Anita Chang is a head of Hong Kong National Culinary Association, professional chef, consultant on menu creation and re-branding. She is an honorable member of Chef’s Association and a member of Regional Council on Public Catering and Tourism. During 12 years she took care of cook teachings and in 2011 she founded National Culinary Association in Hong Kong that currently consists of 65 members. Since it was established, the Association took part in 39 culinary competitions in 23 cities and won more than 50 medals.
During our recent tour to Hong Kong, Anita has shared with us some peculiarities about Chinese cuisine according to different provinces, and we would like to share them with you!
Sichuan cuisine is one of the spiciest in China. And that is all because of the usage of various pepper types and amounts that make your mouth numb. Even when boiling some meals, they add chili mixture. Namely that’s why the majority of the products is colored red.
The most popular spices are sichuan pepper, chili pepper, chili paste with soy beans, shallot onion, and anise.
That doesn’t hamper sichuan cuisine also to be one off the most popular in China. There is such meat as chicken, pork or fish, almost in every dish. Usually, the cuisine of this province requires fast roast on a high heat under constant stirring and boiling in water.
The most popular dishes:
- Hogo (hot-pot)
- Hogo Yin Yang
- Roasted chicken Chongqing
- Kung Pao Chicken (Gong Bao)
- Dan Dan Noodles
Cantonese cuisine is the most popular cuisine outside China. The province is situated close to the seashore and has the most favorable weather conditions.
The freshness of the dish is of a big deal in the cuisine of this region. However, taste remains mostly neutral. The most widespread spices here are green onion, chinese coriander, pre-made sauces, garlic, shallot onion and ginger.
Cantonese cuisine uses plenty of pre-made sauces that greatly simplify the cooking process.
The most popular cooking methods are roasting, steam cooking and long boiling. Food ingredients are similar to those used in European cuisine.
Cantonese cook soups daily. One of the most often used ways of cooking soups is double boiling: putting all the ingredients in the empty pumpkin, transfering pumpkin into the large pot with water and boiling it on a low heat during 4-5 hours.
The most popular dishes:
- Chicken with a white cut
- Barbecue meat
- Dim sum
It is the second popular cuisine in China. In Chagshu Province and the largest Chinese city Shanghai cook very sophisticated dishes that is often served on governmental banquets. The delicate cooking and dish presentation techniques add peculiarity to this cuisine.
Additionally, this cuisine is considered the healthiest because of the wide usage of medical herbs. The most commonly used spices: black vinegar, water oaks, medical herbs, garlic, shallot onion and ginger.
Tsetang Province borders with Shanghai and is situated on the south from Changshu, thus their cuisines are similar. However, their dishes undergo less processing and have sweeter taste.
They usually use a lot of bamboo sprouts that bring freshness to any dish. Also, shallot onion, black vinegar, garlic, ginger and brown sugar are the most popular spices in the region.
People from this province often soak food in strong rice vodka heated to 52 degrees. After that the dish is considered ready.
There is also one peculiar recipe in this region that is called ‘chicken for poor’. Meat is marinated, rolled into leaves, coated with clay and baked. The clay is broken before eating.
Additionally, they often cook turtles that is considered very useful for health. Thankfully to numerous freshwater shrimps in the region, they are often cooked boiled in the green tea. The most popular dessert is fried banana.
The cuisine of this province is famous for its soups and seafood, that are spiced in such way that all the spices can be tasted without mouth numbness. Thankfully to the combination of mountains and sea, the dishes become unusually tasty.
The most common spices: green onion, fish sauce, red yeast rice, garlic, chinese coriander, and ginger.
This province welcomes simple ways of cooking. The most common ones are blanching and steam boiling. Namely here has appeared ‘Chicken three glasses’ recipe. For the recipe is needed 1 cup of sugar, salt and vinegar. Then chicken should be marinated in those spices and stewed in the pot for 10-12 hours. Additionally, garlic, mushrooms, and ginger can be added.
Shandong became on of the first civilized regions and set culinary tendencies to other northern provinces. Owing to the sea, the seafood became the base of cuisine in the region. Here they try to preserve natural taste by using simple products and stewing.
Unlike southern provinces, here is actively used salt, vinegar, wheat and wheat flour that they add to the noodles.
The popular spices are: green onion, white vinegar, onion, sweet pepper and ginger. Stewing and fast roasting are the commonly used techniques of the region.
This cuisine is not very popular outside of China. Mountains here serve as the main source of wild products and herbs. Anhui cuisine uses only local ingredients that is why all dishes are always fresh.
Local inhabitants like to use fermented tofu. They also cook turtles, mainly adding their meat into soups. For the taste enhancement they like to add ham.
The main products are mushrooms, wild herbs, medical herbs, garlic, green onion and ginger.
If we were to consider Sichuan cuisine spicy, then this one is even spicier. However, it has a different type of spiciness that does not lead to numbness.
The majority of inhabitants has the pots with red pepper at their homes, which they sometimes even carry when travelling. Their receptors are changed to such extent that the food without pepper seems to them tasteless.
Cooking techniques include dry roasting and cooking meals in the beer. Here they don’t use expensive products but cook with more affordable ones. For example, soup from lotus seeds or cakes with pumpkin.
The most commonly used spices: shallot onion, black beans, rice vinegar, chili pepper and garlic.