The difference between Chinese and Cantonese food

Your idea about Cantonese food is wrong because it is not famous for hot and spicy food, the hot and spicy one should be Szechuan Cuisine.

China is a big country, people in the north, west and areas around Yellow River mainly consume wheat products, eg. noodles, steamed buns or different kinds of pan fried pancakes in their daily diets, while people in the southern part of China or area near to the Yangtze river mainly consume rice (in different ways such as steamed rice, congee, dumplings made of rice flour) in their daily diets.

Chinese food contains roughly 8 different cuisines, Cantonese is just one of them.

Cantonese cuisine tastes quite mild and emphasizes using fresh ingredients or seasonal ingredients to prepare, the cooking methods are boiling, stir frying, steaming, charcoal grilling (roasting), deep frying, long boiling, double boiling (steaming in a steamer for long hours), braising and finely sliced raw ingredients (eg. raw fresh water fish's skin with ginger and green onion salad or thinly sliced raw fresh water fish fillet or raw fresh water shrimps with dipping sauce), Cantonese chefs prefer to keep the natural flavours of the ingredients and using mild seasonings or marinades so that the finished dish should be well balanced and not greasy. Even the Cantonese chefs using quite a lot of different seasonings, sauces, spices or herbs, they usually use modest amounts of seasonings to avoid overwhelming the flavours of the ingredients.

Cantonese cuisine is from Guangdong province of China, it includes Hakka cuisine, Chaochau cuisine, Shunde cuisine, Guangzhou / Hong Kong cuisine and each cuisine has its significant dishes, for example, Yum Cha Dim sum, Sweet and Sour pork or steamed spare-ribs with pickled plum & soy bean paste, are from Guangzhou & Hong Kong cuisines, while baked salty chicken, steamed minced pork topped on tofu cubes are from Hakka cuisine, cuttle fish balls noodles, double boiled chicken & shark fin's soup, stir fried marinated chicken dices serve with deep fried basil leaves are from Chaochau cuisine.

As Canton (now known as Guangzhou) Guangzhou is very near to the Peal River Delta therefore in the 18th century a lot of Cantonese immagrated to South East Asia & North America, they opened restaurants, laundary shops, etc., they brought their home cooking styles to foreign countries and nowadays most Chinese restaurants in western countries mainly provide Cantonese cuisine and most of the Head chefs of these restaurants are trained in Hong Kong or Singapore.

In my opinion, the best bet is to ask the wait staff for recommendations because different restaurants have different significant dishes.

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