Chinese Cuisines
China is a vast country with diverse climates, customs, products, and habits. People living in different regions display great variety in their diets. People in coastal areas eat more aquatic products and seafood, whereas those in central and northwest China eat more domestic animals and poultry. Foods vary from north to south, and typical local dishes may eve astonish strangers, such as snake, pangolin, and white rat. Tastes also differ regionally because of the climatic differences.

One popular summary of Chinese food is “sweet in the south, salty in north, sour in the west, and spicy in the east.” People in the different regions have created their own cuisines to suit their tastes, and many chefs and cooks specialize in making these local delicacies. In the past, cooks in the different regions were called the Beijing sect, Shandong sect, Fujian sect, and Sichuan sect, as a way to differentiate the regional cuisines and the cooking specialties of the chefs. After the founding of the People’s Republic, the catering trade has referred to the cuisines by the different specialties and regional tastes of the dishes.

There is still no agreement on how many principal cuisines there are in China, but nine major cuisines have influenced Chinese cookery. They are the Beijing, Shandong, Huai-Yang, Jiangsu-Zhejiang, Fujian, Guangdong, Sichuan, Hubei, and Hunan cuisines.

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