Chinese food is of course very different from western. In fact, there is no such thing as ‘Chinese food’ as depending on the region of this vast country, the cuisine may vary enormously.
If you’re after spicy, visit Sichuan and Hunan, if noodles tickle your fancy, choose the north and whenever you feel like something mild and possibly sweet, Canton welcomes you.
Naturally, this is a huge generalization but my point is that the topic of food is too huge to discuss in one post really. So today I thought I’d limit myself to the local snacks,got to start somewhere,right?
Guangzhou, as the rest of Guangdong province, is known for it’s soups, dim sum (small, usually steamed, dishes) and desserts(quite different to what you may imagine when reading this word).
I’m used to the food here now, that is not to say I like it all. I don’t mind most of it, I really enjoy some and I wouldn’t dream of touching certain dishes, like pigs trotters cooked in an astonishing variety of ways, the (in)famous chicken feet (no way, Jose) or Durian pizza.
That last one is of course a very western invention albeit with an Asian twist. It has been localized by the presence of durian fruit. If you’ve never heard of it, and I certainly hadn’t before I got here, it is a large yellow-ish fruit, in texture similar to grapefruit, but not resembling anything else in taste. The thing with durian is that you will smell it before you can see it. The stench is overpowering (if the fruit is ripe). There is no doubt that many will be put off trying it just because of its nasty smell.
Durian is like Marmite- you either love it or hate it.
Another local speciality is lychee. Not many people know that Guangdong province is well known, at least in China, for the production (can I describe it like that?) of lychee fruit, and not just the standard pink ones but many different varieties. Now, that’s what I’m talking about:) Lychee here is super fresh, with juicy sweet flesh, which you may find hard to stop eating and as they’re so small you’ll be on your 10th before you realize it….It’s happened more than once.
Cucumber. It’s not a Canton thing really, it’s a Chinese thing. They love cucumber. Perhaps it’s got something to do with its cooling down qualities, it’s freshness, whatever it is, I accept it. Be it in the shape of cucumber crisps (love’em!) or the cucumber water (pictured above), which is surprisingly tasty but disturbingly sweet. In any case, I’m all for cucumber-flavoured snacks/drinks. Bring’em on!
Next up-bananas. They are quite different here. Still yellow, still more or less bend-shaped but much smaller (we’re talking half the size of a ‘normal’ banana), more round and most noticeably, not as nice. I’m sorry but the texture and taste of the locally-grown bananas just doesn’t do it for me. It’s not that they taste like old socks, no, on the contrary, many people prefer their taste to the standard bananas but the mushy texture just doesn’t do anything for me.
I could carry on writing for ages but I think I’ve mentioned the most significant snacks popular and/or grown in this area. Cucumber water anyone:)?