The history of Chinese cuisine in China stretches back for thousands of years and has changed from period to period and in each region according to climate, imperial fashions, and local preferences. Over time, techniques and ingredients from the cuisines of other cultures were integrated into the cuisine of the Chinese peoples due both to imperial expansion and from the trade with nearby regions in pre-modern times as well as from Europe and the New World in the modern period.
Hunan cuisine, also known as Xiang cuisine, consists of the cuisines of the Xiang River region, Dongting Lake, and western Hunan province in China. It is one of the Eight Great Traditions of Chinese cuisine and is well known for its hot spicy flavour, fresh aroma and deep colour. Common cooking techniques include stewing, frying, pot-roasting, braising, and smoking. Due to the high agricultural output of the region, ingredients for Hunan dishes are many and varied.
Northern Cuisine is a style of Chinese cuisine in Northeastern China. Many dishes originated from Manchu cuisine. It relies heavily on preserved foods and hearty fare due to the harsh winters and relatively short growing seasons. Pickling is a very common form of food preservation, and pickled cabbage (suan cai) is traditionally made by most households in giant clay pickling vats. Unlike southern China, the staple crop in northern China is wheat and it supplies the majority of the starch found in a northern Chinese diet where it is found in the form of noodles and steamed buns
Fujian cuisine is one of the native Chinese cuisines derived from the native cooking style of Fujian province, China. Fujian-style cuisine is known to be light but flavourful, soft, and tender, with particular emphasis on umami taste, known in Chinese cooking as "xianwei" , as well as retaining the original flavour of the main ingredients instead of masking them.
Cantonese cuisine comes from Guangdong province and is one of the Eight Culinary Traditions of Chinese cuisine. Its prominence outside China is due to the great numbers of early emigrants from Guangdong. Cantonese chefs are highly sought after throughout China. When Westerners speak of Chinese food, they usually refer to Cantonese cuisine. For many traditional Cantonese cooks, the flavours of a finished dish should be well balanced and not greasy. Apart from that, spices should be used in modest amounts to avoid overwhelming the flavours of the primary ingredients, and these ingredients in turn should be at the peak of their freshness and quality.