When it comes to Chinese cuisine, most people are familiar with dishes like sweet and sour pork or General Tso’s chicken. However, there is a whole world of flavors waiting to be discovered in Southern Chinese cuisine. From delicate dim sum to spicy Sichuan cuisine, the culinary traditions of this region are as diverse as they are delicious.
Let’s start our journey in Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province. Known as the “food city” of China, Guangzhou holds a special place in the hearts (and stomachs) of food enthusiasts. Here, you can find a wide variety of dishes that exemplify the Cantonese style of cooking. From the famous roasted duck to steaming bowls of wonton noodles, every bite in Guangzhou is a delight.
As we move further south to Fujian province, the flavors become bolder and more complex. Fujian cuisine is known for its emphasis on seafood and the use of unique ingredients like oyster sauce and fermented fish. A must-try dish is the famous “Buddha Jumps Over the Wall,” a complex soup made with various types of seafood and meat. It is said to be so delicious that even a vegetarian monk would be tempted to jump over a wall to sample it.
Next, we head to the vibrant city of Hong Kong, where East meets West in its culinary offerings. Influenced by Cantonese, British, and international cuisines, Hong Kong’s food scene is a melting pot of flavors. Don’t miss out on trying their iconic dim sum, with its delicate dumplings and steamed buns filled with various savory ingredients.
Moving into the neighboring province of Guangxi, we encounter the spicy and fiery flavors of Sichuan cuisine. Known for its liberal use of chili peppers and numbing Sichuan peppercorns, Sichuan cuisine is not for the faint of heart. One of the most famous dishes from this region is mapo tofu, a spicy and flavorful dish made with tofu and minced pork. Be prepared for a tingling sensation on your tongue accompanied by an explosion of flavors.
As we reach the end of our gastronomic journey, we find ourselves in the city of Hainan, known for its fresh seafood and tropical fruits. Hainanese cuisine is a fusion of Chinese, Malay, and Thai influences, resulting in dishes that are light, fragrant, and bursting with tropical flavors. Make sure to try the Hainanese chicken rice, a simple yet incredibly flavorful dish that has become a national dish in Singapore and Malaysia.