China's Four Regional Cooking Schools
Because Cantonese cuisine is so popular, many North Americans don't realize that Chinese cuisine has distinct regional variations. The culinary map of China can be divided into four main regions, based loosely on geographical area:
- Northern or Beijing (Peking) Cuisine - includes Beijing, the capital of the People's Republic of China, and the provinces of Hunan, Shantung, Hopei, Honon, Shansi, Shensi and Inner Mongolia. (Beijing, shown on the map, is the modern name for Peking).
- Eastern or Shanghai Cuisine - includes the provinces of Kiangsu, Chekiang, Anhwei and Fukien.
- Western or Szechuan Cuisine - includes the provinces of Szechuan, Hunan and Yunnan. Chengdu, shown on the map, is the capital of Szechuan province.
- Southern or Cantonese cuisine - includes the provinces of Guangdong (Canton) and Jangxi. (Guangzhou city, shown on the map, is also known as Canton city and is the capital of Guangdong)