To help you navigate China's many cuisines, we have used the following terms in our restaurant reviews.
Cantonese: A diverse cuisine that roasts and stir-fries, braises and steams. Spices are used in moderation. Notable dishes include fried rice, sweet-and-sour pork, and roasted goose.
Chinese: Catch-all term used for restaurants that serve cuisine from multiple regions of China; pan-Chinese.
Chinese fusion: Any type of Chinese cuisine with international influences.
Chiu chow: Known for its vegetarian and seafood dishes, which are mostly poached, steamed, or braised. Signature dishes include popiah (nonfried spring rolls), baby oyster congee, and fish ball noodle soup.
Hunan: Stewing, frying, braising, and smoking are featured cooking methods. Flavors are spicy, incorporating chili peppers, shallots, and garlic, along with dried and preserved condiments. Signature dishes are Mao's braised pork, steamed fish head with shredded chilies, and spicy eggplant in garlic sauce.
Macanese: An eclectic blend of southern Chinese and Portuguese cooking, featuring the use of salted dried fish, coconut milk, turmeric, and other spices. Common dishes are African-style barbecued chicken with spicy piri piri sauce, pork buns, and curried baked chicken.
Mandarin: China's capital city, Beijing, features cuisine from all over the country. Dishes from the city typically are snack size, featuring ingredients like dark soy paste, sesame paste, and sesame oil. Regional specialties include Peking duck, moo shu pork, and quick-fried tripe.
Northern Chinese: Staples are lamb and mutton, preserved vegetables, and noodles, steamed breads, pancakes, stuffed buns, and dumplings. Common dishes are cumin-scented lamb, congee porridge with pickles, and Mongolian hot pot.
Sichuan: Famed for bold flavors and spiciness resulting from liberal use of chilies and Sichuan peppercorns. Regional dishes include dan dan spicy noodles, twice-cooked pork, and tea-smoked duck.
Shanghainese: Cuisine characterized by rich flavors produced by braising and stewing, and the use of alcohol in cooking. Dumplings, noodles, and bread are served more than rice. Signature dishes are baby hairy crabs stir-fried with rice-cake slices, steamed buns and dumplings, and "drunken chicken."
Taiwanese: Diverse cuisine owing to its history and subtropical location. Seafood, pork, rice, soy, and fruit form the backbone of the cuisine. Specialties include "three cups chicken" with a sauce made of soy, rice wine, and sugar; oyster omelets; cuttlefish soup; and dried tofu.
Yunnan: Its cuisine is noted for its use of vegetables, fruit, bamboo shoots, and flowers in its spicy preparations. Signature dishes include rice noodle soup with chicken, pork, and fish.