When you hear Cantonese cuisine, the first thing that probably pops into your mind is Chinese food. No wonder because Cantonese cuisine really originated from Guangdong province in southeast China. It is the most widely served style of Chinese cuisine in the world. Of course, many foreigners love it because of its unique flavor that can really satisfy anyone’s taste buds and can fit anyone’s taste.
In this article, we will tell you more about Cantonese cuisine and what makes it unique, especially for people abroad. Whether you’re a foreigner or a local, you should check out this blog to appreciate Cantonese cuisine more.
Let’s get to it!
What Makes Cantonese Food Unique?
Foreigners find Cantonese food amusing because it is made of a wide variety of foodstuff. Some dishes even contain snakes, cats, dogs, and sea life, which are unfamiliar to most foreigners. But, what really distinguishes Cantonese food is their lightly cooked fresh vegetables, meat, fruits, and their sweet sauces. Cantonese chefs lightly cook fresh vegetables and meat because they want to preserve the original flavor. Since preserving the food’s original flavor is their goal, they often add little spice or sugar to their dishes.
As a result, the food may seem bland or tasteless. However, its blandness is what makes Cantonese cuisine unique, especially to foreigners. Why? Because foreigners are so used to the overseas style of Chinese food where more sugar and spice are used.
They can appreciate the mild and distinct flavors of meat, vegetables, and fruit alone in authentic Cantonese cuisine. Additionally, it becomes more healthy since there are no dairy products used when cooking Cantonese cuisine.
What Are the Common Seasonings Used in Cantonese Cuisine?
As mentioned, Cantonese chefs don’t use a lot of seasoning. But, if the food in itself smells or tastes bad, they add some spices to bring out the flavor. Usually, they use chives, coriander leaves, anise, black pepper, and slivers of ginger to provide a mild tanginess that accentuates the food’s flavor.
What Cooking Method is Used in Making Cantonese Cuisine?
Since preserving the food’s flavor is the goal, Cantonese chefs typically cook Cantonese food through steaming and stir-frying. However, stir-fried food is not really common in a Cantonese dish. You can mostly find boiled soups, braised or roasted meats, and sautéed food when you go to a Cantonese restaurant.
What Are the Common Cantonese Dishes?
When you go to a Cantonese restaurant, you can expect to find the following dishes on their menu as these are the most common:
- Chinese Steamed Eggs – This dish is very simple but still delicious. It is made by beating eggs until the consistency becomes creamy, and then, they will be steamed. To add flavor, some restaurants add spring onion and soy sauce.
- Deep Fried Dishes – While deep-fried dishes are not the mainstream in a Cantonese dish, you can still find many in a Cantonese restaurant. Some of the most popular ones are youtiao (油条 /yoh-tyaow/ ‘oil strip’) and Zhaliang (/jaa-lyaang/ ‘fried two’).
- Noodle Dishes – Of course, Chinese cuisine will not be complete without a noodle dish. One of the most popular noodle dishes is the Shahe noodles (shahefen /shaa-her-fnn/). It is a rice noodle dish that has an elastic and chewy texture.
- Meat Dishes – Cantonese cuisine also has a wide variety of meat dishes. But, the most popular meat dish you can see consists of a white chicken.
Cantonese cuisine can offer you a wide variety of dishes. What makes them unique is their authentic flavor coming from the original food’s flavor, which is why a lot of foreigners appreciate Cantonese dishes. Since they are used to overly seasoned dishes, some still prefer to have a taste of the main ingredient’s natural flavor, and a Cantonese dish delivers that to them.
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