What are the four major Chinese cuisines?

By Fei Gao on Dec 11, 2023

Cantonese cuisine

One of the four major Chinese cuisines, including Cantonese cuisine, Chaozhou cuisine, and Dongjiang cuisine, is represented by Cantonese cuisine. Cantonese cuisine absorbs the essence of various cooking styles and uses a wide range of ingredients, with an emphasis on seafood as delicacies, and exotic meats such as birds, rodents, and snakes. The selection of dishes also emphasizes freshness and tenderness, with light and refreshing flavors in summer and autumn, and rich and hearty flavors in winter and spring. In addition to focusing on fresh ingredients and immediate cooking, Cantonese cuisine also emphasizes maintaining the freshness of the ingredients during the cooking process. Cantonese cuisine has unique seasonings, commonly including oyster sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce, pearl sauce, sweet and sour sauce, and West sauce. The cooking methods are unique, including braising, poaching, and "ho" cooking. Representative dishes of Cantonese cuisine include: Three Snake Dragon Tiger Soup, Dragon Tiger Phoenix Snake Soup, oil-packed fresh shrimp, Eight Treasures Fresh Lotus in Lotus Bowl, oyster sauce mushrooms, Wazhangshan Rui, crispy skinned suckling pig, and more.

Lu Cuisine

Also known as Shandong cuisine, it is one of the four major Chinese cuisines. Shandong cuisine has a wide range of ingredients, meticulous selection of materials, and emphasizes fullness and practicality. It employs a comprehensive range of cooking methods and excels in soup-making, and is adept at using scallions for seasoning. Shandong cuisine has unique techniques for cooking seafood, especially in preparing delicacies from the sea. Representative dishes include: Braised Sea Cucumber with Scallions, Braised Wuchang Fish Eggs, Crab Roe with Shark's Fin, Dezhou Braised Chicken, and Walnut Meat in Milk Soup.

Sichuan cuisine

Sichuan cuisine, also known as Chuan Cuisine, is one of the four major Chinese cuisines. It is famous overseas for its spicy and numbing flavors and is reputed as "food in China, taste in Sichuan." Sichuan cuisine is known for its careful selection of ingredients, meticulous preparation, and diverse seasonings, especially its wide variety of flavors, earning it the reputation of "hundred dishes, hundred flavors." Common flavor profiles include fish-fragrant, five-spice, peculiar taste, spicy and numbing, and sour and spicy. Prominent dishes include Shredded Pork in Garlic Sauce, Kung Pao Chicken, Spicy and Numbing Frog, Peculiar Taste Chicken, Mapo Tofu, and Dry-Fried Yellow Croaker.

Huaiyang cuisine

Huaiyang cuisine incorporates the essence of dishes from the Jiangnan region, including Yangzhou, Zhenjiang, Huaian, and other areas, and represents the distinctive flavor of Jiangsu cuisine. Huaiyang cuisine emphasizes the use of fresh and tender ingredients, meticulous preparation with attention to knife skills, light and delicate seasoning to emphasize the original flavors, a focus on soup-making for fresh flavors, vibrant and pleasing colors, as well as beautiful and innovative presentations that are vivid and lifelike. Famous dishes include Drunken Chicken, Sweet and Sour Mandarin Fish, Sliced Chicken with Egg White, Salted Duck, Braised Meatballs with Crab Roe, and Steamed Shad.


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