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Other Chinese Cuisine

Chinese food can be divided into eight major cuisines: Shandong, Sichuan, Guangdong, Jiangsu, Fujian, Zhejiang, Hunan and Anhui cuisines. Due to the differences in geography and cookery styles, each province prepares and serves food in its own distinctive way. While staying in Beijing, you will have access to all these delicious foods.

If you are unsure which dish you would like to try, consult our list below, where we give a brief introduction to the eight major cuisines.

 Guangdong Cuisine: It was created by the Cantonese in Southeast China. The food is apt to be fried, deep-fried or braised but should not be greasy. With the emphasis on delicate flavors, it does not use heavy spices. An abundance of raw meats are used and some of them can be quite unusual, such as snakes and suckling mice. Stewed Snake and Wild Cat with Chicken, Snake Soup, Roast Sucking Pig, Fried Beef in Oyster Sauce and Fried Prawn with Ketchup are specialties.

 Shandong Cuisine: Shandong Province in northeast of China adjoins the Pacific Ocean, so its signature dishes contain seafood. It is inclined to be salty, fresh, crispy and tender; and it contains Chinese onion and garlic. The Sweet and Sour Carp, Braised Whelk in Brown Sauce, Clear Soup with Bird's Nest and Baked Prawn are typical dishes.

 Sichuan Cuisine: Authentic Sichuan food is mainly salty, soured and especially hot. Chili, pepper, Chinese Prickly Ash and fresh ginger are necessary in the cooking process; as a result, some dishes can cause numbness in the mouth. The spicy dishes are mainly stir-fried and have a variety of flavors with different mixed seasonings. High up on the menu are the Chicken with Spicy Hot Sauce, Chicken Cubes with Peanuts, Ma Po Tofu and Fish-Flavored Pork.

 Jiangsu Cuisine: As Jiangsu Province is located within reach of the Yangtze River and the vast sea, this cuisine favors aquatic animals as the meat for its dishes. However, please do not expect a luxurious dish from Jiangsu food, for its seafood is usually fish-oriented but good to the taste. With stewing, braising and simmering as key methods of cooking, these bring out the natural flavor of the ingredients. Representative dishes are Lion's Head (pork balls), Stewed Crab Meat, Stewed Turtle with Clear Soup and Braised Duck Stuffed with Shark's Fin.

 Zhejiang Cuisine: This is a combination of the Hangzhou, Ningbo and Shaoxing food although the Hangzhou food is the best-known of the three. It is fresh, tender and perfectly fragrant, but not greasy. Famous dishes are the Stir-Fried Prawn with Green Tea, West Lake Vinegar Fish, and Beggar's Chicken (roast chicken wrapped in lotus leaves and mud).

 Fujian Cuisine: Fujian cuisine takes full advantage of its geographical location by making use of seafood. It stresses a sweet and soured flavor. The most famous dish is the Buddha-Jumping-over-the-Wall which is a simmered mixture of seafood, chicken, duck, and pork.

 Hunan cuisine: Similar to Sichuan Cuisine, these dishes are characterized by saltiness, pungency and sourness. But it boasts of more diverse cooking methods, including the simmering, stewing, steaming and stir-frying. Typical dishes are the Zuyan Shark's Fin, Dong'an Chicken, Chicken with Chili, Lotus Seeds in Sugar Candy, Steamed Multiple Preserved Hams.

 Anhui Cuisine: Crisp, tender and fresh to the taste, Anhui Cuisine pays much attention to its ingredients, dietary cure recipes and a natural taste. It is particular about controlling the temperature for a certain dish. It boasts more than fifty cooking techniques and the distinctive ones are stewing in clear soup and smoking. It is best presented by the courses Roast Chicken, Stewed Soft Shell Turtle with Ham, Steamed Stone Frog and Bamboo Shoots with Sausage and Mushroom.

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