A guide to Chinese food – Start over and forget everything you know about Chinese food; there is much more to Chinese cuisine than what we are used to seeing in the West. It makes obvious that a large and diversified country like China would have a cuisine culture to match. There’s always something new to try, from spiciness in Chengdu’s Sichuan hot pots to arguably the first burger in Xian.
Eating is only part of the journey, though. We can arrange for you to take part in cooking lessons and food tours, where you can learn the skills, stories and traditions behind Chinese cooking. Read more articles about Malaysian Blogs!
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China’s regional cuisines
Local food usually tastes better than in big cities despite access to diverse Chinese cuisine. In China, there are various regional specialties and cooking techniques, although they may generally be categorized geographically into the following:
- The north
- The south
- The west
- The east
Popular Chinese dishes
Dumplings are a well-liked Chinese snack that come in two major varieties. Baozi are typically loaded with meat, veggies, or sweet bean paste and cooked in bamboo baskets. They are circular and rather large. Jiaozi are smaller moon-shaped pastries filled with minced meat and finely chopped vegetables. They are offered fried, steaming, or boiled.
You can also find xiao long bao (soup dumplings) in Shanghai. They are medium-sized and loaded with fat that melts into a broth as they cook. To prevent broth leakage, eat bamboo steamed dough with a spoon or chopsticks in a bowl.
Hot pot in Sichuan
Shareable Sichuan hot pot is a joyful, spicy experience cooked at the table, best at local eateries.
Xian/Chinese burger called Roujiamo
This popular street food treat, which is comparable to a hamburger or kebab in China, was invented in the Shaanxi province. The ideal location to sample one is in Xian, the provincial capital.
An actual roujiamo is a leavened pitta bread (or “mo”) packed with hand-shredded lamb or pig and bell pepper and baked in a traditional clay oven. Hours will have passed as the beef was simmered in a broth that was heavily spiced and seasoned.
The use of tofu in Chinese cuisine was one of my major discoveries. Here, tofu is considerably more revered and frequently the centerpiece of a dish rather than the meat substitute it is in the West. It can be prepared in a variety of ways and comes in all different sizes, shapes, and consistencies.
Food experiences in China
Cooking class in the hutongs of Beijing
The Beijinger Kitchen is located in the hutong area of Beijing, which is made up of a labyrinth of winding alleyways and adjacent courtyard homes where inhabitants have resided since the medieval Yuan period. The property dates back about 300 years. I enrolled in a small group class taught by the owner of the kitchen and a skilled local chef, who demonstrated Chinese cooking methods and discussed Chinese food culture.
Lost Plate food tour of Xian by tuk-tuk
This culinary tour is my favorite since it concentrates on real, family-run restaurants where you can eat with locals and employ generations-old recipes.
The added benefit of taking a tuk-tuk between destinations is that you may explore the 5 km (3 miles) of Xian’s winding side alleyways and lanes while stopping at eateries and food vendors that are otherwise hard to find.
Cooking class in a traditional farmhouse in Yangshuo’s countryside
Villages and small towns in rural China have their unique culinary customs, methods, and recipes that have survived the ages. In order to learn more about the cuisine of Guangxi province, I traveled to Yangshuo, which is located on the banks of the Li River and encircled by massive limestone karsts.
Touring Hong Kong’s food markets
Hong Kong’s Kowloon markets display a more conventional Chinese side to this contemporary, global city. While they sell everything from jade and flowers to caged birds and goldfish, some of the most atmospheric markets are those where locals go to buy food.