Chinese Cuisine may be categorized as the "Eight Regional Cuisines in China", which are as follows：Lu(Shandong), Chuan(Sichuan), Hui (Anhui), Yue (Guangdong), Min (Fujian), Xiang (Hunan), Su (Jiangsu), Zhe (Zhejiang). These styles are distinctive from one another due to factors such as available resources, climate, geography, history, cooking techniques and lifestyle. But the best known and most influential cuisines among them are Lu Cuisine, Chuan Cuisine, Yue Cuisine and Su Cuisine. These four cuisines are called Four Major Cuisines or Four Cooking Styles in China.
Lu Cuisine (Shandong Cuisine)
Featuring freshness of materials and salt flavor, Lu Cuisine is derived from the traditional and historical cooking methods of Shandong Province. It is considered the most influential and popular in China. Modern day schools of cuisine in North China, such as those of Beijing, Tianjin, and Northeast, are all branches of Shandong Cuisine. However, it isn't so popular in South China and even in the all-embracing Shanghai.
Lu Cuisine consists of Jinan cuisine and Jiaodong Cuisine. Jinan Cuisine is particular about being bold and unconstrained with thick color. Moreover, it is characterized by using soup and utilizing soups in its dishes. The use and making of clear soup, milky soup and superior soup all have strict stipulations. Jiaodong Cuisine, which includes dishes in Qingdao, Yantai and Weihai, is characterized by seafood cooking, with light tastes. The cooking method of Jiaodong Cuisine is particular about freshness, liveliness and insipidity though its flavor gives priority to tenderness.
Chuan Cuisine (Sichuan Cuisine)
Chuan Cuisine, also called Szechuan Cuisine, is a style of Chinese Cuisine originating in the Sichuan Province of southwestern China. It features spicy, tongue-numbing and heavily seasoned flavor, resulting from liberal use of garlic and chili peppers, as well as the unique flavor of the Sichuan peppercorn. Peanuts, sesame paste and ginger are also prominent ingredients in Chuan Cuisine.
Chuan Cuisine enjoys a time-honored history and is well-reputed home and abroad. In 2010, Chengdu was declared a “City of Gastronomy” by UNESCO Creative Cities Network.
Yue Cuisine (Guangdong Cuisine)
Yue Cuisine, also known as Cantonese cuisine, originates from Guangdong Province in South China. Yue Cuisine is especially skillful in techniques of stir-frying, frying, stewing and braising. Special attentions are paid to the heating temperature and duration. The tastes feature pure delicacy, freshness, tenderness, and crispness.
An emphasis on preserving the natural flavor of the food is also the hallmark of Yue Cuisine. A Cantonese chef would consider it a culinary sin of the highest order to produce a dish that was overcooked or too heavily seasoned. Special care is taken to make sure that the tastes are light but not tasteless, fresh but not vulgar, tender but not raw, oily but not greasy.
Su Cuisine (Jiangsu Cuisine)
Su Cuisine is derived from the native cooking styles of the Jiangsu region in China. Known as "a land of fish and rice" in China, Jiangsu Province highlights a grand variety of food ingredients, and the typical raw materials are fresh and live aquatic products. Other cooking ingredients are often carefully selected tealeaves, bamboo shoots, mushrooms, and pears. The flavor of Huaiyang cuisine is light, fresh and sweet and its presentation is delicately elegant. It stresses the freshness, exquisite workmanship, elegant shape, and rich culture trait.
Although sometimes simply called Su Cuisine, the major style of Su Cuisine is Huaiyang Cuising, which actually consists of several other styles, including: Nanjing style, Suzhou style and Wuxi style.
Nanjing style emphasizes an even taste and matching color, with dishes incorporating river fish/shrimps and duck. Suzhou style emphasis on the selection of material, stronger taste than Nanjing cuisine, and with a tendency to be sweeter than the other varieties of the cuisine. Wuxi style proximity to the Lake Tai means it is notable for wide variety of fresh water produce,for example "the Three Whites (White fish, White shrimp and Sliver fish)"