Chinese cuisine is considered one of the best in the world. Like Mexican, Chinese is not really one cuisine, there are several. Each region of this country, the most populous in the world, has very specific ways of cooking and flavors that predominate in their dishes.
In general, salty, spicy, sour, sweet and bitter flavors are the most representative in Chinese cuisine. In particular, spiciness predominates in the center and south of this country ; the salty , in the north and coastal areas ; the sweet in the east ; the acid in the south and the bitter in all the territory.
Furthermore, this cuisine is based on the principle of traditional medicine : all dishes are created with the aim of being beneficial to health.
The spicy taste, for example, is related to promoting blood circulation; the salty, with the improvement of digestion; the sweet with the toning of the body and the improvement of the mood (serotonin!); the sour to quench diarrhea and thirst, and the bitter to strengthen the stomach and promote salivation.
To celebrate and recognize Chinese cuisine, we share 11 traditional dishes that give this country its identity. These are popular among Chinese and foreigners and their consumption is increased during the New Year celebrations for their symbolic meaning and the good luck they bring with them.
Sweet and sour pork
It is bright orange-red in color and tastes between sweet and bitter. Although the most popular is pork, it can also be prepared with chicken and beef. This dish is common in the cuisine of the Zhejiang, Shandong, Sichuan and Guangdong regions.
The pork pieces are marinated in a mixture of salt, starch, soy sauce, and egg white. They are also prepared with tomato sauce, sugar, vinegar and coriander.
Chicken Gong Bao or Kung Pao
It is a Sichuan specialty and the main ingredients are cubed chicken, dried chili and fried peanuts. It is cooked with garlic, ginger, oil, beans, wine, starch, soy sauce, and sugar. In the West this dish has a variant: the chicken is covered with cornstarch and vegetables, sweet and sour sauce and garlic puree.
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Ma Po Tofu
It is one of the most famous Chuan dishes and has a history of more than 100 years. Its spicy flavor comes from pepper powder, a type of seasoning widely used in cooking in this region. Sometimes the tofu is enriched with red-brown ground meat and chopped green onion.
The Chinese say that if you go to Sichuan and haven’t tried Ma Po, you haven’t really visited this region. This dish is not only popular in China, but also in Japan, Singapore and other Asian countries.
Since the Tang dynasty, wontons have been consumed during the winter solstice. They are shaped like little bags (made of wheat flour, water and salt) and are commonly served in boiled soup, although they can also be fried, stuffed with pork or shrimp. The difference between a wonton and a dumpling is that the dough in the former is much smaller and thinner than in the latter.
They are fried noodles (commonly rice) with chicken, beef, shrimp, or pork, cooked with onion and celery. To make this dish, the noodles need to be cooked in boiling water and once dry, they are fried. The wonderful thing about this dish is that it can also be made with vegetables, seafood, and various types of noodles. It is one of the popular dishes in Guangdong , but you can find it on the menu of all Chinese and world restaurants.
These delicacies are more than 1,800 years old! Dumplings are a very popular food in North China and a must for Chinese New Year’s Eve. What are they? A kind of wheat flour dough empanadas filled with minced pork, chicken, beef, shrimp and vegetables. They can be prepared boiled, steamed or fried.
Considered one of China’s national dishes, roast duck is one of the most famous in the Chinese capital, Beijing, appreciated for its thin, crispy skin and very soft and juicy meat. The Peking duck slice is often eaten with pancakes, sweet soy bean sauce, or with garlic puree. “If you go to Beijing there are two things to do: see the Great Wall and eat roast duck.”
Also, the way to serve it is wonderful. First, the chef presents the cooked duck to diners and then removes it for slicing. The duck slices are eaten as a taquito, in a kind of crepe with chives, a sweet sauce and fresh cucumbers.
They are cylindrical Cantonese hors d’oeuvres filled with vegetables or meat, sweet or savory. They are called like this because they are wrapped in spring rolls that once filled are fried, which gives them the golden color that characterizes them.
They are also popular in Jiangxi, Jiangsu, Shanghai, Fujian, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong, and are eaten especially during New Years and to welcome spring.
Niangao or glutinous rice cake
It is a popular dessert that was originally offered in ritual ceremonies. It is customary to prepare it in the New Year as an amulet for good fortune at work and in the year in general. Its special ingredients are agglutinated rice, sugar, chestnuts, Chinese dates and lotus leaves.
Tangyuan and sweet rice
Also common in the New Year, especially in the southern region, they symbolize the unity of the family.