what are the 8 cuisines of china
  • September 18,2023

The heritage of Chinese cuisine is deeply rooted in its culture, geography, and history. It is a diverse and complex culinary art that has been refined over centuries, with each region of China producing its own unique cuisine. While there are many regional styles of cooking in China, there are eight cuisines that are considered most distinct and influential.

1. Cantonese Cuisine (Yue)

Cantonese cuisine originated in Guangdong province, southernmost region of China. Cantonese food is famous for its delicate, light, and slightly sweet flavors. The cuisine focuses on fresh seafood, poultry, and vegetables cooked with simple techniques like stir-frying, steaming, and boiling. Cantonese food is also known for its use of sauces, such as oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, and soy sauce.

2. Sichuan Cuisine (Chuan)

Sichuan cuisine hails from Sichuan province, located in southwestern China. It is known for its bold, spicy flavors, and is often called “numbing spice” cuisine. The use of Sichuan peppercorns and chili peppers gives dishes an extra kick. Sichuan cuisine also incorporates a variety of preserved foods, such as pickles and dried meats, as well as use of peanuts in many dishes.

3. Shandong Cuisine (Lu)

Shandong cuisine is considered most influential style of cooking in Northern China. It is known for its emphasis on seafood, particularly shellfish from Yellow Sea. Cooking techniques such as braising, deep-frying, and roasting are popular in Shandong cuisine. The flavors of Shandong cuisine are described as bold, salty, and savory.

4. Jiangsu Cuisine (Su)

Jiangsu cuisine is a refined style of cooking that hails from eastern China. It is considered one of most sophisticated and elegant of eight cuisines. Jiangsu cuisine focuses on use of fresh and seasonal ingredients, and preserves natural flavors of ingredients. The cooking techniques are delicate and precise, with a focus on braising and stewing. One of most famous dishes of Jiangsu cuisine is sweet and sour spare ribs.

5. Fujian Cuisine (Min)

Fujian cuisine is a coastal cuisine that draws influences from neighboring countries such as Taiwan, Japan, and Southeast Asia. It is known for its light and fragrant flavors, with an emphasis on seafood, soups, and stews. Fujian cuisine is also famous for its use of oyster sauce, which is often used in stir-frys and braised dishes.

6. Hunan Cuisine (Xiang)

Hunan cuisine is another spicy style of cooking that hails from central China. It is known for its bold, hot and sour flavors, with use of chili peppers, garlic, and ginger. Hunan cuisine also incorporates a variety of smoked and cured foods, such as pork belly and sausage. Stir-frying and steaming are most common cooking techniques used in Hunan cuisine.

7. Anhui Cuisine (Hui)

Anhui cuisine is a rustic style of cooking that is known for its use of wild herbs and vegetables. It is a cuisine that is deeply rooted in nature, using ingredients that reflect seasons. The flavors of Anhui cuisine are described as light, fresh and slightly sweet, with use of fermented soybean paste, bamboo shoots, and ham.

8. Zhejiang Cuisine (Zhe)

Zhejiang cuisine is a coastal cuisine that is known for its emphasis on fresh and seasonal ingredients, particularly seafood. It is a cuisine that is influenced by Hangzhou region, which is famous for its West Lake dishes. Zhejiang cuisine is known for its light, fragrant, and slightly sweet flavors, with a focus on braising and steaming.

In conclusion, diversity of Chinese cuisine is fascinating and awe-inspiring. The eight cuisines of China showcase history, geography, and culture of each region. As Chinese philosopher Confucius once said, “Food is first necessity of people”, and cuisine of China is a testament to its people's love of food.