Sichuan Cuisine

Once you taste the bold flavor of Sichuan cuisine you will never forget it. Being incredibly pungent and spicy seems to be most people's deepest impression about Sichuan cuisine, and it is also its most apparent and distinctive characteristic. Owing to the liberal use of garlic, chili pepper and especially the Sichuan peppercorn as well as other relishes in the cooking, those who taste Sichuan food for the first time will feel like something is burning and numbing their tongues.

As one of the eight major Chinese cuisines, Sichuan cuisine has a history of as long as two thousand years, and occupies an important position in the Chinese history of culinary art. The modern Sichuan cuisine with its hot flavored dishes, however, was just introduced into China and became recognized worldwide in the last century.

Nowadays, the hot and spicy Sichuan cuisine has become internationally popular for being distinctively flavorful. There are many regional sub-styles of Sichuan cuisine, four best known among which are Chongqing style, Chengdu style, Zigong style, and Buddhist vegetarian style. The balance between the dishes' color, smell, flavor, shape and nutrition are very carefully maintained so that its dishes not only look nice and taste yummy, but are also nutritious.

According to the cooks and local literature, 38 different methods of cooking Sichuan cuisine are employed: stir-frying, braising, stewing, baking, boiling, burning, sauté, deep frying, grilling, preserving, pickling, and so on. Various seasoning and ingredients are deliberately used to relish the food and enrich the flavors: Sichuan peppercorn can produce a tingly-numbing sensation in the mouth; broad bean chili paste is a main seasoning as well; what's more, garlic, ginger, chili, star anise and other spices and spicy herbs are commonly added into the dishes during cooking, which give the Sichuan food intricate smells and tastes.

Elaborate cooking breeds delicacies. Dishes such as Kung Pao Chicken, Twice-cooked Pork, Spicy Deep-fried Chicken, Mapo Tofu, Sichuan Hotpot, etc. are the representatives of the hundreds of famous and flavorful Sichuan dishes. Some of them are so well known that they are positioned on the top of the menus, and become must-eats in numerous Chinese restaurants home and abroad.