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Food: Cantonese Cuisine

Food: Cantonese Cuisine

Canton
The most familiar Chinese dishes originated from the Cantonese cuisine. As mostresidents originate from the Guangdong province where Guangzhou (Canton) islocated, Hong Kong is the world capital for this style of cooking. TheCantonese people are very finicky when it comes to the freshness of their food.Even the amount of time taken for a live, swimming fish to be placed on a plateis kept to a minimum.

Cantonese cooking is somewhat lighter than most regional Chinese cuisine.Preparation methods usually involve stir-frying in shallow water or oil in awok. As cooking time is short, the flavors and nutrition of the food ispreserved. Vegetable and fish dishes are often steamed without the use of toomuch oil. Sauces made from ingredients like ginger, garlic, onion, vinegar, andsugar are complemented to enhance flavors.

Cantonese menus are long and can often confuse the diner in making a decision.There are a wide variety of dishes made from meats, poultry, fish, seafood, andvegetables for your pick. Chicken is a celebrity food among Cantonese eaters. Asingle chicken can be used to prepare several dishes. Chicken blood is cookedand solidified for soup, and its liver is used in a wonderful delicacy calledGolden Coin Chicken. The livers are skewered between pieces of pork fat andred-roasted until the fat becomes crispy, and the liver soft and succulent.This specialty is then eaten with wafers or orange-flavored bread.

Seafood is the next best delicacy in Hong Kong. Some of the popular dishesinclude fresh-steamed fish with ginger and onion topped with a dash of soysauce and sesame oil, prawns and crabs cooked or steamed in black-bean sauce,and shark’s fin soup. Cantonese barbecuing methods are unsurpassed. When inHong Kong, do not miss the barbecued goose, duck, or slices of pork with agolden and honeyed skin served on a bed of anise-flavored preserved beans.Also, experience the taste of double-boiled soup with duck, mushroom, andtangerine peel.

There are specialty foods that are only served during particular seasons. Inwinter, a traditional winter dish would be cooked snake. Dog meat is also awinter dish but it is illegal in Hong Kong. Only China’s mainland continues toserve dog meat in winter and tours to the region specifically to eat dog meatare available. “Monk Jumping Over the Wall” is the name for a dish made from ablend of abalone, chicken, ham, mushroom, and herbs that are so irresistiblethat monks are said to break their vows of vegetarianism if its fragrance iswithin smelling distance. Another kind of tempting dish is the casserole ofchicken and Chinese smoked pork sausage that is served steamed on a bed ofrice. Autumn also has its share of dishes, which can be ordered at restaurants.Examples of autumn dishes include rice birds and paddy chicken or frogs cookedin a crunchy batter mixed with crushed almonds and served with sweet-and-soursauce.

Dim sum is, without a doubt, a trademark food in Cantonese cuisine. It isusually consumed in the mornings and afternoons. Dim sum is a delectable palateof little snacks, which come in wicker baskets that are placed on trolleys, andpushed around by waiters or waitresses. Diners have the opportunity to choosethe baskets of their choice from the trolley when it reaches the table.However, more restaurants are beginning to provide dim sum order forms fordiners to tick the required items, rather than congesting the restaurants withtrolleys. The most popular dim sum items are: “ha gau” (shrimp dumpling), “siu mai”(prawn and pork dumpling), “pai gwat” (steamed spareribs), “chun guen” (springrolls), “cha siu pau” (steamed barbecued pork buns), and “cheung fun” (steamedrice flour rolls with barbecue pork, beef, or shrimp).

Chiu Chow

Chiu Chow cuisine, also known as Swatow food, originated from the city ofSwatow in the coastal region of Guangdong. Seafood, goose, and duck are eminentfeatures of this cuisine. The Chiu Chow people have a unique method ofharvesting oysters by pushing bamboo sticks into oyster beds. They then waitfor the sticks to encrust with mollusks. After that, the oysters are madeedible and tasty just by grilling the oysters in their shells over a fire. Inrestaurants, however, oysters are fried in egg batter and clams served in aspicy sauce of black beans and chilies. Gray mullet is a popular cold dish, andpomfret fish smoked over tea leaves, along with fresh-water eel stewed in brownsauce are other highly recommended dishes.

Sauces are often sweet, using tangerine or sweet beans for flavor. Chiu Chowchefs are particularly skilled in carving raw vegetables into floral designs,thus bringing forth Hong Kong’s most artistic dishes. Two of the most expensiveChinese delicacies - shark’s fin and bird’s nest - are the pride of Chiu Chowcuisine. The dried saliva, which lines the edible swiftlet’s nest, provides themagic base for the famous birds nest soup. This nourishing saliva is said torejuvenate the old and can be eaten together with coconut milk or almonds. Thefinest birds nest is claimed by a Hong Kong restaurateur who rents a mountainin Thailand, which he believes harbors the finest set of swiftlet nests inSoutheast Asia.

Other equally tasty Chiu Chow specialties are the baked rice birds, which areseasonal fowl dishes stuffed with chicken liver and served by the dozens, aswell as minced pigeon cooked with water chestnuts and eaten wrapped in crispylettuce leaves spiked with a smack of plum sauce. A Chiu Chow meal ends withdesserts made from taro, water chestnuts, and sugar-syrup, which are thenwashed down with cups of strong ‘kungfu’ tea. A simply extraordinary meal!


Hakka
Hakka settlers mainly dwell in Hong Kong’s New Territories. When they migratedfrom the northern regions of China to Hong Kong, they brought along their own traditionalcooking. Their main dishes are stuffed duck and salt-baked chicken. Preparationof the stuffed duck requires some amount of time. The bird has to be debonedthrough a hole in the neck and then stuffed with a rich assortment of glutinousrice, chopped meats, and lotus seeds. Hakka cooking also makes do with unusualfood sources, such as braised chicken’s blood or pig’s brain stewed in Chinesewine. These may seem repulsive to most foreigners, but to the Chinese, theymake tasty delicacies that are good for one’s health.

Sauces and condiments include: (
调味酱料)
Hoisin sauce (
海鲜酱)
Oyster sauce (
蚝油)
Plum sauce (
苏梅酱)
Sweet and sour sauce (
甜酸酱)
Black bean paste (
蒜蓉豆豉酱)
Fermented bean paste (
豆酱)
Shrimp paste (
咸虾酱)
Red vinegar (
浙醋)
Master stock (
卤水)
Char siu sauce (
叉烧酱)
Chu hau paste (
柱侯酱)

Traditional dishes:
(传统菜肴)
Chinese steamed eggs (
蒸水蛋)
Congee with century egg (
皮蛋粥)
Cantonese fried rice (
炒饭)
Sweet and sour pork (
咕噜肉)
Steamed spare ribs (paigu) with fermented black beans and chili pepper (
豉椒排骨)
Stir-fried vegetables with meat (e.g. chicken, duck, pork, beef, or intestines)(
青菜炒肉片)
Steamed frog legs on lotus leaf (
荷叶蒸田鸡)
Steamed ground pork and salted duck egg meatballs (
咸蛋蒸肉饼)
Blanched vegetables with oyster sauce (
油菜)
Stir fried water convolvulus with shredded chili and fermented tofu (
椒丝腐乳通菜)
Crispy fried chicken (
炸子鸡)
Seafood birdsnest (
海鲜雀巢)
Roasted suckling pig (
烧乳猪)
Taro duck (
陈皮芋头鸭)
Roast young pigeon/squabs (
烤乳鸽)
Sour spare ribs (
生炒排骨)
Salt and pepper rib (
椒盐骨)
Salt and pepper squid (
椒盐鱿鱼)
Salt and pepper shrimp (
椒盐虾)

Deep fried dishes:
(油炸类)
Zhaliang (
炸两)
Youtiao (
油条)
Dace fish balls (
鲮鱼球)
Prawn crackers (
虾饼)
Deep-fried marinated pigeon (
烧乳鸽)

Slow cooked soup: (
羹汤类)
Cantonese seafood soup (
海皇羹)
Winter melon soup (
冬瓜汤)
Snow fungus soup (
银耳汤)
Spare rib soup with watercress and apricot kernels (
南北杏西洋菜猪骨汤)
Seafood:
(海鲜)
Steamed fish (
蒸鱼)
Steamed scallops with ginger and garlic (
蒜茸蒸扇贝)
White boiled shrimp (
白灼虾)
Lobster with ginger and scallions (
姜葱龙虾)

Noodle dishes:
(粉面类)
Wonton noodle (
云吞面)
Chinese noodles with fish balls, beef balls, or fish slices
Beef chow fun (
干炒牛河)
Shahe fen (
沙河粉)
Lo mein (
捞面)
Hong Kong pan-fried noodles (
海鲜炒面)
Pan-fried crispy noodles (
炒面)

Siu mei:
(烧味)
Char siu (
叉烧)
Roasted goose (
烧鹅, siu ngo)
Roasted pig (
烧肉)

Lou mei:
(卤味)
Beef entrails (
牛杂)
Beef stew (
牛腩)
Duck gizzard (
鸭肾)
Pig tongue (
猪脷)

Siu laap:
(腊味)
White cut chicken (
白切鸡)
Orange cuttlefish (
卤水墨鱼)
Poached duck in master stock (
卤水鸭)
Soy sauce chicken (
豉油鸡, si yau gai)
White rice with Chinese sausage and cha siu(
叉烧饭)
White rice with goose entrails and roasted goose
(烧鹅鹅肠饭)
White rice with white cut chicken, duck gizzards, and beef stew
(白切鸡鸭肾焖牛肉饭)
Siu mei platter (
烧味拼盘)
Siu lap platter (
烧腊拼盘)

Little pan rice:
(碟头饭)
Layered egg and beef over rice (
窝蛋牛肉饭)
Layered steak over rice (
肉饼煲仔饭)
Tofu pot over rice
Pork spare ribs over rice (
排骨煲仔饭)
Steamed chicken over rice (
蒸鸡肉煲仔饭)
Preserved Chinese sausage over rice (
蜡味煲仔饭)

Dessert:
(甜品)
Red bean soup (
红豆沙)
Black sesame soup (
芝麻糊)
Sai mai lo (
西米露)
Sweet potato soup (
番薯糖水)
Mung bean soup (
绿豆沙)
Dau fu fa (
豆腐花)
Guilinggao (
龟苓膏)
Sweet Chinese pastry (
糕点)
Coconut bar (
椰汁糕)
Shaved Ice (
刨冰)
Steamed egg custard (
炖蛋)
Steamed milk custard (
炖奶)
Other delicacies:
(其他美味)
Braised abalone (
焖鲍鱼, bao yu)
Shark fin soup (
鱼翅羹, yu qi tong)
Sea cucumber (
海参, hoi sam)
Swallow’s nest soup (
燕窝, yeen waw)