China Connection Tours, a reputable China tour operator & travel agency from 1987
The Shantou region of southeast Guangdong is home to Chaozhou Cuisine. Here meals traditionally start and end with tiny cups of very strong Iron Buddha tea, thought to aid in digestion. The tea almost the Chinese equivalent of espresso, is known as kung fu tea because of the punch it packs.
Cold pre-cooked dishes are often served. Two favorite starters are cold boiled crab and spiced goose, both served with a vinegary dipping sauce. You can usually recognize a Chaozhou restaurant by the crabs hanging in the window.
Seafood, duck and goose are often enjoyed with special Chaozhou sauces and condiments like preserved limes, olive kernels and fermented bean sauces that give the cuisine a distinctive flavor. Crispy fried crab and prawn balls served with a sweet bean sauce are delicious. Grey mullet flavored with preserved limes, often arriving at the table on a sizzling iron plate, is a must-try. White 'jun jiu choi' (a bitter, leafy vegetable) is often deep-fried, and makes a perfect foil for stir-fried chicken.
Omelets containing tiny oysters and coriander are a tasty side dish. Oysters are sometimes fried with egg and powdered sweet potato to make a delicious pancake. Congee, a rice porridge, often accompanies a Chaozhou meal. Noodles, usually of the fine vermicelli variety, are another delicious and commonly eaten dish.
The Chin Chow people are expert at preparing two expensive delicacies--shark's fin and bird's nest soup. Bird's nest soup is sweet, whereas the shark's fin is always salty.
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