8 Chinese Culinary Traditions

Just as in most cuisines Chinese food too varies from region to region and can roughly be classified into eight culinary traditions, namely the cuisines of Anhui, Canton, Fujian, Hunan, Jiangsu, Shandong, Szechuan and Zhejiang.

[learn_more caption=”Anhui Cuisine”]
  • Characteristics: Herbs from land and sea, simple methods of preparation, mostly fresh ingredients
  • Cooking techniques: Braising & Stewing (rare or no frying)
  • Notable dishes: Luzhou Roast Duck, Sanhe Shrimp Paste, Egg Dumplings
  • Typical ingredients: Seafood, bean curd, poultry, vegetables, pork, eggs, rice, rice flour, flour, leeks, soy sauce
[/learn_more] [learn_more caption=”Cantonese Cuisine”]
  • Characteristics: Balanced, non-greasy, fresh ingredients, subtle flavors, low chili-heat
  • Cooking techniques: Blanching, frying/deep frying/stir frying, slow cooking, roasting
  • Notable dishes: Steamed eggs, steamed spare ribs, sweet & sour pork, deep fried pigeon, winter melon soup, chow mein
  • Typical ingredients: Poultry, pork, beef, seafood, offal, vegetables
[/learn_more] [learn_more caption=”Fujian Cuisine”]
  • Characteristics: Flavorful, light, soft and tender, emphasis on meaty flavors/umami (four sub-styles exist)
  • Cooking techniques: Braising Stewing, Steaming, Boiling
  • Notable dishes: Buddha jumps over the wall, Popiah, Ban mian, Fragrant snails in wine
  • Typical ingredients: Fish, shellfish, turtles, mushrooms, bamboo shoot, peanuts, crab
[/learn_more] [learn_more caption=”Hunan/Xiang Cuisine”]
  • Characteristics: Chili-hot, high flavors, seasonal menus with over 4000 dishes
  • Cooking techniques: Stewing, frying, pot-roasting, braising, smoking
  • Notable dishes: Beer duck, stinky tofu, dry-wok chicken, stir-fried duck blood, pearly meatballs, pumpkin cake
  • Typical ingredients: Varied, due to inherently agricultural nature of the region
[/learn_more] [learn_more caption=”Jiangsu Cuisine”]
  • Characteristics: Balanced, Soft, (not mushy), seasonal ingredients, emphasis of visual appeal and the use of soup
  • Cooking techniques: Braising, frying, stewing, slow cooking
  • Notable dishes: Braised spare ribs, fried gluten balls, fish omelettes
  • Typical ingredients: Fish, pork, eggs, seafood
[/learn_more] [learn_more caption=”Shandong Cuisine”]
  • Characteristics: Light seafood, inclusion of soup, huge array of seafood, use of corn & peanut, excellent vinegars
  • Cooking techniques: Stir-frying, deep frying, high heat, braising
  • Notable dishes: Stir fried pig’s kidney, pig’s large intestine, sweet potato with caramelised sugar, deep fried cicada
  • Typical ingredients: Potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, bell peppers, cabbage, pork, offal, cicada, corn, peanuts, seafood
[/learn_more] [learn_more caption=”Szechuan Cuisine”]
  • Characteristics: Pungent, intense flavors
  • Cooking techniques: Smoking, pickling, salting, drying, stir frying, frying/deep frying, stewing
  • Notable dishes: Kung Pao Chicken, tea smoked duck, Fuqi feipian, dan dan noodles
  • Typical ingredients: Beef, poultry, offal, Sichuan peppers, garlic, star anise
[/learn_more] [learn_more caption=”Zhejiang Cuisine”]
  • Characteristics: Non-greasy, mellow, fragrant, soft
  • Cooking techniques: Frying, stewing, braising
  • Notable dishes: Dongpo pork, west lake fish in vinegar, beggar’s chicken
  • Typical ingredients: Bamboo shoots, poultry, seafood, freshwater fish, livestock

Sid Khullar

Sid Khullar is the founder of Chef at Large, a blog that began in 2007. He enjoys cooking, writing, travelling and technology in addition to being a practising Freemason. Health and wellness is a particularly passionate focus. Sid prefers the company of food and animals to most humans, and can be reached at sid.khullar@chefatlarge.in.