Along with some great inventions, great food is also part of thelegacy that the worldhasinherited from China. A vast country with a diverse climate and geography, China possesses a number of different culinary traditions,according to the availability of ingredients andlocal cooking methods. During the Qing Dynasty, Chinese cuisine was grouped into the Four Major Cuisines: Jiangsu, Shandong, Cantonese and Sichuan. Another four - Anhui, Hunan, Fujian and Zhejiang - were later added, to complete the Eight Modern Cuisines. Each of these has its own unique trait: for example, Cantonese cuisine is renowned for its cooking techniques, while Sichuan’s dishes arenotable for their hot and spicy flavours. The spread of Chinese culture around the world has also playedan important role in integrating Chinese cooking into that of other societies, naturally bringing about exciting and distinctive modifications and adaptations to cater to local palates and making these places well worth a visit.
More than 14,000 restaurants - with 80 Michelin-starred eateries in 2017 – can be found on the small, crowded is land of Hong Kong, ensuring it is one of the world’s top dining destinations. The elegant restaurants boast impressive Cantonese menus and compete fiercely with one another tobe the best in tastes and cooking techniques, their chefs displaying attention to every detail,from ingredient sourcing to presentation. Even such ubiquitous staples as egg noodles, wonton soup, congee, deep-fried doughsticks and assorted dim sum are wonderful. It is no surprise that chasing after a must-try dish in Hong Kong is an activity travellers have to include on their trip. Because of the enormous number and great variety of restaurants, most visitors hardly know where to start, so just plunge in with dim sum at Tsim Sha Tsui, congee and egg noodle and shrimp wonton soup in Causeway Bay, roasted goose in Central, or choose any one of the fifty restaurants in Harbour City Shopping Mall. For something more special, why not book a table at a historic, luxury hotel, or at one of the Michelin-starred restaurants?
Sampling Beijing’s cuisine is like an expedition full of exciting experiences. Over its thousand year history, Beijing cuisine has absorbed influences of culinary traditions from all over the country. Though often stereotyped as being predominantly greasy, the city’s cuisine actually contains a wide variety of flavours and styles, ranging from the Chinese imperial cuisine elaborately prepared for Huangdi, (Emperors), to unfamiliar items like seahorse, starfish and scorpion skewers! Wangfujing Street, one of the most famous shopping streets of Beijing, is the best place to start, offering Peking Duck, Mongolian Hot Pot, various kinds of dumplings, glazed fruit skewers and the aforementioned exotic tidbits. For a more romantic evening, Houhai Lake, only a kilometre from the Forbidden City, is an ideal choice for pubs, bars and a number of regional restaurants. It is also close to Hutong, an ancient district that still retains the atmosphere of the Qing Dynasty. But if you’d prefer to shop and dine in Beijing’s most modern district, Sanlitun, you won’t be disappointed.
One of the most exciting activities when visiting Taipei is to explore themyriad of unique Taiwanese dishes which are frequently recreated and reworked. Start the day with the healthy soy milk, which comes in two types. The sweet soy milk is usually eaten with flat bread while the salty soy milk, garnished with coriander, goes with deep-fried doughsticks. Taipei can be hot during the day, so cold drinks such as bubble tea, white gourd drink and Chinese herbal drinks are a good way to cool down. If you are shopping in Ximending, the pedestrian shopping haven, it’s worth queuing up for the famous rice noodles, or an all-you-can-eat Mala hotpot. And don’t forget to try Xiao long bao, a well-known local type of steamed bun, before ending your day scrumptiously at one of the spectacular night markets, like Shilin Night Market, which houses more than 500 restaurants and food stalls! Explore even more at Raohe Night Market, whose food stalls stretch more than 500 meters, and Ninxia Night Market, smaller but most popular with locals. If these three most famous night markets are not enough, move on to Gongguan Night Market, Shida Night Market or Tonghua Night Market - all guaranteed to please with long lines of food stalls!
Singapore boasts a unique cultural diversity thanks to its mixed ethnic Chinese, Malay and Indian population. The cuisine ofthis major seaport and financial hub is thus one of a kind. The Chinese cooking styles of Hokkien, Teochew, Hainanese and Hakka were adapted to suit the locally available ingredients, bringing in various tastydishes such as Bak Kut Teh, pork rib soup made with Chinese herbs; Hokkien Mee, egg or rice noodles stir-fried with pork, prawn, squid, egg and Malay sambal chilli; Kaya toastwith coffee and boiled egg (a traditional breakfast served with Kaya, a sweet coconut and egg jam) and fish soup ‘bee hoon’, (noodle soup with fried fish head). There are also a great many kinds of noodles, but it is Hinanese Chicken Rice that is the most distinctive dish. Singaporean food can be enjoyed at hawker centres nationwide.
In this multicultural capital, Chinese food culture offers a wide choice of tastes and styles to suit all pockets, ranging from the fine dining afforded by Michelin-starred restaurants to easy Chinese takeaways, from scrumptious Cantonese delights to spicy Sichuan dishes, from classics like Peking duck, honey roasted pork, noodles with lobster and salt and pepper calamari to chefs’ creations of colourful assorted dim sum, which may take a month, or even a whole year, to thoroughly explore. Aside from Chinatown in Soho, Queensway and Bayswater arealso home to popular Chinese restaurants. A number of other award-winning Chinese eateries are located in office buildings in Canary Wharf, Liverpool Street, and Baker Street business districts.
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