Chinese cuisine falls into four major regional categories: Cantonese (Guandong), Shandong, Szechuan (Sichuan) and Huaiyang. To these four, can be added four more: Hunan, Fujian, Anhui and Zhejiang. Sometimes, Beijing and Shanghai cuisine are also counted. The variety and style of cooking in China is amazing, as are the ingredients.
It's important to understand that Chinese cooking in China is different from Chinese food served in the West - and in most cases is far superior. Fish is usually cooked whole after removing the guts and entrails. The head remains on, and if anything, takes on a decorative appearance to the dish. The cheek of the fish is considered a delicacy that meal participants will vie for. It's not uncommon to find the pigeon's head, feet and sundry vitals floating in the soup tureen. Bones are often cut up into the food rather than removed. In many restaurants, dishes of food are placed onto a glass rotating 'lazy Susan' for the table of diners to share. Steamed rice, if ordered is usually served near the end of the meal, whilst fried rice is considered a main course.
The Chinese excel at noodle-based dishes. They appear in soups, boiled, crispy, short, long, fat or thin. Shaanxi Province is famous for its noodles and on most visits to Xi'an you'll get a chance to see the preparation of noodles by trained chefs and actually try them in delicious soups. Every conceivable type and cut of meat is used including offal, and seafood is highly recommended. Vegetables feature in all dishes and fruit usually forms the very last course of a banquet. Indeed, vegetarians are for the most part, well catered for.