Navigating U.S. – Chinese Cuisine

As an avowed foodie and aspiring amateur chef, Amir Landsman has had the chance to explore a wide range of gourmet dishes from all around the world.

Chinese cuisine is traditionally divided into categories connected to the region where these dishes were first created or popularized. In the United States, the most commonly available types of Chinese food include Cantonese, Szechuan and Hunan dishes served with white, brown or fried rice.

Cantonese Cuisine

One of the most popular types of appetizers, dim sum originated as part of the Cantonese style of cooking. Steamed buns, rice rolls and a variety of bite-sized foods are typically included in a platter of dim sum and are served with soy sauce, sweet and sour sauce and hot tea. Cantonese culinary styles focus on clean, bright flavors that may be sweeter than the other two main types of Chinese food served in the United States.

Szechuan Cuisine

Spicy foods and bold seasoning choices characterize Szechuan menu items. Extensive use of hot peppers and pepper oil ensure that diners enjoy the full impact of these traditional Chinese dishes.

Hunan Cuisine

Combining the sweet taste of Cantonese dishes with the spicy appeal of Szechuan heat, Hunan cooking incorporates a wider range of vegetables and meats than the other two varieties.

Interestingly, one of the most popular Chinese dishes may have actually originated in the United States. General Tso’s chicken consists of lightly breaded boneless chicken served with a spicy and sweet sauce. Named after a famous Chinese general, the dish is largely unknown in mainland China despite its popularity in North American Chinese restaurants.