A Brief Introduction to Chinese Cuisine

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Something very important for Chinese culture is its cuisine, which is known worldwide and has even influenced others in Asia. Depending on the region these can vary the ingredients and how they are prepared. The Anhui, Cantonese, Fujian, Hunan, Jiangsu, Shandong, Szechuan, Zhejiang cuisines are the most outstanding in China.

Chinese cuisine is described by its color, smell and taste; it is not as difficult to prepare as some people may think. There are four characteristics or flavors of which a quality dish should have one or several, these are Xian, Nong, Xiang and You er bu ni. The culinary regions are very well differentiated since in the east they like the sour foods, in the south the sweet, in the west the spicy and in the north the salty food.

Regular meals consist mainly of a carbohydrate or starch such as bread, rice or noodles and as an accompaniment are vegetables, meats, fish, chicken or others. Chinese cuisine is considered an art because of its sophistication. The food utensils that are used are the classic "Chinese chopsticks" for solid foods and a wide spoon for liquid foods such as soups.

Rice is eaten a lot in China, but more so in the South. It is used in a great variety of dishes (especially the white rice). Even in the preparation of flours, beers, wines and more. However, in the North, they eat products made with flour such as bread and noodles.

Soy sauce is indispensable, China is known for its extensive use of it to add saltiness and flavor to different dishes. Among the condiments they use are garlic, ginger, chili, cilantro, sesame, cinnamon, star anise, fennel and others depending on the regions.

A variety of characteristic Chinese vegetables are used, some dried or pickled. Among them are mushrooms, green beans, peas, Chinese broccoli and eggplant, lotus roots, bamboo shoots, baby corn and more.

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