Sichuan Style

On May 25, 2012, in Ethnic Group Flavors, Restaurants & Food, Sichuan, by Jack Li

If you haven’t tasted the exotic flavors of Sichuan cuisine, then I insist this is a must for any China travel. The irony is that the mouthwatering dishes can be delightful to taste but the spicy can also be torturous on the tongue. The unique blend of ginger, peanuts and sesame paste give a sweet […]

If you haven’t tasted the exotic flavors of Sichuan cuisine, then I insist this is a must for any China travel. The irony is that the mouthwatering dishes can be delightful to taste but the spicy can also be torturous on the tongue. The unique blend of ginger, peanuts and sesame paste give a sweet zing to the cooking whilst the chilli, garlic and, of course, the special ingredient, the Sichuan peppercorn, enhances the cooking to give a distinct appeal. Anybody who loves to experiment with different foods, then taking a trip one of the many China flights to the country would definitely be a treat for the taste buds.

One particular aspect of the cooking which I noticed when eating Sichuan cuisine is the amount of oil. On a couple of occasions, my friends and I have ordered a huge bowl with a typically Ming-dynasty design. Simply peering in the bowl will allow the imagination to run wild with bold colors and textures presented before you. Specifically, two examples which come to mind include one large whole fish waiting to be dissected in the depths of the bowl. The other, is that of some pieces of white meat which looked like chicken fillets; however, on inspection these turned out to be bullfrog! Even though there were quite a few bones to chew around, I actually rather liked the taste of frog which, although many people who go to France said it ‘tastes like chicken’; I found it to be a mixture of yes chicken, but also fish.

If unusual ingredients don’t take your fancy, then there are plenty of other dishes to select. Beef, for example, is a very common ingredient used in Sichuan cooking. Furthermore, within the Sichuan, there are different styles ranging from a vegetarian Buddhist style to Chongqing, Chengdu, and Zigong styles. While some of the most well-known Chinese dishes the world-over have Sichuan origins. Kung pao chicken (Gongbao), for instance, is an extremely popular dish of nuts, diced chicken and mixed together topped off with a rich, sticky flavor. Paradoxically, in spite of being famous for its fiery flavors, much of Sichuan cuisine is not necessarily spicy such as teas smoked duck. Nevertheless, if you want to embrace the spicy stuff, then consider complementing your meal with rice, beer or milk to combat the heat.

Sometimes you may see the ‘Szechuan’ or ‘Szechwan’ on a menu; but rested assured that despite the spelling variation, the food should still be under the Sichuan cuisine. The Sichuan style of cooking is so valued that in 2011, the city of Chengdu was declared by UNESCO as ‘a city of Gastronomy’. Thus, the popularity of Sichuan cuisine means that finding a restaurant in any major Chinese city should not be a problem; there may even be one near your China hotels.

 

 

 

Eight Cultural Cusine’s You Cannot Leave China Without Tasting… part 1

On July 14, 2011, in Cultural Experience, Restaurants & Food, Tips & Ideas, by Jack Li

Travelling through the city takes alot out of you especially tours such as Beijing Tours and Shanghai Tours; why not satisfy your hunger with one of the eight cultural cusine’s you cannot leave china without tasting. 1) Cantonese Cuisine Cantonese is the most internationally popular Chinese Cusine , most familiar in the west with a […]

Travelling through the city takes alot out of you especially tours such as Beijing Tours and Shanghai Tours; why not satisfy your hunger with one of the eight cultural cusine’s you cannot leave china without tasting.

1) Cantonese Cuisine

Cantonese is the most internationally popular Chinese Cusine , most familiar in the west with a high number of emigrants moving from Guangdong to Western countries.
It is for this reason that Cantonese chefs are highly sought after throughout the entire country.

The name Cantonese derives from a port named Canton which has long been the source of the great diversity of ingredients used by Cantonese chefs. The cooking style includes every edible meat from organ meats, chicken feet, duck tongue to snakes and snails. Unlike the food from surrounding regions however Cantonese food does not involve goat and lamb to a great extent. A variety of cooking methods are employed in this tradition including: steaming, stir-frying, shallow frying, double boiling, braising and deep frying. Despite the amount of oil used for the various frying techniques, the food should never be greasy and cooks aim to make the flavours of the finished dish well balanced.

Typical Cantonese dishes include Cantonese fried rice, Sweet and Sour pork, Steamed spare ribs with fermented black beans and chilli pepper, Chinese steamed eggs and Steamed frog legs on loftus leaf, to name a few.

2) Szechan Cuisine

Also known as Szechwan Cuisine, a n and Sichuan Cuisine originated from the Sichuan Province of South Western China and is known for its liberal use of spicy ingredients such as garlic, and chilli peppers.  Not to mention the unique hint of the Sichuan peppercorn. Within Szechuan cuisine itself, there exists sub –‘styles’ including: Chongqing style, Chengdu style, Zigong style and the Buddhist vegetiarian style. The Szechan Cusine is so popular it was the main backing behind the city of Chengdu being crowned a city of Gastronomy in 2011 by UNESCO.

Traditional dishes include, spicy dishes include spicy deep-fried chicken, Sichuan hotpot, Twice cooked pork, Tea smoked duck and Kung Pao Chicken, to name a few.

3) Anhai Cuisine

Anhai Cuisine derived from the Huangshan Mountains region in China and has similar traits as to Jiangsu Cuisine. The cuisine is renowned for its use of land and sea wild herbs retrived from its forests and fields; as well as its simplistic method. The Anhui Cusisine does not rely on stir-frying as much as other chinese traditions do. The Anhui Cuisine much like the Szechan Cuisine has sub-‘styles’ consisting of: the Yangtze River Region, Huai River Region and the Southern Anhui Region.

Traditional Anhuai dishes include Egg dumplings, Sanhe Shrimp Paste, Luzhou Roast Duck and Wushan Imperial Duck.

4) Fujian Cuisine

Fuijan cuisine uses many diverse seafoods including various fishes, shellfishes and turtles collected from the coastal region, combined with woodland delicacies such as edible mushrooms and bamboo shoots. Fuijan cuisine is generally served in a broth or soup, cooked using braising, stewing, steaming or boiling techniques. The cultural cuisine of the Fuijan province is renowned for its light yet flavour filled taste. Contrary to the bold flavours of Anhai and its short preparation time, Fuijan Cuisine is complex to prepare requiring great
skill. Typical Fuijan dishes include: Ban Mian (flat-shaped egg noddle soup), popiah(crepe with bean sauce or soy sauce filling) oyster omelette, Hongcao chicken (red yeast rice chicken), stuffed fish meat beats and Wuxian (fried five spice roll with pork and vegetables).

5) Hunan Cuisine

Hunana Cuisine is also sometimes known as Xiang Cuisine and is made up from the combined cuisines of three different regions: Xiang River, Dongting Lake and the Hunan Province. It is for this reason the cuisine has four different styles. Hunan cuisine is unique also in that its menu changes as the seasons change. In hot and humid weather the meal is started with a cold dish with a selection of chili’s for opening the pores in the skin. In the winter however a hot pot is a widespread choice.

Hunan like Sichuan cuisine is known to be hot, however in comparison it Is described to be ‘purely hot or dry hot’. It is made spicier by it is pure ingredients and pure chilli content. Another difference between Sichuan cuisine and Hunan is that Hunan uses smoked or cured goods in its dishes much more often.

Typical Hunan dishes include ‘Dry Wok’ Chicken, Beer Duck, Stir Fried Duck Blood and Changde-style stewed beef with rice.

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Sichuan Dishes (川菜), Taste Bud Challenge!

On September 7, 2010, in Beijing, Nightlife, Restaurants & Food, Tips & Ideas, by Jack Li

Have you ever been to Sichuan? Sichuan is located in a basin. It’s characterized by a warm and humid climate with lots of rainfall. This makes people prone to rheumatic diseases. Hot flavorings like chilies and peppers can help them dispel internal dampness and protect them against illnesses. So, Sichuan people keep “doctors (医生)” in […]

Have you ever been to Sichuan? Sichuan is located in a basin. It’s characterized by a warm and humid climate with lots of rainfall. This makes people prone to rheumatic diseases. Hot flavorings like chilies and peppers can help them dispel internal dampness and protect them against illnesses.
So, Sichuan people keep “doctors (医生)” in their courtyards (院子) all year round!


On the floor …


In the air …

These years, Sichuan dishes are becoming more and more popular all around the country. Among them, foreigners may prefer:


水煮鱼(Fish Filets in Hot Chili Oil) “水” is actually “油”.


宫保鸡丁 (Kung Pao Chicken) You can also call it “宫爆鸡丁”.


麻婆豆腐 (Ma Po Tofu) It was firstly invented by an old woman called Ma Po.

When eating Sichuan dishes, you need a lot of tissues to deal with sweat (汗), nasal mucus (鼻涕) or tears (眼泪). And it’s a great challenge for your tongue (舌头)!

In spite of the torture (折磨),the dishes are always eaten up! It’s a common case that only chilies are left in the plate.

Talking about Sichuan food, we have to mention 火锅 (Hot Pot)!
People eat hot pot in any season — in winter (冬天), hot pot can drive away chills and make them warm (暖和); In summer (夏天), eating hot pot is often described as a sauna (桑拿) for the mouth and stomach.

Beijing has its traditional hot pot too! In a Beijing hot pot restaurant, you’re prepared with slices of raw mutton. The pot itself is made of brass (铜), with a wide outer rim where charcoal (炭) burns to heat the spicy soup. Now, pick up your chopsticks and let’s涮羊肉 together!

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