What Is Cantonese Cooking?

As more and more ethnic restaurants across the nation are starting to focus on regional cooking, it's only natural to wonder how one might begin to replicate these trends at home. One popular cuisine that has been in the spotlight in terms of taking a regional approach is Chinese cuisine.

Here, we sit down with Farina Wong Kingsley, author of several cookbooks including Asian, Food Made Fast, and Essentials of Asian Cooking, as well as the recently released cooking app, Farina's Asian Pantry, to walk us through the basics of one of the most readily found styles of Chinese cooking, Cantonese. Kingsley currently lives in Singapore with her family, has trained at the Hong Kong Kowloon Restaurant School, and grew up learning the nuances of Cantonese cuisine at her grandmother's side.

The Daily Meal: What flavor profiles characterize most of Cantonese cooking?

Farina Kingsley: Cantonese food is known for subtlety of seasoning and focusing on the flavors of the ingredients themselves.

TDM: What are the common ingredients used in Cantonese cooking?

FK: Ginger, green onions, and garlic are the main aromatics used in Cantonese food. Light and dark soy sauce and sesame would be considered key condiments used in seasoning.

TDM: How is Cantonese cooking different from the cooking in other regions of China?

FK: Cantonese cooking relies upon the preparation of the freshest ingredients. The techniques mostly used in Cantonese cooking are stir-frying and steaming, quick methods of cooking that help retain the flavor of food. There is minimal use of chiles and dried spices.

TDM: What are some traditional and/or iconic Cantonese dishes?

FK: Some traditional and iconic Cantonese dishes are steamed fish with ginger and soy; oyster sauce beef and broccoli; chow mein; salt and pepper prawns and stir-fried clams with black bean sauce.

Click here to see the Clams in Black Bean Sauce Recipe

Will Budiaman is the Recipe Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow him on Twitter @WillBudiaman.