Making Chinese Dumplings

Northern Chinese food is dominated and set apart in China by wheat-flour foods: noodles, dumplings, steamed buns, pancakes.Rice is still eaten as a staple in the north, but not as singularly as in the south where wheat is not grown. Shandong Cuisine is the closest to Northern Cuisine among China's Eight Classic Regional Cuisines.

The North is also known for its plainer and more limited range of foods, due to limits in what can be grown in the colder climate, which is similar to northern Europe or Northern USA/Southern Canada. Northern food is starchy, with root vegetables, and beef, lamb, duck, scallions, leeks, and garlic featuring strongly. The range of fruits is much less than in the South.

Northeast Cuisine and Northwest Cuisine

Northern Chinese cuisine is often split into Northeast cuisine and Northwest cuisine, but though each has its particular foods, the overall theme is the same, so they are covered together here. The major differences are the pulled noodles, made only in the Northwest, and the steamed buns and dumplings, which are more a specialty of the Northeast.

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Dishes like pickled cabbage and other pickles show a Korean influence in the Northeast. The Manchu people, China's northeastern minority, who controlled China during the Qing Dynasty (1644–1911), have contributed many dishes and snacks to the Northeastern style, including sachima a Manchu sweet that can now be found packaged in cuboid bars in shops all over China.

Xinjiang's Muslim dishes feature more and more prominently the further northwest you go in China. Gansu is the province around which the halal cuisine style and Northwest Chinese cuisine style meet.

Further Reading