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A county of chefs

By Pauline D. Loh (China Daily)

11:10, April 25, 2013

Shrimp dumplings, fried milk and dried beef noodles in black bean sauce are three signature dishes of Cantonese cuisine. (China Daily/Pauline D. Loh)

Cantonese cuisine is known all over the world as representative of Chinese food. There is a branch of Cantonese cooking, however, that is a cut above even this excellent sample. Pauline D. Loh takes a journey to Shunde.

The best chefs in China come from Guangdong, and the best Cantonese chefs, they say, come from only one place - Shunde county, known as the Normandy of China. Pick a Chinese executive chef in any five-star hotel chain, and there is a 50-percent chance that he is a Shunde native.

It is here that the best produce from mountains, plains and sea congregate, providing a rich artistic palette for Shunde chefs. They, in turn, have repaid nature's bounty by creating a branch of Cantonese cuisine that is known for its rich diversity, delicacy of taste and its dairy products.

Shunde is probably the only place in Southern China that uses milk in its cooking. The native water buffaloes give rich milk that is turned into a cornucopia of unique products, including a brined sheet cheese that is very like the Greek feta.

Then there is Daliang fried milk, the region's most famous signature dish.

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