Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Taking the American Out of Your Chinese Food

Living in New York, I have realized how popular Chinese food is in America. However, I have also learned that the sweet and sour chicken that we have come to love has about as much to do with China as Boise, Idaho does! Because of this reason, and the fact that Friday’s Olympics are being held in China, below I have given information concerning the truth behind authentic Cantonese and Szechuan food.

Originating further in Southern China, Cantonese food is the refined style of Chinese food. The Cantonese are known to cook with just about anything, and because they use minimal oil, it is quite healthy. Dim Sum is one of the more popular Cantonese dishes, eaten for breakfast or for lunch.
Szechuan food is known to be of the spicier variety because of its use of Szechuan peppercorn. Twice Cooked Pork and Kung Pao Chicken are popular dishes of the Southwestern Szechuan Province. As you eat this traditionally spicy food, remember that because the spices tend to be made with oil, drinking water does not ease the heat! Drink milk, beer, or eat rice to cool your down your mouth.

Next time you go out to grab some Chinese food in your town, do a little research to see if the food you are eating is authentic. Unless you have eaten some truly Cantonese or Szechuan meals you are cheating your taste buds from some amazing flavors!

Great Chinese Cookbooks:
Chinese Technique: An Illustrated Guide to the Fundamental Techniques of Chinese Cooking, by Ken Hom
Land of Plenty, by Fuschia Dunlop