Chinese food

Sweet And Sour Pork, 咕噜肉, Chinese, Dish

It’s often a standing joke that what Americans believe to be Chinese food is totally of our own making, and cooks and diners in China would find them completely foreign (like chop suey–what on earth is that?) . But somewhere along the line, Chinese food has been adapted from our Asian immigrants, Americanized and became wildly popular, not just as a take-out but functioned buffet-style and sit-down as well. Let’s review our most popular:

Dim Sum: bite-sized dumplings stuffed with meat or veggies,basically a Cantonese preparation not necessarily offered at many restaurants; could be also presented as small sampling dishes, depending on the menu and the cook’s whim;

Hot and Sour Soup: a superbly”sour” soup with a spicy broth, it contains red peppers or white pepper and vinegar; another favorite soup is a light broth with won ton (meat-filled dumplings);

Szechwan Chilli Chicken: a fiery Sichuan delight packed with pungent spices such as ginger, green and red chillies and brown pepper; be careful if you are not a fan of hot chilli peppers;

Shitake Fried Rice with water Chestnuts: mushrooms and water chestnuts are used frequently in Chinese cooking, and this is just another version of traditional fried rice; some things never go out of style;

General Tso Chicken: deep-fried chicken dish in a skillet, an all-time favored; it may have been named in honour of a Qing dynasty military leader, but it is really anyone’s guess;

Peking Duck: don’t expect this specialization to be readily available at many Chinese restaurants, Peking duck harkens back to the Imperial Era (221 B.C.) and characterized by its thin, crispy skin; often must be ordered ahead of time but fit for an emperor;

Like many other cuisines, Chinese cooking uses sauces and seasonings native to their areas, which might include:

soy sauce

oyster sauce

sesame oil

rice vinegar

rice wine

soybean paste

star anise

five spice powder

Chili sauce (or paste)

Raccoon Sounds

sichuan peppercorns

black bean sauce

Many of these are available in the Asian aisle of your local grocery store or plenty of Asian grocers in larger cities and can be great fun to try in your own kitchen. As the old saying goes, you might be hungry an hour later, but it’s well worth it.

 

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