Chinese cuisine is distinctive and regionally inspired. Tasted on its native soil, you can really appreciate its depth and variety: from imperial dishes to exotic delicacies, this country has everything. While living in China, I experienced first-hand the country’s rich cuisine culture, filled with unique and, at times, unusual edibles.
For many Westerners, familiarity with Chinese food remains limited to fried rice and egg rolls. Yet the variety of Chinese food comes as numerous as the people. Culinary styles range from one region to the next due to factors such as available resources, climate, geography, history, cooking techniques, and lifestyle. One region may favor the use of heavy garlic and shallots over chili and spices, while another prefers seafood over other meats and fowl.
Let’s take a tour of China’s regional favorites and oddities that will leave you hungry for more.
The dumpling that will change your life – The mighty soup dumpling, a local specialty of Shanghai, should be on the top of the list of things to eat in China. A gelatin made from pork stock is chilled into a solid and worked into dough as a filling. Upon steaming, the stock melts and the soup is slurped through a straw.