The different provinces of China contributed to the history of . The “Eight Great Traditions” represents the 8 major regional cuisines:
- Anhui (simmer soft turtle shell, steamed stone frog, w/ dried mushroom and sausage),
- Cantonese – from Guangdong in Southern China such as preserved-salted meats, congee w/ century egg, dace fishballs
- Fujian – famous dishes include oyster omelet, noodles w/ dumplings (ban mien bian ruo)
- Hunan – sizzling rice soup, orange beef, beer duck, Dongan chicken, Changsha vermicelli, Xiaoxiang turtle
- Jiangsu – a style of cooking wherein texture of meat is soft and matching of color and shape of every dish.
- Shandong – cooking of various with light flavors; and famous for soup dishes.
- Szechuan – kung pao chicken, tea smoked duck, twice cooked pork, dan dan noodles and fuqi feipen.
- Zhejiang – consists of 4 styles of native cooking, the Shaoxing, Wenzhou, Ningbo and Hangzhou.
Generally, is arranged in bite-sized pieces set for direct picking up and eating. Fish are typically served whole and diners are likely to pull pieces from the fish using their . A whole fish means wholeness of things since it has a proper beginning (head) with an end (tail). Chicken is another meat favorite in many Chinese meals. While the chicken is cut into parts, every single piece is served including the gizzards and head. In a Chinese meal, every individual is provided with a bowl of rice while the supplementary dishes are served up in shared plates or bowls.
A hot tea or hot water is commonly served in a Chinese meal. Cold beverages such as soft drinks or water are considered to be harmful in digesting hot food. Tea is is said to aid in digesting oily foods. In some cities of China a popular combo in several small restaurants is the hot pot served with cold beer also known as "冷淡杯".