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Food, Events

9 kinds of Chinese food to try during Chopstick Fest

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Lindsay William-Ross Oct 14, 2016 4:55 am 255

There are an esteemed Eight Culinary Traditions in Chinese cuisine, but for Vancouver’s first annual Chopstick Fest, organizers have come up with nine styles of Chinese food diners can experience during the celebration of Chinese food.

Taking place October 15 to 30, 2016, Chopstick Fest Presented by OpenRoad Auto Group, was designed as a “dine out” event where guests can try out or revisit any or many of 32 participating restaurants to get a taste of the incredible array of Chinese cuisine we have in Metro Vancouver.

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Here are the nine kinds of Chinese cuisine you can try during Chopstick Fest, including which restaurants fit the bill. Read about each restaurant via Chopstick Fest, and click on “Discover Menu” to see what’s in store for the two-week event.

Hunanese

Iron Pot Spicy Frog (Photo courtesy Chopstick Fest)

Iron Pot Spicy Frog (Photo courtesy Chopstick Fest)

What’s hotter than hot? Or, what’s often hotter than Sichuan cuisine? It’s Hunanese food, which comes from the Xiang River region, Dongting Lake, and western Hunan province–and is also known as Xiang cuisine. The region is known for fertile agricultural land on gentle hills, and Donting Lake is the second-largest lake in China. Hunanese food is known for elaborate preparation, fiery hot spices, and beautiful presentation. Signature dishes include Orange Beef and Crispy Duck.

Restaurants to try during Chopstick Fest

Northern

Wheat is the mainstay crop of Northern China, and of the main “tastes” (salty, sweet, spicy, and sour) the north is considered the “salty” spot. Northern Cuisine includes food from Beijing, as well as foods that stem from the provinces of Shandong, Shanxi, Inner Mongolia, Northwest China, and the Northeast region. Look for lots of hearty fare to keep you full during long, cold winters (and long hot summers). Signature Northern Chinese dishes include Peking Duck, Sauce Noodles, and Pork and scallion dumplings.

Restaurants to try during Chopstick Fest

Shanghaiese

“Colour, aroma, and taste” are always at play in Shanghaiese cuisine, which is known for “drunken” dishes cooked in wine. Light flavours, lots of condiments, and an accent on sweetness are its key tenets. Signature dishes include Drunken Chicken, Sweet and Sour Spare Ribs, and the famous Xiaolongbao (soup dumplings).
Restaurants to try during Chopstick Fest

Photo courtesy Chopstick Fest

Photo courtesy Chopstick Fest

Fusion

As the name suggests, Fusion is a branch of Chinese cuisine that lets chefs flex their creative muscles by criss-crossing styles within Chinese cooking, across Asian culinary traditions, with global flavours and influence, and often modern techniques.

Restaurants to try during Chopstick Fest

Sichuan

Also known as Szechwan cuisine, or Szechuan cuisine, Sichuan food is bold and spicy. You’ll be biting into lots of garlic and chili peppers, including the famous Sichuan pepper, for plenty of zing and a lot of pow. Still, it’s a big region, that has four sub-genres: Chongqing, Chengdu, Zigong, and Buddhist vegetarian. Signature dishes are among the most well-known in Chinese cuisine, and include Tea-smoked duck, Mapo Tofu, Kung Pao chicken, and Dan Dan Noodles.
Restaurants to try during Chopstick Fest

Hot Pot

Photo courtesy Chopstick Fest

Photo courtesy Chopstick Fest

Hot pot is a branch of Chinese cuisine that puts a fun DIY factor into the meal. Sizzling soup bases are used to cook and flavour meats and veggies right at your table.  On the side are all sorts of garnishes and accents like fresh herbs, chili paste, soy sauce, and more.
Restaurants to try during Chopstick Fest

Taiwanese

Influences from all regions of China, as well as from Japan, abound in the food of Taiwan. This cuisine has far less beef than some others; instead you’ll see a lot of pork, seafood, and chicken, along with rice and soy as key ingredients. Since Taiwan is an island, seafood, obviously, dominates. With regions unto itself, there is much to explore within Taiwanese cuisine, from stir fry to noodles. Signature dishes include Three Cups Chicken, Gua-Bao (filled bao buns), and Oyster Omelette.

Restaurants to try during Chopstick Fest

BBQ and Grill

Grilled catfish at Li's China Grill (Photo courtesy Chopstick Fest)

Grilled catfish at Li’s China Grill (Photo courtesy Chopstick Fest)

Here’s another one that’s all in the name. Chinese-style BBQ and grill fare means meat on the grill, with lots of texture and sauces. Seafood, lamb, beef, and more get that direct heat treatment before landing at your table.

Restaurants to try during Chopstick Fest

Cantonese

Mild, fresh, and sweet flavours abound in the most widely-served style of Chinese cuisine, Cantonese. Hallmarks include lightly cooked meats and veggies, and sweet sauces. Many Cantonese chefs aim to preserve the purity of the ingredients, so diners will often see dishes that seem plain at face value. Still, the mild-flavoured meat and vegetables are light and not necessarily fattening; you’ll fill up when you enjoy the traditional rice noodles or white rice. Signature dishes include Chinese Steamed Eggs, Sweet and Sour Pork, and Cantonese Fried Rice.

Restaurants to try during Chopstick Fest

Daily Hive is a proud media sponsor of Chopstick Fest 2016


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Lindsay William-Ross
Lindsay is a former Daily Hive Food Editor. A fourth generation Vancouverite, she has also lived in Toronto, NYC, and LA.

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