China Travel Tips
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For those who travel to China, not only are the scenic spots and ancient civilization fascinating, but so too is Chinese food and drink.
Like music, dance, calligraphy and painting, eating is also an art in China and Chinese cuisine is listed as one of the top in the field of world cuisines.
Nobody could tell exactly how many restaurants a specific city has, to say nothing of the roadside eateries distributed in streets and back lanes. No matter where you would like to eat, in the slap-up restaurants or in the roadside eateries, make sure that the restaurant is clean and the food has been freshly prepared and is hot.
It is a good idea to take your own chopsticks if you decide to dine in roadside eateries.
Chinese regard eating as an art, which is a comprehensive combination of sight, smell, touch, taste and even sound. Chinese cuisine is a dominant branch from the Chinese culture - the core is taste while the purpose is to preserve health.
It is a perfect fusion of color, shape, appearance and flavor. Delicious and nutritious food has been regarded the basics of ordinary life.
In a nutshell, there are eight schools of cuisine, which are popularly known as the 'ninth art'. These include food from Beijing, Guangdong, Sichuan, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Hunan, Anhui and Fujian.
Chinese cuisine has a long history and is famous worldwide for its rich flavor and delightful colors. The difference in local climate, history and eating customs in each region has produced local dishes and snacks with their own characteristics and specialty.
In China, eating is the psychological motor for everything. The Chinese possess enormous powers of concentration as long as the stomach is full, for when the digestive process has done its work, all ability to concentrate disappears. The variety of styles and ingredients involved in Chinese cooking is a marvel.
There are three principal regional cuisine familiar to experienced visitors. Firstly, there are the hot and spicy chili dishes from Sichuan Then comes the northern style cuisine, which uses steamed bread and pancakes in lieu of rice, and preserved vegetables such as salted, pickled cabbage for freezing winters. And finally, there is the southern style cooking, which involves light stir-fry dishes made from a vast array of ingredients that include pork, seafood and chicken.
It is essential to use food as fresh as possible for Chinese cuisine and they have developed a style of cooking that obviates refrigeration despite the rigors of the climate. Blessed with an abundance of good ingredients in the most fertile areas of the country, the Chinese have become expert at extracting the essence of flavor.
Cooking methods are vital to the craft of the Chinese chefs. The skill of being able to control the precise heat is considered crucial to yield the best results. Although all methods of cooking are used, from braising and baking to boiling, steaming and roasting over a spit, there is one that is native to China - stir-frying. This method involves cutting the ingredients finely and rapidly cooking them in a small amount of oil in a preheated wok so that they are quickly and evenly cooked. It is advised that stir-fried dishes be eaten immediately to benefit from their huoqi or vital essence.
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