The origin of the Chinese cuisine dates back to the ancient time (Shanggu period), about 1.7 million years ago when the ancient Chinese named Suirenshi, the inventors of the fire, began to cook he food on the fire. In Qing Dynasty, there was a Court Feast called Manhanquanxi, combining 108 dishes of Manchurian and Chinese delicacies. Up to today, the Chinese cuisine enters into a developed and mature state and becomes a form of culture with 60 thousand dishes.
The Chinese cooks always strive for the excellent dishes in color, aroma and taste to increase appetite, by using various ingredients and seasonings as well as the cookeries.
Ingredients and Seasonings
China is known over the seven seas as the gourmet kingdom for the amazing variety of ingredients and seasonings used in cuisine.
As the folk saying goes "we cook all the things with four legs expect the table, the things fly expect planes". It means that the ingredients in Chinese cuisine are surprisingly varied.
There are almost 100 kinds of commonly used seasonings in the kitchens, such as soy sauce, hot pepper, black pepper, monosodium, fennel, vinegar, cornstarch, sugar, cooking wine, ginger, the bud of the garlic, and sesame oil etc.
Cookery and Cuisine
There is a variety of cookeries in Chinese cuisine, such as fried, stewed, steamed, boiled, fried, exploded, stir-fried, quick-boiled, braised, stewed in soy bean and fumigated etc. From the Chinese cookery we can tell that most of the Chinese staple foods are cooked foods.
As China is vast in territory and varied in climate, the Chinese cuisines varied from north to south. That is why people in north China like the salty cuisine, while people in the south like the sweet; the people in Sichuan and Hunan Province like the hot and spicy cuisine, while the people in Guangdong Province like the light flavor.
The Chinese cuisines can be divided into 8 branches, namely Shangdong cuisine, Sichuan cuisine, Guangdong cuisine, Fujian cuisine, Jiangsu cuisine, Zhejiang cuisine, Hunan cuisine and Anhui cuisine.
Shandong Cuisine (Lu Cai) is known as the fine of election materials, fine blade, focusing on affordable, color variety, and characterized by use of onion ginger. The sweet and sour fish and Braised Whelk with Brown Sauce in this cuisine are the most popular.
Sichuan Cuisine (Chuan Cai) its features are spicy, fish-flavored, hot and sour, pepper hemp, use of vinegar and pepper. Representative dishes: fish-flavored pork, spicy tofu, kung-pao chicken etc.
Guangdong Cuisine (Yue Cai) is characterized by fresh, delicate and the smooth taste. Representative dishes: Sweet and sour pork, melon cup, Wenchang Chicken.
Fujian Cuisine (Min Cai), characters for delicate cooking, color appearance and fresh flavor. Representative dishes: sea food and poultry in casserole, scoring twice, snowflakes chickens.
Jiangsu Cuisine (Su Cai) is exquisite in the shape and purely fragrant yet not oily in taste. Representative dishes: Huaiyang Lionhead, Beggar Chicken and water boiled salted duck etc.
Zhejiang Cuisine (Zhe Cai) is famous for the fine slicing technique, and full of local flavor. Representative dishes: West Lake Vinegar Fish, Dongpo elbows, Longjing Shrimp, Braised bamboo shoots etc.
Hunan Cuisine (Xiang Cai) is done in the smoked, steamed way and tastes sour and spicy. Representative dishes: spicy chicken, spicy steamed together, Dongan chicken, ducks Dongting Lake, Farewell My Concubine, rock sugar Xiang-lian.
Anhui Cuisine (Hui Cai) is done by burning, stewing, steaming, stir-frying. The Anhui cuisine is oil-heavy, dense color but simple cost-effective.
The attitude to the food of the Chinese and the western people
The Chinese pursue the excellence of the color, aroma and taste of the food, while the westerners are particular care about the nutrition of what they eat.
The Chinese use only chopsticks to enjoy the delicacies, and sometimes they may ignore the sweet moment they are sharing with their families, while the westerners need at least one knife and fork, one cup and saucer for each person, and meanwhile they attach importance on enjoying the holy and joyful moment with their families.