Yue(粤) Cuisine – One of The Eight Chinese Regional Cuisines
Yue Cuisine, also called Cantonese cuisine, Is the culinary style of Guangdong Province. Its history is short, it is greatly shaped by other cuisines and draws their merits. Its raw materials are plentiful, dishes novel, and the flavor light and fresh. As Guangzhou is one of the earliest trading ports, Yue Cuisine absorbed cooking methods from the Western style cuisines through the economic and cultural exchanges over the time and began to go abroad. It is best known around the world as the majority of the Chinese restaurants were of Cantonese origin.
There are several local variations of Yue Cuisine, such as Guangzhou style, Chaozhou style, and Dongjiang style. Guangzhou style is the most notable.
For Guangzhou cuisine, the typical dishes include sliced boiled chicken, boiled prawns, battle of dragon and tiger (snake and cat meat), roasted suckling pig, stewed pork with taro, Huangpu fried egg, stewed clamworm, fried snakes with white gound.
Chaoshan, once part of Fujian, is now within Guangdong Province. Therefore, Chaoshan cuisine draws on the merits of Min and Yue cuisine and developed on its own. It is good at cooking seafood and tastes savory, intensive, fresh and sweet. Fish sauce, barbecue sauce, plum sauce and ginger wine are widely used. Sweet dishes are popular. Typical dishes include roast goose, soy sauce chicken, state protector cuisine (stewed sweet potato leaves), assorted stew with a trepan, stir-fried crabs with scallion and ginger, and dry fried shrimp balls.
Dongjiang cuisine is also known as Hakka cuisine. Hakkas used to live in Central China, who fled southward against wars in the late Han Dynasty (206 B.C.-220 A.D.) and Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127). They relocated to Dongjiang region and kept the customs of Central China. Meat is the staple ingredient and aquatic products are seldom used. The dishes taste salty, intensive and fragrant with a lot of oil. Casserole dishes with special flavor are their hallmark. Typical delicacies include Dongjiang salt baked chicken, Dongjiang bean curd stuffed with minced pork, refreshing beef balls and steamed pork with preserved vegetables.
Guangzhou style, the most typical of Yue Cuisine, is characterized by its light taste. It endeavors to bring out the best original flavor of ingredients. Therefore, scalding, sliced, stewing and steaming are prevalent methods, like sliced boiled pork, boiled prawns, steamed spare ribs in black bean sauce, slow-heat soup, and congees. Excessive use of oil is often avoided, and strong seasonings such as chilis and Chinese red peppers are seldom applied. Also, spices should be used in modest amounts to avoid overwhelming the flavors of the primary ingredients, and cooking time is carefully watched to avoid destroying the original freshness.
Yue Cuisine is extremely abundant in its categories. Besides the dishes. there are numerous kinds of soup, congee, tea refreshment, and snacks. Thus comes the saying ” Come to Guangzhou for fine food”. Cantonese prefer to drink soup and tea, which evolve into the exclusive soup culture and tea culture. The slow-cooked soup of Guangzhou inherited the traditional thoughts of strengthening the body with food. The long-time stewing over low heat brings the aroma of herbs and meat together and tastes sweet. From the saying ” rather eat without dishes than without soup”, we can tell the Cantonese special favor over soups. Drinking tea includes morning tea and night tea, which mean having breakfast and late night snack. Tea refreshment covers dim sum, congee, rice noodles, noodles and desserts, and some appetizers. When the night comes, the tea houses are crowded with people. Sometimes as late as midnight, the customers may still arrive.
Boiled prawns, a special cooking method of Yue cuisine, is to prepare the food with boiling water or broth. Guangzhou people prefer this method to cook shrimps to keep the fresh, sweet and tender flavor. The prawns are served with soy sauce after the shells are peeled.
Hot Pot Rice
Hot pot rice is a traditional delicacy. Stewing is also a widely used technique in Yue Cuisine. Put the washed rice in a flat-bottom clay pot with the appropriate amount of water, cover the pot and stew it until it is medium well. Then other ingredients are added and cooked with slow heat until it is well-done. The rice and dish are fresh and tasty. Soy sauce can be added to increase the flavor. There are many combinations, such as preserved beef over rice, mushroom with chicken over rice, spare rib with fermented black bean over rice. roasted duck over rice and sliced boiled chicken over rice.
Sliced Boiled Chicken
Because the skin tastes refreshing and the meat light and fresh, sliced boiled chicken is the most common and prevalent chicken dish in Yue Cuisine. The cooking method is easy, Just boiling the salt-marinated chicken in water or chicken broth with no extra ingredients, preserving the best of the original taste of chicken. When served, dip the chicken in sauce to add flavor.