China is a vast country, with varying climates and different natural products from region to region, therefore the cooking style reflects these divisions, some of the cooking methods may vary a little from one region to another, and the emphasis on seasonings may differ, but basically food from the four main regions are all "Chinese"

The North

The noted cuisines of Peking and Shandong form the main cooking style of the North, with Tianjin and Henan, as it were, in the second division. Although the north may not be the best, it is certainly the oldest of Chinese culinary art, as its origin lies in the basin of the Yellow River - the cradle of Chinese civilisation. Because Peking has been the capital of China for many centuries, it has accumulated the best dishes from all the regional cooking to become the culinary centre of China whilst, at the same time, developing a distinct style of its own.

The West

The West of Chinese cusine is represented by the richly flavoured food of Sichaun (or Szechuan as it used to be known). The use of hot chilli in everyday cooking is not supposed to paralyse your taste buds, but rather to stimulate your palate. The neighbouring province of Hunan is also renowned for hot and spicy cooking, but has a distinctive style of its own.

The East

The east is represented by the sophisticated cooking style from the Yangtze River delta known as Huaiyang, which also includes China's largest city - Shanghai to the east and the scenic city Hangzhou to the south. The characteristics of this region can best be summarized as exquisite in appearance, rich in flavour, and sweet in taste.

The South

The south is represented by China's most diverse style of cuisine from Canton in the Pearl River delta. Because Canton was the first Chinese port opened for trade, foreign influences are particuarly strong in its cooking. Together with its neighbouring province of Fujian (Fukien) Canton is the place of origin of many Chinese emigrants overseas, therefore the south is also the best known style of Chinese cooking abroad.