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Chinese Food; Cantonese cuisine

The most common of the Chinese regional cuisines found away from their motherland - this is because the city of Canton is and was a major sea port, and the influence of its seamen spread this style of Chinese cooking around the world. By the end of the 19th century Cantonese sailors were to be found in every major seaport.

The Pearl River delta of Kwangtung and the coastal plains of Fukien are rich agricultural areas. Rice crops are harvested twice a year, and rice is the staple diet, eaten twice a day. Sweet potato, corn, taro and wheat are also cultivated. There are many pig and poultry farms, and fish ponds. All along the coast, crabs, crayfish, prawns, clams and scallops are plentiful. Oranges, bananas, peaches, pineapples and lychees are all grown.

Cantonese food is not highly seasoned. Instead, it is a harmonious blend of different flavours. Stir-fry dishes abound - Cantonese stir-fries reign supreme nation-wide. Noodles are popular, and generally eaten in soup. Dimsum is another speciality, for although these are available all over China, none can beat the Cantonese for variety. See 'Chinese Food, General and History'

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