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Ala Luke: Let's briefly talk about the regions of Chinese cooking. There are literally several dozens of regional cooking within China. But we in the US specifically tastes a handful of these regional areas. It's really impossible all the different regional cooking throughout China, but what are some of the most popular regions in Chinese cooking.
Chu-Yen Luke: As you mentioned before there are many region in China, each region has own style of cooking. There are four most popular region of Chinese cooking, they are Guaugzhou, Szechuan, Beijing and Shanghai. Let me quickly point out the basic different between the style and taste of these regions. Guaugzhou, also known as Cantonese style. Cantonese style is the most widely recognizable style in Chinese cuisine. The seasoning of this region is milder and subtle, therefore is more desirable in Chinese as well as the westerner, than any other region of the China.
This region is very close to the coastal area, and thus seafood dishes like lobster, crab, shrimp are the predominant cuisines of the region. These ingredient tend to steam with green onions and ginger or stir fried. Even the sauces are created from seafood are present in the maturity of these dishes.
Szechuan or Sichuan, however is probably the most known, for its been hot and spicy. Different chili and spices are grown throughout the region. They are usually free of many -- use freely in many of the meal. Salt is really used, because it was difficult to mine natural salt deposit in the early time in history. But many of these seasonings are used to make food stronger and more nutritious. The food from this region is quite different from all the other of China, due to the peppery taste. Their food contain more meat than the Cantonese style.
Beijing, while the city of Beijing served as a capital of China. The best chef from each region were invited to cater to the government staffs. As a result each chef contributed his own region, uniqueness, style, flavor and give the Beijing style the identity that was a combination of all China. Beijing style cooking often incorporated the use of lots of onions and quick stir fry techniques.
Usually the onions are par cooked in oil prior to adding to other ingredients. The saltiness and richness become a defining character of Beijing style ever since. Some of the well known dishes are Beijing duck, Mo Shu Pork and more.
Shanghai, Shanghai most distinct identity of use of dark soy sauce and just abandon use of sugar and wine. Shanghai dishes are usually slightly sweeter. Some of the main dishes from Shanghai region are, shrimp based in sauce, stir fry prawn with dragon well tea and boiled shrimp in with sesame oil. The shanghai cuisine uses rice in a vast majority of the dishes. Other signature Shanghai cooking is called, one meal dish, that is in rice steam with pear or marinated meat. More often wine is used as marinate, and rice is often used as stuffing, while the lotus leaves are frequently used as a wrapping material for steamed fish, meat and rice.