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Hong Kong - Cooking and Food Edit
Overview of Hong Kong Cuisine History Edit
Hong Kong is one of the few places in the world that take food very seriously, considering cuisine an art form. Hong Kong cuisine is based on a balance between flavors and textures, having as a special feature a very fortunate blending of sweet and sour, sharp and blend, hot and cool and sometimes even crunchy and smooth. One of the most popular foods in Hong Kong has always been seafood. Since the earliest times people here have developed a very special cuisine based on seafood. Fish is one of the main foods of the Hong Kong people. In the Hong Kong cuisine culture fish has to be very fresh, sometimes women go twice a day to the market to look for the freshest fish. Fish is usually served steamed and garnished with ginger and onions and exceedingly savored.
Hong Kong cuisine has developed in the Chinese style including dishes from the Canton, Peking, Shanghai and Szechuan cuisines. However, the Hong Kong people have borrowed a lot of influences from other eastern countries namely India, Malaysia, Thailand and other neighboring countries. During the last decades the Hong Kong cuisine has become quite famous for its exotic blending of several Eastern and Western flavors. The most notable feature of the Hong Kong cuisine is the people’s obsession about fresh food. It is true that lately some people embraced the Western methods of refrigeration, but the vast majority of Hong Kong locals remained faithful to cooking with fresh ingredients.
The Hong Kong cuisine is famous as being one of the most popular Chinese cooking worldwide. All ingredients used in the Hong Kong cuisine have to be very fresh and cooked just before serving. There are not many spices used for seasoning the dishes, but there is a very fortunate mixing of unique ingredients that make the Hong Kong food so special. There are four main styles in the Hong Kong cuisine, each of them offering a great variety of dishes.
The Chiu Chow cuisine is well known for its incredible taste sensations and it is usually based on poultry dishes. The piquant sauces that garnish the dishes represent the most frequent feature of this style. Other features of this distinguished style is the unexpected use of the tangerine jam together with steamed lobster or the use of broad-bean paste as a garnish for fish.
The Shanghainese cuisine is famous for its rich and sweet flavours. This style of the Hong Kong cuisine is actually a blending of Shangai’s neighboring provinces’ cuisines. The Shanghainese cuisine has a few features that make it a little different than the other Hong Kong cuisine styles. These features involve more oil, preserved vegetables, pickles and also salted meats.
The Peck cuisine is a Hong Kong cuisine style that has originated in the imperial courts, thus it is considered to be one of the most stylish cuisines in the entire Chinese food culture. Duck is the most used ingredient in this cuisine and the novelty that it brings is that it replaces rice with noodles, dumplings or even bread.
The Szechuan cuisine is mostly popular for its spicy flavors. Most dishes feature spices like chili, garlic and the famous “strange sauce”. The deserts cooked in this style are also very famous because of the use of the honey sauce.
Finding the ingredients for an Hong Kong Recipe is not so easy when you do not know the names of the ingredients. Take time to make a list of ingredients and the name they may be found under at the Local Markets.
- Check out the Hong Kong Food Glossary
Preparation Methods for Hong Kong Cooking Edit
The Hong Kong cuisine is considered to be lighter than the other Chinese regional cuisines. The most used preparation method is stir-frying in water, but there are quite a few dishes that need to be cooked with oil. The preparation time is usually short, thus the flavors and the nutrition of the ingredients are preserved. When cooking vegetables and sometimes even fish, Hong Kong chefs prefer to use steaming instead of using too much oil. The dishes flavors are intensified by the use of sauces made with ginger, garlic, Onion, vinegar and even Sugar. The Hong Kong cuisine offers a large variety of dishes made from various meats, poultry, fish, and seafood, which are all garnished with vegetables. Most dishes are made from fresh food, but there are a few people who have also embraced the methods of refrigerating and freezing. Hong Kong cuisine is also very fond of salads. The preparation of these salads is considered to be quite an art. There is no need of pre-cooking for the vegetables, but the way they are chopped, arranged and served is quite unique.
Special Equipment for Hong Kong Cooking Edit
Hong Kong cooking definitely needs the use of some traditional tools, which have been used here for centuries. Some of them have disappeared with the modernization of the cooking industry, but there are still special utensils that still can be seen in most Hong Kong families, especially in those families who live in the rural area. However, if you want to cook real Hong Kong food some of the traditional utensils can’t be omitted. One of the most used cooking utensils is the wok, which is a deep pan with a round bottom that is usually used for frying with oil. The knives are also an important part of the Hong Kong special cooking equipment. They are heavier and wider than the usual Western knives. The steamer is one utensil that can’t miss from any Hong Kong kitchen. It is used for steaming vegetables and meat by placing it over the wok filled with boiling water. Another quite interesting tool is the rolling pin, which is used for preparing noodles, pancakes and many more.
Hong Kong Food Traditions and Festivals Edit
Hong Kong is one of the best places where people can witness Chinese traditions and festivals. It is quite odd for a lot of tourists to see that ancient traditions come to live in the very heart of such a modern place as Hong Kong is. The majority of the Hong Kong festivals are based around the well known 13 moons of the lunar calendar. The traditions that are associated with these festivals are thousands of years old and reveal a lot of people’s ancient beliefs. Many festivals are meant to celebrate the changing of seasons, the gods or even to keep some legends alive. Festivals usually bring families together and food is always an important part of the celebration.
Every August there is a food festival in Hong Kong that is meant to celebrate the diversity and quality of the Hong Kong cuisine. This festival is considered to be an orgy of excellent wining and fine dining. During this food festival, carnivals, food exhibitions and culinary seminars take place.
People in Hong Kong Food Edit
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A large number of Hong Kong food specialties have developed because of the people’s strong passion for eating over the centuries. The basic cooking methods in Hong Kong cuisine are very similar to the ancient Chinese cooking, such as steaming, roasting, smoking and even fermentation. Over the years, the Hong Kong chefs have improved the flavors of Asian cooking, developing a unique cuisine. The Hong Kong cuisine has a lot of influences from the neighboring areas. Of course, seafood represents the defining food in this area. People in Hong Kong have improved the rather simple recipes of the eastern cuisine, transforming the dishes in delicacies. Other people in the area used to cook with whatever ingredients were available, mainly milk, butter, and meat, usually Lamb or fish. Quite a great influence in the Hong Kong cuisine is coming from the Mongol tribes, which brought along with them a lot of exotic combinations. The Hong Kong cuisine is continuously influenced by other regional cuisines that make up the selections that the cuisine here has to offer.