Today, Chinese food takeaway is a much-beloved feature of life in the United Kingdom. However, Chinese food has not always been a popular staple that it is today. Also, Chinese food, as it is eaten in the United Kingdom, isn’t exactly as Chinese as some might like to think. Many of the recipes have been Anglicized for UK palates and other recipes are just inventions of the UK. One such example is the aromatic fried duck. Here is an overview of Chinese food in the United Kingdom.
When looking at the types of food that are most popular amongst United Kingdom citizens, much of the food has started to come from regional varieties. Obviously, China is a very large country with many cultures, regions, and ethnicities. These have similarities and differences. In the past, the food that was popular in the UK was a nondescript mixture of many of these cultures. It was not distinctly from any region. That has changed recently though. Lately, UK diners are looking eat food from specific regions such as Hunan and Sichuan.
Hunan cuisine is considered one of the Eight Great Traditions of Chinese Cuisine. It developed around the Xiang River. Thus, it is also called Xiang cuisine. The cuisine is well known for its spicy and hot flavours, as well as deep, rich colours. Techniques common to Hunan cuisine are smoking, roasting, braising, and stewing. This is a very diverse and widely varied style of cooking with a wide variety of different ingredients.
Sichuan cuisine is marked most definitely by its use of the uniquely flavoured Sichuan pepper. The cuisine also uses a lot of garlic and chili peppers which gives it a very strong, aromatic quality. Sichuan is also sometimes called heavenly country because the natural resources are so abundant. Most of the dishes in Sichuan cuisine are spicy. The cuisine is divided into seven flavour varieties: sour, salty, pungent, aromatic, hot, bitter, and sweet. These play a large part of the flavour profiles of the cuisine. These dishes are often toned down and milder versions are very popular as American Chinese Cuisine. Similarly, they are very popular in the United Kingdom.
Cantonese cuisine is another of the Eight Great Traditions of Chinese Cuisine. Due to the high number of emigrants from the Guangdong province, Cantonese cuisine is very popular around the world. Oftentimes, when a Westerner thinks of Chinese food, he or she is thinking of Cantonese food.
Cantonese food is notable to many people for its use of sauces. Cantonese sauces are often a staple of Chinese cooking in the UK. They tend to unify different styles such as Chinese food in Bath and London. Some of the most well-known sauces are hoisin sauce, oyster sauce, and sweet and sour sauce.
Hoisin is made from garlic, red chillies, and soy. Oyster sauce is made from sugar, salt, water, corn starch, and a tiny bit of oyster essence or extract.