Chinese cuisine varies according to in the 4 main regions of China. Cantonese tends to be lightly flavoured and often stir fried. (Sweet and sour comes from this region too). In Beijing’s colder climate rice does not grow and dishes tend to be more noodle based. Shanghai cuisine uses a lot of fish and seafood as it is has the sea and rivers nearby. Szechwan cooking is famous for its use of tongue-blistering chilli in many dishes. Traditionally most Chinese cuisine is mostly based on opposites, where sweet balances sour for example.
- Enough sunflower oil for deep frying (about 5cm deep in a pan)
- 300g Minute steak sirloin steak thin cut into strips
- 3 tablespoons cornflour
- Small head of broccoli broken into florets
- 2 cloves garlic
- 5cm piece ginger finely chopped
- 1 fresh chilli
- Half a bunch spring onions
- 5 tablespoons sugar dissolved in 4 tablespoons soy sauce
- Juice of 2 limes
- Heat a 5cm depth of oil in a wok until it is very hot
- Fry the steak in batches until dark and crisp
- Remove from the pan and drain off most of the oil and stir fry the broccoli
- Add the sweetened soy sauce and lime juice and cook for 2 minutes
- Toss in the beef and spring onions and serve immediately with plain boiled rice or noodles
Chinese table manners
Table etiquette is very important to Chinese people and using the correct table manners is believed to bring “luck” to the family. In most Chinese dishes food is prepared in bite-sized pieces, ready for direct picking up and eating easily with chopsticks. When not in use, chopsticks must always be placed neatly on the table with two sticks lying tidily next to each other at both ends. Do not pierce food with chopsticks or stick them vertically in a bowl of rice as this implies the food is for the dead. Pointing your chopsticks at another person amounts a great insult. However belching, lip smacking and loud slurping noises are all fine. Talking with a full mouth and eating with the elbows on the table are OK too, as it tasting food from another’s plate.
Rice wine, traditionally warmed before serving.
Make a night of it
Make a night of it with authentic Chinese tableware, stick Damon Albarn’s “Monkey, Journey to the West” in the CD player and set off some sky lanterns and to complete the wow factor! Go to town and theme any celebration from the wildest party to the most select of dinner parties around one of these fabulous Chinese festivals.
Set the sky alight with lanterns
Sky lanterns are used at many Chinese festivals and they are a lovely way to light up any celebration. Watch them float up into the sky. Lots of colours to choose from!
Chinese food just doesn’t taste the same with a knife and fork, so we have found some lovely Chinese chopsticks and bowls.