Cantonese Cuisine

Cantonese Cuisine

Cantonese cuisine (Chinese: 粵菜; pinyin: yuè cài) originates from the region around Canton in southern China’s Guangdong province. Of the various regional styles of Chinese cuisine, Cantonese is the best-known outside China; a “Chinese restaurant” in a Western country will usually serve mostly Cantonese food, or an adaptation thereof. The prominence of Cantonese cuisine outside China is likely due to the disproportionate emigration from this region, as well as the relative accessibility of some Cantonese dishes to foreign palates. Cantonese dishes rarely use much “hot” spice like chilli, unlike, for instance, Szechuan cuisine.

There is a Cantonese saying: “Any animal whose back faces the sky can be eaten” (背脊向天,都可以食 or 背脊向天人可食). Cantonese cuisine includes almost all edible food in addition to the staples of pork, beef and chicken — snakes, snails, insects, worms, chicken feet, duck tongues, ox genitals, and entrails. One subject of controversy amongst some Westerners is the raising of dogs as food in some places in China; however, dog is not a common restaurant food, and is illegal in Hong Kong (and will soon be in Taiwan).

Despite the countless Cantonese cooking methods, steaming, stir frying and deep frying are the most popular cooking methods in restaurants due to the short cooking time, and philosophy of bringing out the flavor of the freshest ingredients.