4 Gastronomic Delights to Try on Your Next Trip to China
22 Jun 2020
Rich and diverse, Chinese cuisine has some of the most exciting culinary traditions in the world. With around a thousand years of culinary history, China is home to many world-famous dishes that employ various cooking styles and techniques with the aim of creating extraordinary and irresistible culinary masterpieces. From mouthwatering noodles to soups abundant in colors and aromas, here is a list of four gastronomic delights of Chinese cuisine that you simply must try on your next trip to Asia.
Dumplings – versatile bite-sized delights
If you’re craving some comfort food, look no further than the world-famous dumplings. A staple in Chinese cuisine, this gastronomic delight is made with various fillings that satisfy everyone’s taste buds. Whether you prefer your bite-size delicacies vegetarian or stuffed with meat or even sweets, there are all kinds of dumplings that appeal to different tastes.
The dough is made using one of the starch sources such as flour, potatoes, or bread which is then wrapped around the delicious filling. They’re usually served with tasty dips such as vinegar with garlic or soy sauce to enhance the flavor of the filling even more. They can be found pretty much everywhere you go as they’re a popular Chinese street food. The versatility of this amazing dish is reflected in all the different ways it can be prepared – dumplings can either be steamed, boiled, baked, simmered, and even fried, and they can be eaten any time of the day or serve as a delicious snack to satisfy those late-night cravings.
Hot pots – a divine traditional food experience
If you’re someone who enjoys meals that incorporate a lot of different ingredients, textures, and spices, this traditional Chinese dish is perfect for you. The recipes vary depending on regions and province and the main difference is in the sauces and meats used.
First, you choose the soup, after which you can proceed to select the meat. Beef and lamb are perfect for providing the base flavor, but you can’t go wrong with fish, shrimps, or crab either. Noodles and vegetables such as potatoes, Chinese cabbage, mushrooms, and lettuce are also added to the pot to maximize the flavor. Then, everything is topped off with a tasty sauce, be it BBQ sauces and finely chopped herbs or oranges and spicy oils. If you’re in for something spicy and fiery, the Chengdu pot is the way to go. Plus, you can always skip waiting for a restaurant table and get a fast-food version of this hotpot at a street stand.
A hot and sour soup – perfection in a bowl
Another traditional dish to warm you up during the colder months, hot and sour soup is the perfect choice for those who like it hot. As the name itself suggests, this culinary delight contains ingredients that add the spiciness and the sourness.
This classic staple of the delightful Mandarin cuisine doesn’t only represent the perfect mixture of aromas and colors that is characteristic of this area of Chinese cuisine. It’s also a great combination of vitamins, minerals, and fibres that are good for your body, but the best thing about it is that it’s so easy to make at home. This also means that you can easily customize the ingredients list to appeal to your taste buds in the best way possible. So if you like your broth vegetarian you can use tofu, and if you like the meaty flavour, mix in some pork. Similarly, a dash of garlic chili sauce will make it extra spicy while a drop of rice wine vinegar will add just the right amount of sourness to the dish.
Noodles – quick and delicious energy food
A favourite snack food of many, noodles are an essential and quite versatile ingredient in Chinese cuisine that can be prepared in many ways. For instance, Veg Hakka noodles are perfect for quick and easy veggie-packed dinners your kids will enjoy, but there are also a lot of Chinese noodle recipes that are equally enjoyed by the adults. All it takes is tossing your favorite chopped veggies with noodles and a few drops of lemon juice and then adding preferred seasoning until it’s just right.
Want a spicier version of this popular Chinese dish? Try Dan Dan noodles! Their delightful sesame sauce mixed with chili oil, black rice vinegar and Sichuan pepper topped with crispy, caramelized minced pork and veggies make it a staple in Sichuan and give it a distinctive aroma that will certainly have you asking for seconds.
When it comes to Chinese dishes, balance is key. Mixing the right aromas and tastes while paying attention to aesthetic appeal is crucial in Chinese cuisine, and their signature, traditional meals like the ones listed above are the perfect examples of their dedication to culinary art and attention to detail.