There are six different kinds of taste (by Chinese understanding). These translate to English as:
- Sweet 甜
- Sour 酸
- Bitter 苦
- Salty 咸
- Umami 鲜味
- Hot or Spicy 辛辣
EIGHT FAMOUS CHINESE CUISINES
Consisting of Jinan cuisine and Jiaodong cuisine, Shandong cuisine, clean, pure and not greasy, is characterized by its emphasis on aroma, freshness, crispness and tenderness. Shallots and garlic are frequently used as seasonings so Shandong dishes taste pungent. Soups are given much emphasis in Shandong cuisine.
Thin soups are clear and fresh while creamy soups are thick and taste strong. Jinan chefs are adept at deep-frying, grilling, pan-frying and stir-frying while Jiaodong chefs are famous for cooking seafood with a fresh and light taste.
Typical menu items: Bird’s Nest Soup; Yellow River Carp in Sweet and Sour sauce.
Sichuan Cuisine, known more commonly in the West as Szechuan Cuisine, is one of the most famous Chinese cuisines known to the world. Characterized by its spicy and pungent flavours, Pepper and prickly ash are always in accompaniment, producing the typical exciting tastes. Garlic, ginger and fermented soybean are also used in the cooking process.
Wild vegetables and meats are often chosen as ingredients, while frying, frying without oil, pickling and braising are used as basic cooking techniques.
It can be said that one who doesn’t experience Sichuan food has never got to China.
Typical menu items: Hot Pot; Smoked Duck; Kung Pao Chicken; Twice Cooked Pork; Mapo Tofu.
GUANGDONG CUISINE (CANTONESE CUISINE)
Tasting clean, light, crisp and fresh, Guangdong cuisine, familiar to Westerners, usually has fowl and other meats that produce its unique dishes. The basic cooking techniques include roasting, stir-frying, sauteing, deep-frying, braising, stewing and steaming. Steaming and stir-frying are most frequently used to preserve the ingredients’ natural flavours.
Guangdong chefs also pay much attention to the artistic presentation of their dishes.
Typical menu items: Shark Fin Soup (see pic); Steamed Sea Bass; Roasted Piglet.
Combining Fuzhou Cuisine, Quanzhou Cuisine and Xiamen Cuisine, Fujian Cuisine is renowned for its choice seafood, beautiful colour and magical tastes of sweet, sour, salt and savoury. The most distinct feature is their “pickled taste”.
Typical menu items: Buddha Jumping Over the Wall; Snow Chicken; Prawn with Dragon’s Body and Phoenix’s tail.
Jiangsu Cuisine, also called Huaiyang Cuisine, is popular in the lower reaches of the Yangtze River. Using fish and crustaceans as the main ingredients, it stresses their freshness. Its carving techniques are delicate, of which the melon carving technique is especially well known.
Cooking techniques consist of stewing, braising, roasting, and simmering. The flavour of Huaiyang Cuisine is light, fresh and sweet and its presentation is delicately elegant.
Typical menu items: Stewed Crab with Clear Soup, Long-boiled and Dry-shredded Meat, Duck Triplet, Crystal Meat, Squirrel Mandarin Fish, and Liangxi Crisp Eel.
Comprising local cuisines of Hangzhou, Ningbo, and Shaoxing, Zhejiang Cuisine is not greasy. It wins its reputation for freshness, tenderness, softness, and smoothness of its dishes with their mellow fragrance. Hangzhou Cuisine is the most famous one of the three.
Typical menu items: Sour West Lake Fish, Longjing Shelled Shrimp, Beggar’s Chicken.
Hunan cuisine consists of local cuisines of Xiangjiang Region, Dongting Lake and Xiangxi coteau areas. It is characterized by thick and pungent flavors. Chili, pepper and shallot are usually necessities in this variation.
Typical menu items: Dongan Chicken; Peppery and Hot Chicken.
Anhui Cuisine chefs focus much more on the temperature in cooking and are good at braising and stewing. Often ham will be added to improve taste and candied sugar added to gain freshness.
Typical menu items: Stewed Snapper; Huangshan Braised Pigeon.
FAMOUS FOODS OF THE WORLD AND THEIR HISTORY
Sandwiches, also known in the United Kingdom as pieces or sarnies, consist of a variety of fillings placed between two slices of bread. They appear in most cultures that make bread or close equivalents; the Italian version is Tramezzini and in French le sandwich.
Frequently eaten as a quick snack food, sandwiches are particularly popular at lunchtime. Almost 11 billion sandwiches are consumed every year in the United Kingdom alone. British commercially produced sandwiches form an industry worth £4.6 billion and employing over 320,000 people. These impressive statistics are still somewhat dwarfed by American sandwich consumption, which accounts for 45 billion sandwiches every year.
The first printed American menu which listed hamburger was an 1826 menu from Delmonico’s in New York.
Between 1871-1884, “Hamburg Beefsteak” was on the “Breakfast and Supper Menu” of the Clipper Restaurant at 311/313 Pacific Street in San Fernando. It cost 10 cents—the same price as mutton chops, pig’s feet in batter, and stewed veal. It was not, however, on the dinner menu, only “Pig’s Head” “Calf Tongue” and “Stewed Kidneys” were listed.
Hamburger Steak, Plain and Hamburger Steak with Onions, was served at the Tyrolean Alps Restaurant at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair.
French fries (American English, or Chips sometimes capitalized), fries, or French-fried potatoes are thin strips of deep-fried potato. Americans often refer to any elongated pieces of fried potatoes as fries, while in other parts of the world, most notably the United Kingdom, Australia, Ireland and New Zealand, long, thinly cut slices of fried potatoes are called fries to distinguish them from the thickly cut strips called chips. French fries are known as frites or pommes frites in French, a name which is also used in many non-French-speaking areas, and has names that mean “fried potatoes” or “French potatoes” in others.
The Belgian journalist Jo Gérard recounts that potatoes were fried in 1680 in the Spanish Netherlands, in the area of “the Meuse valley between Dinant and Liège. The poor inhabitants of this region allegedly had the custom of accompanying their meals with small fried fish, but when the river was frozen and they were unable to fish, they cut potatoes lengthwise and fried them in oil to accompany their meals.”
Many Belgians believe that the term “French” was introduced when American soldiers arrived in Belgium during World War I, and consequently tasted Belgian fries. They supposedly called them “French”, as it was the official language of the Belgian Army at that time.
“Les frites” (French) or “Frieten” (Dutch) became the national snack and a substantial part of several national dishes.
The first chips fried in Britain were apparently on the site of Oldham’s Tommyfield Market in 1860. In Scotland, chips were first sold in Dundee, “…in the 1870s, that glory of British gastronomy – the chip – was first sold by Belgian immigrant Edward De Gernier in the city’s Greenmarket.” Traditional “chips” in the United Kingdom and Ireland are usually cut much thicker, typically between 9.5–13 mm (⅜ – ½ inches) square in cross-section and cooked twice (although double frying is less commonly practised today), making them more crunchy on the outside and fluffier on the inside. Since the surface-to-volume ratio is lower, they have a lower fat content. Thick-cut British chips are occasionally made from unpeeled potatoes to enhance their flavour and nutritional content and are not necessarily served as crisp as the European French fry due to their higher relative water content.
Chips are part of the popular take-out dish fish and chips. In the United Kingdom, Australia, Ireland, and New Zealand, few towns are without a fish and chip shop. In these countries, the term “French fries” refers to the narrow-cut (shoestring) fries that are served by American-based fast food franchises.
Pizza first made its appearance in the United States with the arrival of Italian immigrants in the late 19th century. This was certainly the case in cities with large Italian populations, such as San Francisco, Chicago, New York City, and Philadelphia where pizza was first sold on the streets of Italian neighbourhoods. In late 19th century Chicago for example, pizza was introduced by a peddler who walked up and down Taylor Street with a metal washtub of pizzas on his head, selling his wares at two cents a chew. This was the way pizza used to be sold in Naples, in copper cylindrical drums with false bottoms that were packed with charcoal from the oven to keep the pizzas hot. It wasn’t long until small cafes and groceries began offering pizzas to their Italian-American communities.
The first printed reference to “pizze” served in the US is a 1903 article in the Boston Journal. The first “official” pizzeria in America is generally believed to have been founded by Gennaro Lombardi in Little Italy, Manhattan. Gennaro Lombardi opened a grocery store in 1897 which later was established as the first pizzeria in America in 1905 with New York’s issuance of the mercantile license. An employee of his, Antonio Totonno Pero, began making pizza for the store to sell that same year. The price for a pizza was five cents but, since many people couldn’t afford the cost of a whole pie, they would instead say how much they could pay and they were given a slice corresponding to the amount offered. In 1924, Totonno left Lombardi’s to open his own pizzeria on Coney Island called Totonno’s. While the original Lombardi’s closed its doors in 1984, it was reopened in 1994 just down the street and is run by Lombardi’s grandson.