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Guangdong Cuisine

Guangdong cuisine, known as Cantonese cuisine in the West, originates from China's southern province Guangdong and develops in Guangzhou, Huizhou and Chaozhou of Guangdong Province and Hainan Island. The recipes of Cantonese dishes appeared in the literature of the Han (206BC-220AD), Wei, South and North Dynasties (220-587), became famous both at home and abroad at the beginning of the 20th century. The majority of overseas Chinese, especially in Southeast Asia, are from Guangdong (Canton), so Cantonese food is perhaps the most widely available Chinese regional cuisine outside China.

Long, warm, wet days in Guangdong throughout the year create the perfect environment for cultivating almost everything. Cantonese are known to have an adventurous palate, able to eat many different kinds of meats and vegetables and other exotic ingredients. In fact, it seems that, to the Cantonese, almost everything that walks, crawls, flies, or swims is edible. A humorous saying goes like this, Cantonese will eat anything that flies except airplanes, anything that moves on the ground except trains, and anything that moves in the water except boats. This statement is far from the truth, but Cantonese food is surely one of the most diverse and richest cuisines in China. It usually has fowl and other meats that produce its unique dishes. Various unusual materials are used for their dishes, including snakes, cats and pangolins. Cooked snake is considered a delicacy in Guangdong.

As the climate of Guangdong is hot, Cantonese food does not use much spice, bringing out the natural flavor of the vegetables and meats. The dishes are fresh, crisp, tender, and lightly seasoned.

Guangdong cuisine has absorbed the cooking skills of the West as well as that of other Chinese regions, to develop its own unique methods. The basic cooking techniques include roasting, stir-frying, sauteing, deep-frying, braising, stewing and steaming. Steaming and stir-frying are most commonly used to preserve the ingredients' natural flavors. Guangdong chefs also pay much attention to the artistic presentation of their dishes.

The most famous snake dish in Guangdong is the dragon and tiger locked in battle, in which cobra, leopard cat, and over twenty spices are used. Roasted snake with chrysanthemum blooms is provided in autumn; the dish is creamy in color and garnished with beautiful petals of chrysanthemum, mushrooms, and various flavorings. Other delicacies in Guangdong cuisine are braised whole abalone with vegetable and delicious sauce, roasted suckling pig, duck web in oyster sauce, shark's fin with brown sauce, sauteed sliced beef with vegetable, fish belly in clear soup, fried shrimp, drunken shrimp (shrimp that are still alive, yet drowning in liquor), bird's nest with wax gourd, Dongjiang salted chicken and braised chicken feed with wild herbs.

In addition, Guangdong is also well known for its dim sum, snack-like delicacies of savory and sweet buns, steamed meat with vegetable and pastries. Dim sum is usually served for breakfast and lunch. 

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