How to Navigate the weird and wonderful world of Chinese cuisine
China is a country with a rich culinary heritage. With over 5,000 years of history, Chinese cuisine has developed into an art form. However, for those unfamiliar with Chinese cuisine, it can be overwhelming and confusing. Here are some tips on how to navigate the weird and wonderful world of Chinese cuisine.
1. Learn some basic Chinese dishes
The best way to understand Chinese cuisine is to start with the basics. Some well-known dishes to start with include:
– Peking Duck
– Kung Pao Chicken
– Hot and Sour Soup
– Egg Fried Rice
– Stir-Fried Vegetables
Once you have tried these dishes, you will get a sense of the flavor profiles and ingredients used in Chinese cooking.
2. Be adventurous
Chinese cuisine offers an endless array of dishes, many of which are not found in western cuisines. Don’t be afraid to try something new. Some unique dishes to try include:
– Stinky Tofu
– Sheep’s Brains
– Century Eggs
– Chicken Feet
– Fried Scorpions
While these dishes might sound daunting, they are worth trying at least once. Just make sure to have an open mind and a strong stomach.
3. Explore regional cuisines
China is a vast country with many regional cuisines. Each region has its own unique flavors and cooking styles. Some of the most popular regional cuisines include:
– Sichuan cuisine (known for its spicy flavors)
– Cantonese cuisine (known for its dim sum and sweet sauces)
– Shandong cuisine (known for its seafood)
– Hunan cuisine (known for its hot and sour flavors)
Exploring regional cuisines will give you a deeper appreciation for the diversity of Chinese cuisine.
4. Understand the importance of tea
Tea is an important part of Chinese culture. It is often served with meals and is believed to aid in digestion. Some popular types of Chinese tea include:
– Green tea
– Oolong tea
– Jasmine tea
– Pu-erh tea
If you are dining in a Chinese restaurant, it is likely that tea will be served alongside your meal. Don’t be afraid to ask the waiter for recommendations.
5. Embrace family-style dining
In Chinese culture, it is common to share dishes family-style. Multiple dishes are ordered and shared amongst the group. This allows everyone to taste a variety of dishes and is a great way to bond over food. If you are dining with a group, embrace family-style dining and try a variety of dishes.
In conclusion, Chinese cuisine can be intimidating for those unfamiliar with it. However, by starting with the basics, being adventurous, exploring regional cuisines, understanding the importance of tea, and embracing family-style dining, you can navigate the weird and wonderful world of Chinese cuisine with ease.