Cantonese Cuisine

Cantonese Cuisine, also known as Yue Cuisine, is the culinary style of Guangdong Province, which was called Canton when the Wade-Giles romanization of Chinese was in use. This particular type of Chinese food has been popularized by Chinese restaurants around the world as the majority of those who set up these restaurants were of Cantonese origin.

Guangdong dishes are characterized by their tender and slightly sweet taste. Sauces are a crucial seasoning in Guangdong cuisine. Classic Cantonese sauces are light and mellow. The most widely used sauces in Guangdong Cuisine include: hoisin sauce, oyster sauce, plum sauce and sweet and sour sauce. Other ingredients popular in Guangdong Cuisine include spring onions, sugar, salt, soya bean products, rice wine, corn starch, vinegar and sesame oil. Garlic is used heavily in some dishes, especially those in which internal organs, such as entrails, may emit unpleasant odors. Ginger, chili peppers, five-spice powder, powdered white pepper, star anise and a few other spices are used, but often sparingly.

The raw materials for Guangdong Cuisine are very plentiful. "The Chinese eat everything with four legs, except tables, and everything that flies except airplanes" is the most suitable expression of the countless variety of Guangdong food. Things that are rarely eaten or rarely seen on Western tables are commonly used in Guangdong dishes. Snake, cat and pangolin (scaly anteater) are considered by the Cantonese people to be most delicious food.

In contrast to the fast-fried cooking method of Sichuan dishes, Guangdong people prefer to braise, stew and sauté their food. These cooking methods aim to preserve the flavor of the dishes.

Cantonese Dishes

Traditional Dishes

These dishes are the earliest collection of Chinese food. They are often simple and easy to learn and cook, and are widely found in Chinese homes. They are also the most common foods on the menus of Cantonese restaurants.

steamed egg Chinese Steamed Eggs

Chinese Steamed Eggs

Chinese Steamed Eggs are made by beating eggs to a creamy consistency and then steaming. Variations are derived by adding different ingredients, such as spring onion and soy sauce.

Deep Fried Dishes

Although deep fried dishes are not the main stream of Guangdong dishes, there are quite a number of them which are very popular both in China the in the West.

Zhaliang (literally "Fried Two")

Zhaliang is made by tightly wrapping a rice sheet roll round a youtiao (deep-fried dough stick). Zhaliang is widely eaten in Guangdong and Hong Kong. It is usually eaten with soy milk.

Youtiao

A youtiao is a long, golden-brown deep-fried strip of dough. Youtiaos are usually eaten for breakfast with soy milk.

Noodle Dishes

Shahe Noodles (Shahefen)

Shahe noodles a kind of rice noodles which probably originate from the town of Shahe, now part of Guangzhou. They are broad and white in color. Their texture is elastic and a little chewy. They do not freeze or dry well and are thus generally (where available) purchased fresh, in strips or sheets that may be cut to the desired width. Shahefen is popular in southern China's Guangdong, Guangxi and Hainan provinces.

Other Dishes

Baiqie Chicken (White Cut Chicken)

Baiqie Chicken is made by boiling salt-marinated chicken in water or chicken broth. When it is done, the chicken looks golden in color and tastes fresh and light, preserving the best of the original taste of chicken.

The famous Baiqie Chicken served by Panxi Restaurant in Guangzhou is believed to be the most delicious. The restaurant has received the Golden Tripod of High Quality Production from the Department of Commerce for its Baiqie Chicken.

A Cantonese Food Menu

English Chinese Pronunciation Characters
Dry-Fried Beef and Noodles Ganchao Niu He gan-chaoww nyoh her 干炒牛河
Barbequed Pork (Char Siu) Chashao chah-shaoww 叉烧
Soy Sauce Chicken Chiyou Ya chrr-yoh yaa 豉油鸡
White Cut Chicken Bai Qie Ji beye chyeah jee 白切鸡
Preserved Salted Duck La Ya laa yaa 腊鸭
Tea-Smoked Duck Chaxun Ya chaa-sshynn yaa 茶熏鸭
Brine-Soaked Duck Lushui Ya loo-shway yaa 卤水鸭
Dace (fish) Balls Lingyu Qiu ling-yoo chyoh 鲮鱼球
Steamed Frog on a Lotus Leaf Heye Zheng Tianji her-yeah jnng tyen-jee 荷叶蒸田鸡
Shark Fin Soup Yuchi Geng yoo-chrr gnng 鱼翅羹
Cantonese Seafood Soup Yueshi Haixian Tang ywair-shrr heye-sshyen tung 粤式海鲜汤
Orange Cuttlefish Lushui Moyu loo-shway mor-yoo 卤水墨鱼
Sea Cucumber (Hoi Sam) Haishen heye-shnn 海参
Small Pan Rice Bao Zi Fan baoww dzrr fan 煲仔饭
Pastries (Gou Dim) Gao Dian gaoww dyen 糕点

Do you want to taste delicious Chinese foods when traveling in China?

Have a look at our Chinese Food Tours.

Further Reading

The Eight Famous Cuisines

Hong Kong Food and Restaurants

Guangzhou Food and Restaurants

Chinese Food Menus

Meat Dishes

Rice, Wheat, and Vegetarian Dishes

Soups, Hotpots, and Snacks

Regional Cuisines

Related Pages

Hi, I'm Ruru Zhou
I updated this article on April 1, 2014
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Questions and Answers About Cantonese Cuisine

JJ 2013-01-28
Show Answer
I am plannig a trip to Zhuhai Will take the intercity mrt to guangzhou south stationUnderstood that the station is at Panyu?May I know how to get to Guangzhou Zhongshan 4th road from Guangzhou south station?Will the restaurants be open on chinese new year 2013?
Hi JJ, yes, Guangzhou South Railway Station is located in Panyu District. From Guangzhou South Railway Station to Zhongshan 4th Road, you can take Metro Line 2, get off at Gongyuanqian公园前站, (Exit F), then walk to that road. Whitney Liao replied on 2013-01-29
Yes, the restaurants are open during the Chinese New year Holiday. Whitney Liao replied on 2013-01-29
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