These are the most famous cuisines in China

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Let’s clear up a misunderstanding once and for all: there is no such thing as Chinese cuisine. Because if there is one thing this empire does not lack, it is culinary variety. In fact, the country has 35 recognized cuisines. If we want to describe these in detail, we will still be busy in 2030, which is why we limit ourselves in this list to the best-known kitchens in China.

China’s most famous cuisines

Szechuan (Southwest China)

If you are even remotely interested in what China has to offer, the name Szechuan will undoubtedly ring a bell. This Chinese region is known for its spicy dishes with strong, spicy sauces. Ingredients such as garlic and chili are not shunned, although the Sichuan pepper is unmistakably the best-known seasoning.

This peppery ball (strictly speaking, it’s not pepper, but a flower) makes your tongue tingle with its heat, almost numbing. That gives the Szechuan dishes a good dose of sensation, of which the relentlessly spicy mapo tofu is a good example. Other well-known dishes from Szechuan are chicken with peanuts (Gong Bao Ji Ding) or Sichuan fish in chili broth .

Cantonese (Guangdōng)  (Southern China)

The majority of Chinese restaurants in the Netherlands are run by Cantonese and this Chinese sub-cuisine is by far the most established in the rest of the world. Characteristic here are the sweeter dishes compared to the rest of the country.

In addition, don’t be surprised by ingredients such as duck tongue or chicken feet: Cantonese love to use everything from the animal. Does that all sound a bit too exciting? They also know what to do with dim sum and wok dishes.

Hunan (Xiang)

Fresh and local ingredients that are steamed, fried, stir-fried or smoked: that’s in a nutshell how you can describe the cuisine from Hunan. Both hot peppers and oil are used in generous amounts as seasoning.

Given the great focus on local, the dishes change with the seasons: hot pot in winter, cold, fresh starters in warm weather. Smoking pork yourself is a local tradition in the Hunan countryside, an ingredient that lends itself well to dishes like xiang gan zi chao la rou (smoked bacon and smoked tofu stew).

Shanghai (East of China, location by the sea)

When one speaks of the cuisine of Shanghai, it is in fact a mixture of various cooking styles, originating from the provinces adjacent to the city. The fact that the Shanghai region has many rivers, lakes and ponds translates on the plate to a great diversity of fish dishes.

Compared to other Chinese cuisines, soy sauce, rice wine and rice vinegar are used more frequently here. Sticky tofu and the famous xiao long bao (dumplings with soup in it) are also known from the region.

Beijing (the imperial cuisine of China)

While Peking duck is undeniably Beijing’s best-known dish, the imperial cuisine obviously has more in store. These are often fried dishes in smaller portions.

Ingredients such as mutton, poultry, cucumber and Chinese cabbage are often used, whether or not prepared in (rice) wine. Compared to other parts of China, the seasoning here is somewhat milder, often using spring onions and sesame paste.

Fujian cuisine

If you find average Chinese dishes a bit too strong, then you may be better off in the Chinese region of Fujian. The dishes here are a bit lighter than the other cuisines, with fresh sweet and sour soups, seafood and fish as the main banners.


Finally, the cuisine of Shandong (also called Lu cuisine) is characterized by fresh, fresh ingredients. This area is also known for its many vinegar breweries, where dishes are also like to be seasoned. Well-known dishes are steamed abalone (abalone) or sweet and sour carp. Corn also appears to be an ingredient that distinguishes the region from other regions.

Source: Culy by
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