Cantonese food is the most popular style outside China. Cantonese cuisine originates from the region around Canton (Guangzhou) in southern China’s Guangdong province. One Cantonese saying goes that anything that walks, swims, crawls, or flies is edible. Another says that the only four-legged things that Cantonese people won’t eat are tables and chairs. Cantonese people eat almost all edible animal parts, including the heart, liver, feet and tongue. It is also not uncommon to see snake, snails or domesticated animals on the menu. Stir-fry is a predominant method used for cooking along with steaming, shallow frying, double boiling and deep-frying.
Unlike other Chinese cuisines, the Cantonese usually serves soup before a meal. The soup is usually a clear broth prepared by simmering meat and other ingredients, and cooked on mild fire for hours. Chinese herbal medicines are sometimes added to the clay pot, to make the soup nutritious and healthy. Cantonese normally only consume the liquid in the pot, the solids are usually thrown away unless they are expensive such as abalones or shark fins. There’s also a Cantonese saying that to “secure” a husband, a Cantonese woman needs to first cook good soups.
Due to Guangdong’s proximity to the south China sea, cooking live seafood is a specialty in Cantonese cuisine. Prawns, shrimps, scallops, lobster and crab are in plentiful supply. Many Chinese restaurants maintain live seafood tanks. The freshest seafood is odorless, and is best cooked by steaming. Less fresh ones will be fried or even deep fried. When cooking a fresh fish, only a small amount of soy sauce, ginger, and spring onion is added to a steamed fish, while loads of garlic and spices will be added to cook an unfresh fish.