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  • What is Chinese food?

  • It's much more than just stir fries, noodles and dumplings.

  • Up until the last decade or so, Chinese restaurants in the West haven't been very diverse, But China itself is, and it's climate, geography, culture and consequently, its food.

  • This is our breakdown of regional Chinese cuisines for simplicity sake.

  • We've divided China into four regions north, south, east and west.

  • Fit in the north because of the cold.

  • Climate is heavy on meat and cards.

  • The southern seaboard is rich with seafood, and the regions around the Yangtze River Delta in the east are teeming with river fish and crustaceans.

  • Meanwhile, the tropical southwest is lush with vegetation.

  • Still, it's difficult to categorize Chinese food.

  • Provincial borders are not the best markers, as many of them have shifted over time with the rise and fall of dynasties.

  • Now, Chinese food can be broken down into many different categories, But searching regions cuisines have become dominant simply because of their international reach.

  • Generally speaking, China has two main carbs wheat and rice, and their prevalence follows a north south divide.

  • Rice requires a lot of water, and the self gets plenty of it with more rain on average than the North.

  • Therefore, rice is consumed more in the south, and the North specializes in wheat because it doesn't need all that much water.

  • In the north, you'll see a lot of wheat noodle dishes and quite a bit of buns.

  • In the South, you'll see a lot of fried rice, rice noodles and rice noodle rules.

  • Let's zoom into the south.

  • The Southeast, including Guangdong Province and Hong Kong, is home to Cantonese cuisine.

  • The flavor profile here tends to be salty and sweet, and because of its proximity to the sea, there's a lot of seafood.

  • This region is also the birthplace of oyster sauce and hoisin sauce, and people here are really good at making sweet, barbecued meat.

  • Cantonese cuisine also includes dim sum, a class of small brunch fights powered by steam think rice noodle roles and delicate shrimp dumplings wrapped in tapioca flour.

  • Just above is the east.

  • Among the four regional cuisines, it is the sweetest.

  • Fish is deep fried and ladled with sweet and sour sauce, and pork ribs are coated with soy sauce and sugar.

  • It's proximity to a lush network of waterways has earned it the moniker land of fish and rice, Freshwater fish and crustaceans tend to dominate the menu.

  • It also happens to be the home of soup, dumplings or shallow ball and yams fried rice.

  • Over in the west, you have a lush area that's known for its sub tropical climate, pandas and spicy food.

  • Fresh greens are abundant here, and the flavor profile is spicy and numbing.

  • This is also the home of the Sichuan peppercorn, a Chinese spice that will literally numb the tongue.

  • And finally, we have the north.

  • Leafy greens are harder to find here.

  • Potatoes, eggplant, onions and cabbage tend to be the plants of choice.

  • Meat is dominant, especially beef and lamb.

  • And because it's a wheat heavy region, noodles, buns and dumplings are everywhere.

  • You'll see dishes like a lamb dumplings and beef noodle soup.

  • So there you have it.

  • A very simple break down to the four most prominent regions of Chinese cuisine.

  • Coming up will be doing a much deeper dive into each of these four regions.

  • We've enlisted four tour guides and four chefs to teach us more about the respective cuisines.

  • This is just the beginning, so keep your eye on this channel for more.

What is Chinese food?

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