My Favourite Chinese Recipes

Lake Nanxiangcun Hunan Restaurant

Here is a collection of my favourite Chinese recipes, which I will add to over time.

As you know, China is a huge country which means there are a wide variety of cuisines. The Sichuan, or Szechuan, region is known for its spicy flavours. The western region of Hunan also commonly has chili and spice in its food. While in Shanghai, I tried a great Hunan country restaurant called Lake Nanxiangcun. On the other hand, the local Shanghai specialties tended to be sweet. For example, wheat gluten and peanuts in sweet sauce and sticky rice-stuffed lotus in honey. The north may be best known for the Peking duck from Beijing. Many countries have a version of this roasted duck served with rice pancakes or buns and garnished with spring onions and hoisin sauce. However, if you are in Beijing, then it is an opportunity to try the original!

For more about Chinese wine and food pairing, I recommend watching this interesting online talk by my friend Janet Wang.

Starters and Snacks

First, the Chinese starters are favourites because they are fun to make. For example, dumplings and wontons can be made easily at home. It’s especially fun in a party setting where your friends and family can help with the preparation. There are also many tasty Chinese soups.

Main Dishes

The variety of flavours in the main dishes is huge! Many of us may be used to the Chinese takeaway restaurants in our western countries. In fact there can be some similarities in the flavours but usually with very different ingredients. For example, the more traditional recipe for sweet and sour ribs is made using plums. On the other hand, the bright red version we see in the UK or the US is made with artificial colours and sometimes even ketchup!

Desserts

Lastly, the desserts may or may not be appealing to those who are not accustomed to eating beans and pastes in their sweets. I recall the first time I bit into a cake expecting the brown filling to be chocolate, and instead it was mashed red beans. The texture and taste were unexpected, and I nearly spit it out. However, I do like some of the desserts including pandan or coconut rolled sponge cake, peanut rice cakes, and candied fruits.

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