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Every year, millions of people travel long distances to far away places not only to enjoy the beauty of scenic spots, to learn new folk customs, to experience and feel the nature of the people in exotic China, but also to taste delicious dishes and experience the art of the eating.
Chinese cuisine is a bright branch in the treasure-house of Chinese culture, and it is also a dominant one in the field of world cuisine. Like music, dance, painting and drama, China regards eating as an art which is a comprehensive one combining sight, smell, touch, taste and even sound.
The core of Chinese cuisine is taste, and its purpose is to preserve health. It fuses nutrition and color, shape, appearance and the taste perfectly. Thus eating Chinese food can not only satisfy one's appetite but also provide tonic effect.
Main Dish Systems
Among the local dishes all over the country, Chuan, Lu, Su, Yue dishes are the most well-known. They are called the four great dish systems. Plus Zhe, Min, Hui and Xiang, there is a saying of eight great dish systems. Out of these, the number of local dish systems are not less than 20, and the vegetarian dish, Beijing dish and Shanghai dish all have complete systems.
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Sichuan dish is abbreviated as Chuan dish, whose dominant feature is using condiments, including chili, Chinese pricky ash, scented vinegar and thick broad-bean sauce, etc. The flavors are mainly litchi, sour and hot, tingling and hot, spicy and piquant.
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Shandong dish is abbreviated as Lu dish. It is representative of northern dishes. Jinan dish stresses clear soup and cream soup. Jiaodong dish is good at cooking all kinds of seafood. It pays much attention to keep and highlight the fresh flavor of the stuff. The flavor is mainly light, fresh and tender.
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Guangdong dish is shortened as Yue dish. Its features are: the stuff selected is meticulous and extensive; it is good at cooking snakes, racoon dogs and monkeys. The flavor is mainly light, crispy, tasty and refreshing.
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Anhui dish is shortened as Hui dish. Its features are stressing oil, sauce color and fire.
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Hunan dish is abbreviated as Xiang dish, and it is good at using smoked vinegar as condiments. In cooking respect, it stresses tasty materials and its flavors highlight hot and sour.
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Jiangsu dish is usually called Su dish. Its flavors are light and moderate, palatably sweet and salty, nourishing but not greasy. In this system, Huaiyang dish is the most famous. Su, Chuan, Lu and Yue dish are called the four great local flavors.
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Zhejiang dish is abbreviated as Zhe dish. It has characteristics as light and fresh, tender and elaborate.
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Fujian dish is shortened as Min dish. Careful making, pleasant color, light and fresh flavor, frequent using of scented wine as condiments are its features. The flavor is light but usually sweet and/or sour.
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Beijing dish is usually called Jing dish. It selects materials extensively and are crispy, fragrant and fresh.
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Vegetarian dish comes from monasteries. The cooking materials are mostly bean products, fungus and some seafood. Animal materials are limited to milk and eggs.