Chinese cuisine, rich and colorful, has, as its main features diversified color, aromatic flavor, and excellent taste. With these three characteristics, Chinese cuisine is not only tasty but also a work of art for people to appreciate.
To make real Chinese food, none of the three characteristics – color, aroma and delicious taste should be excluded.
Food with diversified color can usually greatly arouse people's appetite. For many years, Chinese food preparation has paid attention to aesthetic appearance. To have a bright, pleased and harmonious color is one of the main principles when cooking Chinese food. To achieve this, add two or three ingredients with different colors are added as decoration to complement the main ingredient. Thus, it is not only the taste of Chinese cuisine that makes you amazed but also its aesthetic value.
Chinese people attach great importance to the aroma of the dish. Usually aniseed, Chinese prickly ash seeds, cinnamon and other spices are added to help dispel the ingredients' particular smells, such as foul, fishy and mutton smells. Also some other flavors like shallot, ginger, garlic or chili, cooking wine and sesame oil are added to make the food fragrant in flavor.
Regarded as the soul of the Chinese dish, taste can be divided into five classes – sweet, sour, bitter, hot and salty. Seasoning such as soy sauce, sugar, vinegar and salt in proper amount and in different sequences, contribute to the taste of the dish. In the vast land of China, there are eating habits of 'South-Sweet, North-Salty, East-Hot and West-Sour' according to the different tastes of the people. Those in southern China like to add more sugar when cooking than others. Jiangsu Cuisine one of the Chinese 'Eight Cuisines' is representative of 'South-Sweet'. Shandong Cuisine feature more salt and people living in Hunan, Gubei, Jiangxi, Guizhou, Sichuan like chili best. Sour flavor is favored by Shanxi, Fujian, Guangxi people and the northeasterners.
When a banquet is held, usually ten to twelve people sit around a table to enjoy the bounteous feast. Delicious hot and cold dishes with different tastes and flavors cooked in different ways are served. Together with the diversified colors of the dishes, everyone can't help marveling at the rich Chinese dietetic culture.