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Chinese Cuisine
09:48, July 16, 2008

Chinese culinary arts are famous all over the world. Chinese dishes appeal to the senses through color, shape, aroma and taste. Chinese cuisine's entree normally strives for three to five colors, made up of the main ingredient, with more secondary ingredients of contrasting colors and textures; these are prepared and cooked to enhance their own qualities, with the use of appropriate condiments and garnishing, enabling to chef to present a delicious platter of fragrant delicious art.


In prepared dishes, the stronger fragrant aroma stimulates one's appetite, by using scallion, fresh ginger, root garlic or chili pepper; with the use of wine, aniseed, cinnamon, peppercorn or sesame oil. Complementary nuances are added. Soy sauce, sugar, vinegar and other seasonings may used discreetly, adding to the complex play on the taste buds.

All chefs of the Chinese kitchens, professional or in the home, strive for harmony of sight, smell, taste, texture, so that each individual dish has it's unique features highlighted; contrasted and balanced if it is a dinner of many dishes, be it 3, 6, 9 or 12. The flavors must not overpower, yet subtle enough to meet the tastes of those dining. Complex or simple dishes may be prepared quickly or much longer, but the ultimate goal is to share with the guests the play on the eaters' real and imagined visions of the dishes and its ingredients.

Once the meal is cooked, it is served all at once to the family, who eat with chopsticks and drink soup with a wide spoon. The average dinner includes a starch -- rice, noodles, bread, or pancakes -- a meat dish, vegetable, and soup, which serves as a beverage. For formal meals and banquets, there are many successive courses which are served in a strict traditional order. A further point is that over festive periods, with the play of word's phonetics, well meaning felicitous names of dishes have many people trying to guess what they are about to eat, thereby adding fun to eating.

Chinese food enjoys a high reputation in the world also for its sheer abundance. It is due to the diversity of the climate, products and customs that there are widely different food styles and tastes in local regions.

For local styles, Beijing cuisine combines the best features of different regional styles. Shangdong cuisine leads the Northern dishes. Shangdong cooks are good at cooking seafood. Sichuan cooks specialize in chilies and hot peppers and Sichuan dish is famous for aromatic and spicy sauces. Guangdong cooking makes use of many ingredients. They look for fresh, tender, crisp textures. Huai Yang cuisine stresses the natural flavors. Dishes are strong but not greasy, and light but delicate. Tan cuisine is both sweet and salty. There is a saying that "southerners have a sweet tooth, and northerners crave salt", but Tan dishes manage to satisfy both. Because China's local dishes have their own typical characteristics, Chinese food can be divided into eight regional cuisines, the distinction of which is now widely accepted.

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