China#Real Chinese Cuisine: Part 1–Eight Major Cuisines

Concentrating thousands of years history, Chinese food is not only represented by those very simple dishes people can find in Chinatown oversea. For many years, Chinese people keep preserving the old cookbooks from ancesters and never stop creating new flavors. Integrating and transfering the knowledge from civilians and the cooking methods from the officals, year after year, we crystalize eight major cuisines of Chinese food.

Thanks for the board domain of China, different areas enjoy different climate and therefore, different produce and techniques for cooking. For example, northern people like to use mutton and beef because they can raise goats and cow, while southern people can go fishing and use a lot of sea food in south food. From choosing produce, cutting and preparing, and cooking method, different cuisines are unique and represent their own culture. Here are the name of the cuisines and the regions they stand for:

  • Hui– Anhui
  • Yue (Cantonese)– Guangdong
  • Min– Fujian
  • Xiang– Hunan (Can include Xiangjiang Region, Dongting Lake and Xiangxi styles)
  • Su (aka Huaiyang Cuisine)– Jiangsu
  • Lu– Shandong (Include Jinan, Jiaodong styles, etc.)
  • Chuan– Sichuan
  • Zhe– Zhejiang (Can include Hangzhou, Ningbo, and Shaoxing styles)
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First Talk about China!

This Tuesday, I experienced the first time pressure of being a Lecturer–giving my “Food and Culture of China” talk to a group of older people at Stoneham, MA. All stuff went smoothly and happily, the greatest thing was being able to make my group of ladies laugh!

Obtained this opportunity from my dear friend Karen, I developed this talk with my ppt based on my 23 year real life eating experience–which makes this a perfect job to me–to look back the food I ate and to relearn my culture.

Since we have the budget covering foods, I brought two nice Zongzi (triangle sticky rice) and two Moon cakes for cultural food tasting!

I already anticipate the next talk! Say cheese!! Cheer for my beautiful ladies!

Foods and Cultures Series of China

Arriving in the following months! I am going to bring you my presentations about  foods and cultures of China!

Here’s my master plan and topics I chose:

Different Chinese Cuisines/How Chinese People cook?/Special Manners?/ Rumors and Taboos in eating?/The links of foods and festivies/

and other things may interest you! So feel free to leave comments about what you wanna see or want me to talk about!

Rescue my Appetite–“Old Sichuan Cuisine”

For about 24 years, I was in a place surrounding by diverse wonderful Chinese foods, but I didn’t realize this fact until I started to live without them–literally, I am craving for the Chinese flavor! Though Boston Chinatown is close and has a lot of restaurants, their cuisines can hardly satisfy my stomach. During the spring break last week, I went to New York City; hopefully I could discover a restaurant.

It was 10 pm on Friday night, I arrived Manhattan with my empty belly. My girl friend picked me up at the bus terminal and she knew her gourmet was craving for some good foods. Good restaurants are always within her radar. She took me to a small restaurant located in 65 Bayard Street named “Old Sichuan Cuisine.”

Soon I found out this is a hybrid restaurant of Sichuan and Shanghai flavor. Usually hybrid is acceptable for me but it is not ideal—I always thought a restaurant can only be great if it just stick on a single style. But my girl friend was confident: she fleetly ordered 3 dishes on the top of her recommended list—Chicken with Spicy Sauce, House Special Noodles, and Pan Fried Chicken Tiny Bun.

First we got the spicy chicken. The chicken was well chopped and immersed in the very palatable spicy sauce. It was a cold dishes, served with sesame and scallion on the top; its flavor was full-bodied and trigger my appetite very quickly. The chicken was juicy from the first bite; the special spicy sauce was not that spicy as it looked like. It was sweet and a little bit sour, which is from mature Chinese vinegar. After several bites, a strong pungent flavor from xanthoxylum seeds came up, which made this dishes more attractive!

The House Special Noodle came second. With shrimp, chicken, pork and cabbage, this noodle soup was simple and tasted like home made. It used fine dried noodles, so it was soft and well absorbed the flavor in the soup. But compared with the chicken, the noodle was inferior.

Finally the Pan Fried Chicken Tiny Bun Came. As it is called, the buns are fried in a pan, so it usually takes more than 10 minute to make. It had a crisp and slightly scorched bottom because it was actually fried in a pan. The chicken inside is well-mashed and juicy; also with sesame and scallion, it tasted refresh even though the chef used a lot of oil to fried it. The pan-fry process made it distinctive from other bun, which usually uses streaming to cook.

This restaurant has its own way of hybrid; it well mixs the flavor of two style–Shanghai flavor makes Sichuan spicy more acceptable and Sichuan flavor makes Shanghai flavor more exciting. I start to believe my girl friend is an expert looking for great foods! Also, the portion sizes are big and the price is very reasonable. The whole dinner only cost $23, including tax and tips. Only one thing I thought they can improve—brightening the interior of the restaurant, and that will make the foods more appealing!