No other country treats food as carefully as in China, where the culinary tradition is an object of worship and reverence.
The basis of Chinese national cuisine consists of dishes made from a wide variety of products: cereals, vegetables, meat, fish, marine invertebrates, algae, poultry, young bamboo sprouts, etc.
Chinese food is also impossible without legumes and products made from them: soy oil, soy milk, soy cheese (there are hundreds of recipes for dishes made from fresh, dried, pickled soy cheese), hot soy sauce and thin salty soy bean paste.
A large place in Chinese cuisine is occupied by vegetables. The most widely used cabbage (Chinese lettuce, white cabbage, Sichuan), sweet potatoes, potatoes, radishes of various types, green onions, garlic, tomatoes, peppers, spinach, green bean pods, etc. thick young bamboo sprouts in boiled form, side dishes and canned food are popular. Vegetables are marinated in large quantities, salted in soy sauce, fermented and dried. They serve as the main appetizer for cereals, especially radish and lettuce salted in soy sauce.
Among meat products, pork is widely used; beef and lamb are used much less often. Most meat dishes are made from meat cut into small pieces: cubes or straws. The main means of cooking is frying over high heat.
Chinese chefs widely use such fish breeds as Chinese perch, flounder, swordfish, as well as marine invertebrates. Shrimp, crabs, various shellfish (squid, octopus, cuttlefish), mussels, etc.are also popular.
Chinese national cuisine is divided into a number of local cuisines, which are very different from each other both in the means of cooking and in the set of products. The most famous cuisines are Beijing, Cantonese, Sichuan, and Shanghai.
In the dishes of Peking or Northern cuisine (Imperial cuisine), Lamb is traditionally used, as well as sesame seeds (butter, grains, dough), borrowed from Mongolian cuisine. Steamed noodles and buns often replace rice (cereals are grown in the northern regions). The most common vegetable is the so – called Chinese cabbage, a cross between cabbage, lettuce and celery. Here they prefer to season the dish with hot rice vinegar and cook vegetables in a sweet and sour sauce. Beijing cuisine combines simple, hearty dishes with fine dishes of the imperial court.
In Shanghai (Oriental cuisine), you should try a variety of soups, fried ravioli, seafood, the famous “hairy” crab that lives in fresh water. In addition, an incredible number of duck dishes are prepared here. Shanghai has its own culinary technology – products are stewed for a long time in soy sauce with the addition of rice vodka. Ravioli with meat, eel in wine with garlic, fried noodles with shrimp – only a small part of what they can offer you.
If you are visiting, do not try the rice that is brought last. So you show the owners that the food was plentiful and delicious. Chopsticks should be handled carefully and you should not leave them on your plate: for the Chinese, this reminds you of incense sticks during commemorations.