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China’s food culture is as diverse as the multitude of spoken dialects. From the coastal cities to inland provinces, every regional community has its own cooking methods, condiments and flavours, born of the local climate, produce and customs. However, most ‘Chinese’ food in other parts of the world are in fact, adapted and evolved from Cantonese origins. This is due to the mass migration of Guangdong people during the late Qing dynasty period in the 1800s-1900s.
Guangdong is a south-eastern coastal province of China, with Guangzhou as its capital. Home to Cantonese, Hakka, Teochew and Guangxi people – who also make up many of the immigrant descendants around the globe. Cantonese cuisine specifically refers to the culinary arts and tradition of Cantonese speakers, who are the most prominent community.
Guangdong has long been a trading hub since ancient times with many imported food and ingredients, as well as a mostly warm climate with abundant rainfall great for agriculture. As such, Cantonese culinary became richer and more refined than other Chinese cuisines. Even today, Cantonese chefs are highly regarded across China.