Perhaps one of the first things that should be mentioned about Chinese cuisine is how much it differs from western cuisine. The primary difference of Chinese cuisine is usually attributed to a difference in staple crops (for the Chinese this is usually rice), and livestock (The Chinese eat primarily fish chicken and pork, and rarely eat beef). These differences alone however, do not explain all the differences between Chinese and western cuisine. One aspect of particular importance are the differences due to the differing beliefs and values that the Chinese have. One of the main aspects of Chinese Cuisine is that the food is already cut into bite-sized pieces so that they can be easily picked up using chopsticks. The Chinese do not believe in cutting food up at the table because the utensils necessary to do so, fork and knives, are considered weapons. Furthermore, it is considered impolite to have guests cut their own food, thus making dishes served in bite-sized pieces the norm.
[...] The Cantonese Culinary School relies on several different types of sauces, but tend to be of a lighter and thus blander taste, compared to sauces used in other Chinese cuisines, such as the Sichuan Culinary School. The main ingredients of Cantonese sauces include spring onions, sugar, salt, soy sauce, rice wine, corn starch, vinegar and sesame oil among other oils. Sometimes garlic is used heavily, especially when serving dishes that may emit unpleasant odors, such as internal organs. A few examples of important Cantonese sauces include Hoisin sauce, Oyster Sauce, Sweet and Sour sauce, Black bean paste, and others. [...]
[...] Out of these, the four most influential styles that represent Chinese Cuisine best are Cantonese, Sichuan, Shandong, and Huaiyang (which is a major style of Jiangsu cuisine). Sometimes, Chinese cuisine is said to have ten styles, which include Beijing cuisine and Shanghai cuisine as well. For this paper we will focus mainly on the primary eight. We still start with the Anhui culinary school, and work down on the western culinary schools before focusing on the eastern culinary schools that border the sea. [...]
[...] It is known as the land of fish and rice, thus the Jiangsu Culinary School has access to a variety of ingredients from both land and sea. Jiangsu cuisine is known for its high standards in selecting ingredients, as well as the color and shape of the dishes. The dishes of Jiangsu cuisine are characterized by its softness and tenderness, but at the same time still maintaining its cohesion and thus not falling apart. Fresh aquatic products are often used, along with carefully selected tea leaves, bamboo shoots, mushrooms and dates. [...]
[...] Be it the light taste of Cantonese Cuisine which brings out the freshness of the ingredients, or the Spicy yet flavorful Sichuan cuisine which is full of taste and seasoning, or the excellence in taste and color of the Jiangsu cuisine, or one of the other five Culinary Schools one is guaranteed to find a style that they enjoy. Due to this variety of styles, it is hard to generalize Chinese Cuisine. Each style holds its own personality and emphasizes different aspects in the preparation, the presentation and the consumption of dishes. [...]
[...] The main intent of Fujian cuisine is to make the dish flavorful without masking the flavor of the main ingredients with spices and sauces. The cooking methods employed often complex, but creates a subtle and refined taste. Of particular importance in Fujian cuisine is the soup, as it is their belief that every meal should have a soup. The Fujian Culinary School is also further subdivided into three different styles. The Fuzhou style is light compared to the other two styles, and often mixes sweet and sour flavors. [...]
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