Cantonese cuisine or Guangzhou cuisine, also called Yue Cuisien,is from Guangdong Province in Southern China. Of all the regional varieties of Chinese cuisine, Cantonese is renowned both inside and outside China. It enjoys great prestige among the eight great traditions of Chinese cuisine.
Hsitory of Guangdong Cuisne
Cantonese cuisine originates from Lingnan (southern Chinese), and it is composed of Guangzhou cuisine, Chaozhou cuisine, Dongjiang cuisine. Although Guangzhou cuisine starts late, it is the representation of Cantonese cuisine. Cantonese cuisine enjoys great reputation among the eight great traditions of Chinese cuisine. When it comes to Chinese cuisine in Hong Kong, Macau, and even the whole world mainly refers to Cantonese cuisine.
Three Branches of Guangdong Cuisine
Guangdong cuisine has three branches: Guangzhou, Chaozhou and Dongjiang. Guangdong cuisine dominated by Guangzhou style is becoming increasingly popular across the country.
Guangdong Cuisine offers more than 2,000 kinds of dishes, which represent all strong points of various cuisine styles in China. Prepared with high-quality materials, and varied ingredients, Guangzhou Cuisine is composed of light, delicious, refreshing and nutritious dishes with sour, sweet, bitter, spicy, salty and delicious tastes. Many dishes are good to the people‘s health.
Chaozhou food is similar to Fujian cuisine because Chaozhou neighbors Fujian Province. It stresses seafood and many dishes are served in soup. Its flavors are thick, delicious, and sweet. Cooks like to use fish sauce, hot sauce and red vinegar.
Dongjiang Hakka Cuisine which are popular in Heyuan region, are known as Hakka Cuisine. Fat, salty and well done, many dishes of Hakka Cuisine can help nourish yin, qi and the kidney, reduce heat, clear the lung, brighten the eyes, and improve the skin. Famous dishes include Dongjiang Salted Chicken, Dongjiang Bean Curd with Filling, Salty and Fragrant Chicken, Crystal Duck, Mandarin Fish in Soup, Steamed Chicken, Beef Set Meal, Delicacies from Xingang Lake, in addition to local refreshments, such as Bawanghua Rice Noodles, and Niujin Cake.Dongjiang food, which is represented by Huizhou food, emphasizes domestic animals and poultry. Its dishes are slightly salty with simple sauces.
Features of Guangdong Cuisine
Cantonese cuisine features its diverse ingredients and cooking techniques. The raw materials for Cantonese cuisine are also very plentiful. “The Chinese eat everything with four legs, except tables, and everything that flies except airplanes” is the most suitable expression of the variety of Cantonese cuisine.
With the advantages of all delicacies from all over the country, Guangdong Cuisine has gradually formed its own characteristics - using a wide variety of ingredients, offering food of all tastes, shapes and colors, good at changing, and serving light food in summer and autumn, and strong and mellow food in winter and spring. It emphasizes flavors which are clear but not light, refreshing but not common, tender but not crude, and shiny but not oily. Guangdong Cuisine features sour, bitter, spicy and delicious tastes with a clear and fragrant smell.
Typical Cooking Methods of Guangdong Cuisine
The most characteristic cooking methods of Guangdong Cuisine are cooking in wine, cooking in salt, baking in a pan, and soft- frying.
Cooking in wine means the main ingredient is steamed in alcoholic vapor. The most typical dish is twin pigeons cooked in rose wine. Two cleaned pigeons on two chopsticks are placed in an earthen bowl so as to keep them away from the bottom. Place a cup of rose wine between the pigeons, then put the bowl inside an iron pot and heat the pot until the pigeons are well done. Half a cup of wine will remain without the slightest smell of wine, but the pigeons will have acquired an appealing fragrance of rose wine.
Cooking in salt means the preserved ingredient (a whole chicken, for example) is buried in heated salt until it is well done. The most famous of these dishes is Salt – Cooked Chicken from Dongjiang.
Baking in a pan means the ingredients are put in an iron pan with a cast iron lid. The pan is covered with a red – hot cast – iron lid and heated until the dish is done. A typical dish of this type is baked egg.
Soft – frying is another unique cooking method of the Guangdong cuisine. The main ingredients are liquid or semi – liquid, such as fresh milk and minced chicken. The technique is: heat the pan over a hot fire, then pour some oil in the pan to coat the bottom, Add a little more oil and stir in the ingredients over a medium to low fire. Typical dishes are stir – fried fresh milk and stir – fried eggs.
Dishes of Guangdong Cuisine
For many people of Canton, everything that walks, crawls, flies, or swims is edible, such as cat, snake, honeybee pupae and so on. In order to esteem the eating habits of other areas, some of materials are eliminated. Therefore, a lot of strange food no longer appears to today’s Canton cuisines.There are some famous dishes in Guangzhou, Herere just list some of them.Fried Bean Curd,Fresh Shrimps,Baiyun Pig's Trotters,Roast Piglet with Crisp Skin,Dongjiang Salted Chicken,Refreshing Beef Balls ,Baiye Chicken,Fried Jelly Fish.