Chinese dishes may be categorized as one of the Eight Culinary Traditions of China. Major traditions include Anhui, Cantonese, Fujian, Hunan, Jiangsu, Shandong, Szechuan and Zhejiang cuisines. The four main criteria for good Chinese food are: color, aroma, taste and texture.
Rice is one of the most popular foods in China and is used in many dishes. Chinese noodles come dry or fresh in a variety of sizes, shapes and textures and are often served in soups or fried as toppings. Fish is eaten throughout the coastal areas as well as the inland parts of China. Popular fish and shellfish include carp, grass carp, crucian, sea bass, squid, soft-shell turtle, crab, shrimp, prawn, scallops, oysters, etc. When it comes to sauces, China is home to soy sauce. Other products such as Soymilk, Soy paste and Soy oil are also important in Chinese cooking.
Some common vegetables used in Chinese cuisine include Chinese leaves, bok choy (Chinese cabbage), Chinese Spinach (dao-mieu), On Choy, Yu Choy, Bitter melon, and gailan (guy-lahn). Cilantrol, parsley, onion, garlic, and basil are some of the more common herbs used in Chinese cooking. Spices and seasonings such as fresh root ginger, garlic, scallion, white pepper, and sesame oil are widely used. Sichuan peppercorns, star anise, cinnamon, fennel, and cloves are also used.