditional Chinese philosophy, like Yin-Yang and Five Element and Confucianism, Chinese cuisine and its cooking process reflect the harmony and balance of nature. Under the guidance of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chinese cuisines are pursuing to maintain people’s health, even cure disease through matching different foods in the cuisines.
Called as the state of ceremonies, dining etiquette plays a rather important role in Chinese food culture. Knowing Chinese etiquette will not only show one’s good self-cultivation, but also avoid making taboos accidentally to offense your Chinese host.
Nearly a hundred of cooking techniques have formed over the development of Chinese food culture. The diverse cooking techniques show the wisdom of Chinese people and also develop the different flavors in Chinese cuisines.
Shanghai / Suzhou / Hangzhou
Beijing / Xian / Shanghai
Beijing / Xian / Chengdu
Beijing / Xian / Chengdu / Guilin / Shanghai