For thousands of years, Chinese people have been pursuing harmony with nature. They are skillful in turning ingredients into seasonings: adding salt and vinegar to minced meat as a marinade; leaving beans to ferment to create a light-flavoured bean paste; sun-drying shredded tree bark and fruit peel to produce rich-tasting star anise and dried tangerine peel… with their wisdom, the people of China have created all sorts of seasonings which add luster to a variety of delicious Chinese cuisines.
Oyster Sauce, the extract of the essence of fresh oysters, was first created in 1888 by Lee Kum Kee. This wonderful sauce brings out the flavour of delicacies such as bird’s nest and abalone, as well as enriching the taste of vegetables. It also goes well with both Chinese and Western dishes. In addition, Oyster Sauce has long become the secret behind the superb flavouring in state banquets.
Soy Sauce is the essence of Chinese cuisine. Light Soy Sauce is light-coloured with a salty and savoury flavour, and is commonly used as a seasoning for stir-fries and cold dishes; dark Soy Sauce, on the other hand, is dark-coloured with a salty and slightly sweet flavour. It is always used for stewing and adding colour to food. Both soy sauces help to leverage the umami taste and deliver an appealing appearance to a dish.
Developed in the 1980s in Hong Kong for Cantonese cuisine, XO Sauce is a chef-inspired delicacy originating in fine-dining restaurants. It is made from the finest ingredients including dried scallops, premium Chinese ham and dried whole prawn. Savour the superb flavour and luxurious taste of every bite with XO Sauce, which is reputed as the ‘Caviar of the Orient.’
The Chinese have come up with a comprehensive range of marvelous chilli sauces with their special fondness for spices ranging from mild to hot, such as Sichuan Hot and Spicy Chilli Sauce, Chilli Bean Paste, Chilli Garlic Sauce, Thai Style Sweet and Sour Sauce, and many others.
Hoisin Sauce is a fragrant, thick, pungent sauce with a glossy dark brown colour. It is commonly used in Chinese cuisine as a glaze for meat, an addition to stir-fries or as a dipping sauce, and is made from a combination of fermented soy, spices, sesame, salted chilli peppers, garlic, sweet potato, etc. Hoisin sauce is a great way to add an authentic Asian flavour to a dish.
Chinese cuisine cannot do without rice wine. The proficiency of application lies in the age of the wine, timing to apply wine, as well as the amount used. An aged rice wine reveals much of the sophistication of Chinese culinary artistry. With just a small amount, rice wine can bring out the best flavour of poultries, meat and seafood.
Chinese vinegar is usually made from grains. Vinegars from different places have different levels of acidity, but all of them have to be fermented for years to produce strong and smooth texture and a lingering finish.
Sesame Oil, usually called ‘fragrant oil,’ was widely used as the premier vegetable oil during the Tang and Song Dynasties. Simply by adding a few drops before serving, dishes become instantly irresistible as the addition of Sesame Oil livens them up.