A Popular Healthy Dainty
Cantonese cuisine, also known as Yue cuisine, refers to the cuisine of China's Guangdong Province, particularly the provincial capital, Guangzhou, also Canton. It is one of the Four Major Chinese cuisine, whose prominence outside China is due to the large number of emigrants from Guangdong.
Guangzhou, a trading port, has the convenience to get exotic foods and ingredients which can be used in its cuisine. Besides pork, beef and chicken, the cuisine incorporates almost all edible meats. However, unlike in the cuisines of northern or western China, lamb and goat are rarely eaten. Cooking methods, including shallow-frying, double-steaming, braising and deep frying, are frequently seen, with steaming and stir-frying being the most common due to their rapidity.
In traditional cooking, the flavors of a dish should be well balanced and not greasy. Apart from that, spices should be used in modest amounts to avoid overwhelming the flavors of the original ingredients which should be at the peak of their freshness and quality. There is no widespread use of fresh herbs in Cantonese cooking, in contrast with their liberal use in other cuisines such as Sichuan, European, Thai or Vietnamese. Garlic chives and coriander leaves are notable exceptions, although the latter are usually used as mere garnish in most dishes.
Sauces and Condiments
In Cantonese cuisine, a number of ingredients such as spring onion, sugar, salt, soy sauce, rice wine, cornstarch, vinegar, scallion oil, and sesame oil, suffice to enhance flavor, although garlic is heavily used in some dishes, especially those in which internal organs, such as entrails, may emit unpleasant odors. Ginger, chili peppers, five-spice powder, powdered black pepper, star anise and a few other spices are also used, but often sparingly.
Dried and Preserved Ingredients
Although Cantonese cooks pay much attention to the freshness of their primary ingredients, the cuisine also uses a long list of preserved food items to add flavor to a dish. Some chefs combine both dried and fresh varieties of the same items in a dish. Dried items are usually soaked in water to rehydrate before cooking. These ingredients are generally not served singly, but with vegetables or other dishes.
Texture and Taste
In Cantonese dishes, the portion usually appears not much but the taste is always exquisite, with plenty of artful ingredients and brightly colorful decoration. Being good at imitation and innovation, Cantonese grow to a wide variety. Texture and taste are highlighted in the cuisine which are relatively light, striving for clearness in the freshness and art in tenderness. Additionally, flavor changes with seasons. Lightness is preferred in hot days, while thickness in cold.
Selection of Materials
Guangdong is located in the subtropical zone, near the South China Sea, providing an abundant of natural resource on its diet list. The materials are quite extensive in both main ingredients and condiments, the selection of which are fastidiously, being not miscellaneous nor overwhelming, to highlight the natural umami of main materials.
The main material and ingredients cover a large scale, including birds, animals, delicacies, exotic foods, which crowns the country. The wide selection of raw materials results in refinement naturally, using not only seasonal ingredients, but also the best parts.
The well-chosen materials and the tender taste are probably an important reason why Cantonese cuisine is so popular. Despite of the multiple tastes and wide choice of ingredients and condiments in Cantonese cuisine, only a small dose of ginger, scallion and garlic are added to enhance flavor, seldom using pungent and spicy seasonings.
Its pursuit of lightness and freshness is not only in line with the climate characteristics of Guangdong, but also the scientific requirements of modern nutrition.
Guangdong Tea: another form of meals, is set in all time periods of a day, mostly for chatting, talking about business or gathering with friends. Dim Sum, with a long history and a wide variety, is one of the three special types of pastry in China, with a colorful and delicately shaped looking and novel tastes.
It generally includes tea, snacks, congees, noodles and some other dishes. What’s worth mentioning is the Chaozhou tea which refers to oolong tea in a dark-red enameled pottery spared in several small white porcelain cups. The tea is used in a comparably large amount with the soup tastes unforgettably bitter sweet.
Cantonese congee: It is characterized by meltingly tender rice and various seasonings. Some unmissable ones include slippery chicken congee, raw fish congee and Tingzai congee.
Steamed Pork Cutlet With Salted Eggs: After salted for a period, the duck’s eggs, added with a special salty fragrance, are mixed with minced pork and steamed to be meat pie.
Mix minced pork with salt, salted egg whites and dry starch. Stir until it turns gummy.
Add a little peanut oil and mix evenly, then press flat in a plate.
Put the salted egg yolk on meat. steam with medium fire.
When well cooked, dress the meat pie with mixed broth and soy sauce.
Shrimps in Egg White: The shrimps tastes crisp and tender, with an irresistible aroma of scrambled eggs.
Rinse onion and ginger. Shell shrimps, leaving the tail end
Marinate with cooking wine, scallion and ginger for 10 minutes.
Dip the shrimps evenly in egg liquid, and stain with bread crumbs.
Heat oil until 50% boiled and then fry the shrimps until they turn golden.
Chaozhou Beef Balls: Beef balls in Chaozhou has a history of nearly a hundred years, categorized in beef balls and beef tendon balls. Beef ones are more delicate and smooth, while the tendon more chewy due to the addition of tender tendons.
Pork with Salted Vegetable： The pork is meltingly tender and soy-sauce-flavored fragrant, and tastes salty sweet, oily but not greasy.
Boil the pork belly in soup,fry with soy sauce, and then slice.
Stir-fry with scallions and ginger for a while, then add soup. Stew with a low heat to be rotten.
Place the pork into a bowl and steam with a layer of salted vegetables.
When well-cooked, put the bowl upside-down in a plate.
Poon Choi： It is a kind of chowder contained in a tub or basin, which could be a gathering of hundred material and ingredients. The banquet, with a meaning of festive reunion, is usually held to celebrate festivals and other happy events.