The regional cuisines of China are diverse and complex. Like the French, Chinese families enjoy long leisurely meals around the table together as one course succeeds another. In planning its tours, China Road Ltd. attempts to provide a sampling of traditional cuisines from the regions visited.
NORTH CHINA Sometimes known outside China as Mandarin cuisine, the dishes from Beijing and Shandong Province tend to emphasize wheat rather than rice. The best known northern specialty is Beijing Duck, served with thin pancakes and dark plum sauce.
SOUTH CHINA The many variations and sauces of Cantonese food are known worldwide. Dim sum is a variety of Cantonese food served for breakfast or lunch, and Shark Fin Soup is a special Cantonese delicacy.
SOUTHEAST CHINA This area of China features the complex cuisines of Shanghai, Fujian and the lower Yangtse River. Near the coast, many chefs specialize in seafood dishes. A large variety of soups are served.
WEST CHINA Sichuan Province is famous for hot and spicy fare. Two well-known Sichuan specialties are gongbao chicken (with peanuts) and mapo doufu (pork and bean curd). Hunan Province also uses hot chili peppers in many dishes. Farther to the west, Uighur cuisine is similar to Iranian food. In the northwest, Mongolian menus specialize in "hot pot" cooking. In the southwest, Tibetan food makes considerable use of dairy products, offering such specialties as butter tea.