Guangzhou is a paradise for food-lovers. Here you can enjoy millions of mouth-watering delicacies. Among them, Cantonese cuisine is one in a million. So what are the must-try Cantonese dishes for a newcomer to Guangzhou? Liang Jianyu has something to say.
Liang is a cooking master certified by the China Cuisine Association and the executive chef of the White Swan Hotel, the iconic five-star city-resort in Guangzhou. He has been working in the culinary industry for about 30 years. Follow him, you can enjoy the most authentic Cantonese cuisine.
Liang describes Cantonese cuisine as inclusive, it upholds the tradition, and in the same time learns from other cuisines.
White cut chicken is the first must-try dish recommended by Liang who points out that for Guangdong people, no chicken, no banquet.
Here are some of the must-try Cantonese dishes for you to savor in Guangzhou.
◎ White cut chicken
White cut chicken is a traditional, common chicken dish in Cantonese Cuisine with great presentation and taste. It is easy-to-make and cooked in its entirety in hot water without other ingredients to keep its original flavor. White cut chicken is light and delicious. The chicken’s skin is light colored, nearly white and the meat is quite tender, moist, and flavorful. A condiment usually accompanied by combining finely minced ginger, green onion, salt and hot peanut oil. Additional dips can be spicy mustard, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, oyster sauce, or chili pepper sauce.
◎ Cha siu pork
Cha siu pork is classified as a type of siu mei, Cantonese roasted meat. It has a red exterior and slightly sweet flavor and is made of lean pork. Long strips of seasoned boneless pork are skewered with long forks and placed in a covered oven or over a fire. High-quality cha siu pork should be tender and juicy with bright color and rich fragrance. Among them, the one with balanced fat and lean pork is the best.
◎ Fat choy trotter
Fat choy trotter is an authentic Cantonese dish. For southerners, good omen is the most important in the Chinese New Year. Therefore, there are some unique New Year dishes for the Spring Festival. Fat choy trotter is one of the must-be-served traditional dishes for the Chinese New Year. Hair weeds (fat choy in Cantonese), trotters and lettuce are the main ingredients. Condiment includes taro curd, five spice powder, dark soy sauce, sugar and salt. This dish has tasty gravy and tender meat.
◎ Sweet and sour pork
Called “goo lou yok” in Cantonese dialect, sweet and sour pork is a classic Cantonese dish consisting of deep-fried pork and sweet and sour sauce. It is one of the most popular Chinese dishes in Western countries. Many restaurants in China Towns all over the world often serve sweet and sour pork along with rice or fried rice.
◎ Long-simmered soup
Long-simmered soup, aka Cantonese soup, is one health maintaining recipe of Cantonese cuisine dating back to thousands of years. The soup is often simmered over low heat for several hours, enhancing health-benefiting functions of the soup as well as enriching the flavor. This kind of soup is good for both balancing the yin and yang of human body and recuperating by the assistance of Chinese herb medicine.
◎ Rice noodle roll
Rice noodle roll is also known as steamed rice roll or chee cheong fun where chee cheong means pig intestine, and ‘fun’ means noodle; this is because the noodle is rolled more tightly and resembles the small intestine of a pig. Traditional Cantonese style rice noodle roll has only one or two kinds of stuffing and soybean sauce as the condiment, so its flavor is lighter and purer.
Shumai is one of the most popular dim sums in Cantonese style morning or afternoon tea. It is mainly made from pork, shrimp meat, wonton wrapper and egg, with light soy sauce, sugar, salt, chicken powder, ground pepper, cornstarch and cooking wine as condiment. Now Shumai is a must for the tea houses and restaurants in Lingnan region.
Reported by Monica Liu
Edited by Wing Zhang