It is difficult to say how many culinary schools are there in China. One theory claims that there are four major styles of cooking – Shandong, Sichuan, Yangzhou, and Cantonese. Another theory puts the number at eight, with the addition of Fukienese cooking, which attaches utmost importance to freshness of ingredients and delicate taste of dishes. Zhejiang cooking, distinguished by an obsession with the purity of flavour, Hunanese cooking, producing dishes which are pungent in a numbing way, and Anhui cooking, known for its richness of flavours. A third theory argues that Beijing and Shanghai cuisine should be added so that China has ten dominant schools of cooking.
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