The Eight Chinese Cuisines
China is large, how many Chinese cuisines are there? Chinese cuisines have been divided into ‘Eight Great Cuisines’ (八大菜系bā bǎo cài xì). Each cuisine represents a certain region.
1, Shangdong Cuisine
With the longest history, Lu Cuisine is ranked #1 of the eight cuisines!
Lu Cai – 鲁菜 lǔ cài
Shandong Province (jinan, qingdao)
Two predominant styles: Jiaodong and Jinan.
Salty and crispy, using shallots & garlic, favoring braising and seafood.
Sweet and Sour Carp
Dezhou Braised Chicken
2, Sichuan Cuisine
Chuan Cai – 川菜
Sichuan Province (chongqing, chengdu)
Spicy, mouth-numbing, using lots of chili, fermented bean paste, Sichuan peppercorn.
Sichuan Hot Pot
3, Cantonese Cuisin
Yue Cai – 粤菜 yuè cài
Guangdong Province, Hong Kong and Macau
Sweeter, fresh, mild and natural taste.
Cantonese Steamed Fish
Cantonese-style shrimp dumplings
4, Jiangsu Cuisine
Su Cai – 苏菜 Sūcài
Jiangsu Province (Nanjing, Huai’an, Suzhou)
Umami, mild, slightly sweet, and natural, delicate dish appearance.
Sweet and Sour “Squirrel” Fish
5, Hunan Cuisine
Hunan Cai- 湘菜 Xiāngcài
Hunan Province (Changsha)
Quite spicy, hot, salty, preference for chili & fermented soya beans.
Fish Head with Chopped Chili
6, ZheJiang Cuisine
ZheJiang Cai – 浙菜 zhè cài
Zhejiang Province (Ningbo, Hangzhou,shaoxing)
Light and fresh, crisp and tender; good at controlling fire heat;
West Lake Fish in Vinegar Gravy
7, Anhui Cuisine
Anhui Province (the Yangtze and Huaihe rivers)
Salty and fresh, light, preserving the original flavor of ingredients;
Marinate Mandarin fish
8, Fujian/Min Cuisine
Min Cai-闽菜 Mǐncài
Fujian Province (Fuzhou, Quanzhou and Xiamen)
Umami, sweet and sour; special condiment red vinasse, sea food widely used.
Buddha/Monk Jumps Over the Wall
佛跳墙 (fó tiào qiáng) suggests that it’s so tantalizing that a monk would break all restraint and jump over the monastery wall to have a taste!
Which type of cuisine is your favorite? What other popular Chinese dishes and do you know? Let us know!
More about Chinese drinking culture you should know!