Did you know?
There are eight culinary regions in China; Cantonese (Hong Kong), Szechuan, Fujian (Taiwan), Hunan, Jiangsu, Shandong, Anhui, and Zhejiang. The most popular of these cuisines in the West are Szechuan and Cantonese.
In Northern China, wheat is consumed more than rice, and eaten in noodles and dumplings. In Southern China, rice is used extensively to make rice noodles and zongzi which is a sticky rice wrapped in leaves. Southern food is also typically spicier with extensive use of chili peppers.
Tea has played an integral part in Chinese culture and history and served with almost every meal. When eating a bowl of rice, hold up to your mouth. Don’t tap your chopsticks against your bowl, or stick them vertically in it. And when seated to eat, allow elders to take up their chopsticks before you do.
What to eat
American-Chinese cuisine is typically deep fried meat smothered in a sticky sauce – this is NOT Chinese food! Try dim sum instead, the Cantonese breakfast/brunch of bite sized dishes, often served from carts. Have chrysanthemum tea with it.
Peking duck is a Beijing specialty and it’s all about the crispy skin, eaten with a crepe or steamed bun. Don’t be turned off by Chinese BBQ; restaurants will hang roasted pork, chicken, and duck in the window; they are all delicious with noodles or rice!
Other typical Chinese dishes to savor are hand pulled noodles, rice congee or porridge served with pickled vegetables and salted or century egg, mapo tofu, onion pancakes, claypot stews, wonton soup, bakkwa or meat jerky. Chinese desserts include egg tarts, soy jelly served with ginger syrup, and mooncakes during the harvest festival.