To truly immerse yourself in a culture, especially one that is far removed from your own is the true definition of traveling. Whether you travel to the exhilarating Machu Pichu or soak up the rays in Turks & Caicos, there’s one factor in vacation destinations that can be not be ignored, the food. Depending on one’s taste buds and food preferences, that can dictate travel excursions. No matter how much you factor in food, China should be at the top of your list of travel destinations!
You should head to China with at few ideas of where you want to go and how to best enjoy the food. I have provided first hand tips of how to best eat in China.
With many carbohydrate sources, such as rice, noodles, steamed buns as entrées themselves or accompanying the entrees, it can be easy to carb overload. However,
- Eat with chopsticks. Not only will it slow down intake, but locals will be more likely to give you menu and meal suggestions when they see you immersing in the culture
- Try a bit of everything, but don’t eat everything. Having a couple bites can help limit overindulging while getting the exposure to different flavors
- Cold beverages are deemed harmful to digestion of hot foods, so hot tea or hot water are served with meals. Tea is believed to help with the digestion of greasy foods
- Food is often prepared and served on small plate, “family style”, be ready for direct pick up and communal eating
- While China can be divided into 57 cuisine regions, below are some of the more popular regions:
- Szechuan (Sichuan): known for spicy, hot flavor; uses a great mixture of poultry, pork, beef, fish, vegetables, tofu in combination with pepper and chili; fast frying is most commonly used method
- Cantonese: characterized by tender, slightly sweet taste; sauces are often light and mellow, including hoisin, oyster, plum and sweet and sour sauce; often see spring onions, sugar, salt, rice wine, corn starch, vinegar and sesame oil used; garlic can be heavily used; prefer stewing, sautéing or braising food, which helps to preserve the flavor
- Hunan: “land of fish and rice”; fresh vegetables cooked “al dente”; favors steaming, stir frying, smoking and sautéing; special seasonings include soy sauce, tea seed oil, Chinese red pepper, fennel and cassia bark and spicy oil
- Jiangsu: moderate saltiness and sweetness; places emphasis on the making of soups; abundant in freshwater fish and seafood from the Yangtze River and Yellow Sea
- Desserts less common, with sweet foods introduced during meal. For example, basifruit, sizzling sugar syrup coated fruits are eaten with other savory foods
- Beware, there are fried desserts that incorporate red bean paste
- If dessert is served at the end of the meal, often times it is fresh fruit
- Soup is often served at the end of the meal to satiate appetite
For any of you that have traveled to China, what other tips can you share? It’s hard to give specific “restaurant recommendations” as a lot of the great food is on the street kiosks and depending on what flavors you’re looking to try! Remember, when traveling, go in with an open mind and have fun! What regional cuisines are must eats for you
The Forgotten Health Benefits of Chinese Food
This is really helpful. It is amazing how using chopsticks changes how you eat. It does force you to slow down. I like your recommendation to try and avoid too many carbs. Focus on the meats and veggies and it can be a relatively healthy experience. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for your feedback, glad you found it helpful!