China is a time-honored multi-ethnics nation with a vast territory and abundant resources, and every ethnic group has its unique abundant dishes. Regional cuisines have taken shape after long-history evolution under the influence of geographical environment, climate, cultural tradition, folk customs and other factors. The most influential and representative ones are Lu, Chuan，Yue, Min, Su，Zhe, Xiang and Hui Cuisines, which are commonly known as “Eight Major Cuisines”. Dishes in the “Eight Major Cuisines” in China are characterized by diversified cooking skills, with each having its strong points.
China takes great pride in its varied cuisines, and food is an important element of the Chinese culture. There are eight principal cuisines, including the spicy Sichuan dishes and the light Cantonese cooking. Chinese restaurants are very popular in all parts of the world.
However, changing lifestyles in China have led to new eating habits at home and in restaurants. Cheese and tomato sauces are being brought into some traditional Chinese dishes. Urban consumers have taken readily to fast-food chains, such as McDonald's, KFC and Pizza Hut. Market research shows that Western-style fast-food consumption will continue to grow in China, at an annual rate of more than 45 percent in the coming few years, while Chinese fast-food outlets are projected to grow by 15 percent.
Rising incomes, combined with greater awareness of international foods and convenient supermarket, have led to the emergence of a new generation of consumers who are more willing to try packaged and canned food products.
Chinese cuisine is a general term for the variousfoods from diverse regions and ethnic groups ofChina.It also refers to cooking styles originating fromChina.With a long history, Chinese cuisine has anumber of different genres,the main representativesof which are "Eight Cuisines".Every cuisine is distinctive from one another due to thedifferences in climate,geography, history,cooking techniques and lifestyle.Chinese cuisinecontains a rich variety of seasonings,which is one of main factors contributing to differentlocal special dishes.Chinese cuisine lays emphasis on the perfect combination ofcolor,flavor,and taste,and the soul of the dishes in taste.Chinese cuisine culture is extensiveand profound,and Chinese cuisine,one of the Three World Cuisines,enjoys a reputation homeand abroad.
中国是一个餐饮大国。中国菜肴有许多流派，其中最有影响力和代表性的是中国“八大菜系”(“Eight Cuisines”of China)。这种分类已被广为接受。一个菜系的形成和它的悠久历史和独到的烹饪特色是分不开的。当然，也会受到这个地区的自然地理、气候条件和饮食习惯等的影响。中国“八大菜系”的烹调技艺和菜肴特色各有千秋。四川菜系，是世界上最著名的中国菜系之一。四川菜系以其香辣而闻名。没有品尝过四川菜的人不算来过中国(a failure of trip to China)。
China is a big country of cuisines. There are many schools of Chinese cuisines, among which the most representative and influential classification is "Eight Cuisines" of China. This classification has been widely accepted. The formation of a school of cuisine is inseparable from its long history and unique culinary specialties. It's also affected by local features of natural geography, climatic conditions and habits of diet etc. The "Eight Cuisines" of China have their own cooking techniques and flavors of dish which are different from each other. Sichuan Cuisine is one of the most famous Chinese cuisines in the world. Sichuan Cuisine is famous for its spiciness. It'd be a failure of trip to China for people who don't have a taste of Sichuan Cuisine.
Shanghai cuisine, usually called Benbang cuisine, is the youngest among the major regional cuisines in China, with a history of more than 400 years. Like all other Chinese regional cuisines, Benbang cuisines takes “ color, aroma and taste” as its essential quality elements.
Shanghai cuisine emphasizes in particular the expert use of seasonings, the selection of raw materials with quality texture, and original flavors. Shanghai cuisine is famous for a special snack known as Nanxiang Steamed Meat Dumplings and a special dish called “Squirrel-Shaped Mandarin Fish”.
Nanxiang Steamed Meat Dumplings are small in size, with thin and translucent wrappers, filled inside with ground pork and rich tasty soup. Squirrel-Shaped Mandarin Fish is yellow-colored and squirrel-shaped, with a crispy skin and tender meat, all covered with a sweet and sour source.
After tasting Squirrel-Shaped Mandarin Fish, we are always amazed by the squirrel shape and think that it is more appropriate to plus “appearance” as the fourth element.