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Chinese cuisines

  1. Jul 15, 2006 #1


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    Can anyone expain what the characteristics are of the different Chinese cuisines? Cantonese/Sichuan/Huaiyang/Shandong/Shanghai/Mandarin

    Today I ate at a Cantonese restaurant that is highly prized, but I thought the food was tasteless. Also, I asked for a vegetarian soup, they gave me tomato soup with chicken :confused: I guess I need to avoid Cantonese and go Sichuan for spicy foods.
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  3. Jul 15, 2006 #2


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    Cantonese is very bland. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cantonese_cuisine

    Cantonese cuisine can be characterized by the use of very mild and simple spices in combination. Ginger, spring onion, sugar, salt, soy (soya) sauce, rice wine, corn starch and oil are sufficient for most Cantonese cooking. Garlic is used heavily in dishes especially with internal organs that have unpleasant odors, such as entrails. Five-spice powder, white pepper powder and many other spices are used in Cantonese dishes, but usually very lightly. Cantonese cuisine is sometimes considered bland by those used to thicker, richer and darker sauces of other Chinese cuisines.

    Sichuan http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sichuan_cuisine

    Szechuan cuisine (Chinese:) is a style of Chinese cuisine originating in the Sichuan province of western China which has an international reputation for being spicy and flavorful

    Shandong http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shandong_cuisine

    Shandong cuisine is consisted of two styles:

    Jiaodong style: dishes from Fushan, Qingdao, Yantai and surrounding regions. This style is characterized in seafood cooking, and taste is light.

    Jinan style: dishes from Jinan, dezhou, Taian and surrounding regions. This style is famed for its soup and utilizing soups in its dishes.

    Shanghai http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shanghai_cuisine

    Shanghai does not have a definitive cuisine of its own, but refines those of the surrounding provinces (mostly from adjacent Jiangsu and Zhejiang coastal provinces). What can be called Shanghai cuisine is epitomized by the use of alcohol. Fish, eel, crab, and chicken are "drunken" with spirits and usually served raw. Salted meats and preserved vegetables are also commonly used to spice up the dish.

    Mandarin http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mandarin_cuisine

    Beijing cuisine is a cooking style in Beijing, China. It is also formally known as Mandarin cuisine.

    However, some generalization of Bejing cuisine can be characterized as follows: the food taste crisp, and flavor is salty, sweet, sour, and chili, utilizing sauces, including dark soy paste. In terms of cooking method, methods relating to the different way of frying is often used. Mandarin food is heavily influenced by other provinces' food.

    Huai Yang http://www.chinavista.com/culture/cuisine/huaiyangdish/huaiyang2.html

    Su or Huai Yang Cuisine began during the Pre-Qin Period, becoming very famous during the sui and Tang dynasties, and was recognized as a distinct regional style during the Ming and Qing dynasties. Raw materials include fresh and live aquatic products. The carving techniques are delicate, of which the melon carving technique is especially well-known. Cooking techniques: stew, braise, roast, simmer etc. The flavor of Huai Yang cuisine is light, fresh and sweet. Famous dishes are stewed crab with clear soup, long boiled dry shredded meat, duck triplet, crystal meat, squirrel with mandarin fish, and Liangxi crisp eel.
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2006
  4. Jul 15, 2006 #3


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    Well, that explains the bland dish :wink: on the menu it said it was seaweed, with bambooshoots, mushrooms and vegetables. In fact it was a mushrooms with mushrooms with mushrooms, with a few bamboo shoots, carrots and a tiny dash of a thread-like seaweed and lots of cornstarch (it tasted like everything came from a can).

    Wikipedia has the answer to everything:
  5. Jul 15, 2006 #4
    a guy at work was a chef at 5-star restaurants for about 10 years & he told me once that the food served at chinese restaurants in the west is like 'fast food' in china. it's like mcdonald's versions of everything, which might also explain the blandness.
  6. Jul 15, 2006 #5


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    That's what kills me about all the Americans that "love" Thai food. It's "not" Thai. I've been to Thailand, the food there is nothing like the American version.
  7. Jul 15, 2006 #6
    I eat chinese food, but I generally don't like it. It's tasteless yuck to me.
  8. Jul 15, 2006 #7
  9. Jul 15, 2006 #8
    General Tso, Colonel Sanders, why the militant attitude towards food??
  10. Jul 16, 2006 #9
    gotta eat teh spicy stuff or teh sweet and spicy stuff

    szechuan & hunan(my mom's native province) are probably the two best styles to try and eat. If you ever visit hamilton ontario there's a place called "le chinois" on main or king street in the downtown area that i like to go to.

    Things i like to eat at a restaurant(excluding things from dimsum)
    for soups: Sharkfin or "Hot and Sour"
    for noodles: shanghai noodles(kinda tasteless) or the cantonese fried noodles(just cuz its crispy).
    for dishes: Honey Chicken, Spicy Fried Squid, Spicy Hunan Beef,
    and a type of spicy pork/bamboo shoot combo called(yue shung ro si), Spicy shrimp.
  11. Jul 16, 2006 #10


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    I've been to authentic chinese restaurants in the US so I know what it should taste like, in the Netherlands it is impossible: any restaurant you go to is an Indonesian/Chinese restaurant and the dishes are anything from Chinese and have a fast-food air over them. The restaurant yesterday was a huge improvement, I was excited to see seaweed on the menu, affortunately it was a disappointment.

    There are two pointers to a good chinese restaurant: there are many Chinese people inside and there are weird dishes on the menu like chicken claws or bowel soup :wink:
  12. Jul 16, 2006 #11
    "There are two pointers to a good chinese restaurant: there are many Chinese people inside and there are weird dishes on the menu like chicken claws or bowel soup"

    I'll agree with the second point that weird things should be on the menu..but i don't know about the first. I guess the first would depend on the cooking style and maybe the country
  13. Jul 16, 2006 #12
    Well I have been to chinese restaurants in the US, Netherlands and China. There are definitly some restaurants in the Netherlands that make ok Chinese food. Also the opposite is true, the American taste for chinese food ("Panda express" type food) is not particularly authentic either.

    Of course things are very funny in the Netherlands, people order dishes they think are chinese but are really Indonesian. Don't blame it on the Chinese restaurants. What are they supposed to say when people come and want to order ther favorite "chinese" food such as "Sate", "Babi Pangang", "Nasi Rames" etc. :smile:
  14. Jul 16, 2006 #13
    Well, i am a chinese from Malaysia. Went to UK for study and tried out some of those so called chinese/thai/japanese restaurant but it is so not true. The taste been altered so much that they are just to suit the local people taste. Totally bad in taste in my opinion, nothing like the real taste from origin. It is like too sweet or sour , the spicy is not at all spicy......

    Edit: Oh but in chinatown, u are able to find a few good restaurant thou. Luckily....
  15. Jul 16, 2006 #14


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    Is beef in black bean sauce authentic chinese food?
  16. Jul 16, 2006 #15
    Taiwanese food is kind of nice.
  17. Jul 16, 2006 #16
    Umm, not sure about this thou. Not very common in my area. Probably somewhere in china. Although black bean sauce is quite common to use on dishes, like on fish and toufu.
  18. Jul 17, 2006 #17
    Cantonese food is only good with very fresh ingredients. But very overrated anyway. But i can say the "chinese" food in the west aint the real thing.
  19. Jul 17, 2006 #18


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    I was a little concerened when I went to a Chinese restaraunt, and the "catch of the day" was Calico or Persian.
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