Traditional Chinese food is considered as the most popular culinary heritage in the world. With a long history (about 1000 years), numerous cooking styles, unique techniques, and exquisite ingredients, Chinese cuisine plays an important role in Chinese culture. Especially, it includes specialties originating from the diverse regions and provinces of China, as well as from Chinese people in many parts of the world. Each dish is a well- balanced mixture of three traditional aspects such as appearance, aroma, and taste. When cooking, the Chinese focus on the aesthetic appearance of the food with diversified colors. Flavors and aroma are created by sauces and seasonings such as fish sauce, oyster sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, fresh ginger, etc. Besides, Chinese traditional cuisine is famous for its meaning, the way it is prepared, and nutrition – promotes health and longevity. The following are the most popular Chinese dishes. These dishes are available in most large restaurants in China as well as in all over the world.
When you think about traditional food in China, don’t miss Roast Beijing Duck (or Peking duck), because it is called “the first dish to taste in China”! As an iconic Chinese Cuisine as well as a national symbol for the country, Beijing Duck was one of the main dishes on imperial court menus in the Ming Dynasty during the 1970s. It consists of thin tender pieces of roasted duck meat with crispy skin. Beijing Duck is often eaten with some thin pancakes, sliced spring onions, fresh cucumbers, shallot, and garlic paste. There are a lot of different sauces you can enjoy such as hoisin, sweet bean, and plum flavors. Dadong Duck and Quanjude are two of the more famous Chinese Beijing Duck restaurants in China. They were formed in Beijing way back in the 20th century. This centuries-old imperial dish can be prepared and served in front of your eyes, which gives you an incredible experience. Despite the name tying the dish to Beijing, Peking duck restaurants can be found throughout China, and it is so good no matter where you travel. It is a must-taste dish in Beijing!
As the traditional dish eaten on Chinese New Year’s Eve, dumplings have been a traditional food widely popular in North China for more than 1800 years. Popular fillings are mince pork, diced shrimp, ground chicken, beef, and chopped vegetables wrapped into a thin piece of dough skin. The dough can be made from bread, flour or potatoes. Everything combines perfectly together to create a fulfilling and healthy meal. Dumplings can be baked, boiled, fried, simmered or steamed. The best way to eat them is dipping into soy sauce or vinegar with garlic to strengthen the flavor. Nowadays, there are a lot of variations of dumplings which cater for all tastes. The Chinese pronunciation of dumpling (Jiaozi) refers to the turning point between the old year and the new year. A dumpling is shaped like an ingot – the ancient Chinese money – the symbol of wealth. Eating dumplings is a great way to bring good luck in the coming new year. Making dumplings is also a fun way to bring family members to be close.
Red Braised Pork Belly
Red Braised Pork Belly (or Hong Shao Rou) is one of the classics of Chinese cuisine. Originated from the Chinese province of Hunan, it is famous for being a favorite dish of Mao Tse-tung, the founding father of China. The meat is boiled and dipped into a mixture of rice wine, sugar, and light and dark soy sauce. It is cooked with a combination of other ingredients such as ginger, garlic, aromatic spices, chili peppers, sugar, star anise. All the ingredients form a sweet, thick and fairly sticky sauce of red color in which the pork belly is cooked until tender. The dish has a truly gorgeous flavor with the soft gelatinous pork skin which melts easily in the mouth. It is generally served with steamed rice and stir-fried vegetables. In Chinese households, it represents a daily meal, but it is also served on special occasions. Nowadays, there are some additional ingredients include hard-boiled eggs, soft tofu, chili, or squid, etc.
Mapo Tofu is a popular Chinese dish from Sichuan Province with a history of more than 100 years. Today the dish has taken on many forms and spread around the world. This dish consists of a tofu set in a spicy sauce based on douban (fermented broad bean and chili paste) and douchi (fermented black beans). It is also enriched with red ground beef and chopped green onion. Nowadays, numerous variations exist with other ingredients such as water chestnuts, onions, wood ear fungus, and different spice levels. It is really a tasty dish that you should try when enjoying Chinese cuisine!