Chinese cuisine is one of the world's great cuisines, an equal with French and Italian. This video explores Chinese cuisine and basic differences between its various regions.
Basically, the north is geared to wheat and the south to rice. Rice is the predominant dish of China and it serves as a primary meal itself, not just a supporting one. About 300BC the poem, "The Summons of the Soul" indicated that each meal should have these basic flavors: bitter, salt, sour, hot, and sweet. It is an oversimplification about the regional differences of Chinese cuisine, but one can say that the food of the East is sweet, South is salty, West is sour, and North is Spicy.
Tea swept through China around 700AD, largely replacing millet wine. Beer in China lost its popularity around 200BC and didn't become very popular again until the 20th century. Today many people feel beer is the best beverage to have with Chinese food, except for maybe tea.
Grape wine never developed a following in China until recently. The wine China now produces is mostly for internal consumption. Today China is the sixth leading producer of wine in the world and is steadily attempting to improve its quality. Red wine is the most favored wine in China, being considered a sign of status. Trends suggest that by 2050 China will be number one wine producer in the world and will soon have quality vintages.
After 1500AD the sweet potato was imported from the Americans and soon became an important food source, especially for the poor in China. Soybeans provide another important protein resource while also providing milk, curd, sauce, cheese, oil and flower.
Chinese cuisine was introduced to America in 1800s by immigrants from around Canton. For over 160 years Cantonese cuisine has dominated in the USA. Today there are over 41,000 Chinese restaurants in America and it is now possible to try dishes from all provinces of that country.
The north is famous for the food prepared for the Chinese emperors. Peking Duck and dumplings are two of the most popular dishes there. China Bistro Restaurant in Rockville, Maryland was visited to find out more about dumplings.
Dim Sum is mostly popular in the south in Canton and Hong Kong, but the north also has it. Patrons are charged by the number of plates they take from the strolling carts in the restaurant. Some restaurants prepare and offer 120 or more dishes that are labor intensive. Food is placed on small dishes that are offered to patrons much like Spanish tapas. The New Fortune Seafood Restaurant in Gaithersburg, Maryland was visited to sample dim sum, meaning "from the heart."
The Seven Seas Restaurant in Rockville, Maryland was visited to sample seafood and other specialties from various parts of China, including Taiwan.
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