Chiuchow cuisine, Teochew cuisine or Chaozhou cuisine (Pinyin: Cháozhou cài) originates from Chiuchow (now called 'Chaozhou'), a city of China in Guangdong Province , not far from Canton . Hence the cooking style is very similar to Cantonese cuisine. However, Chiuchow cuisine does have some unique dishes that are not in Cantonese cuisine. ("Chiuchow" is a Cantonese pronunciation in common usage due to Teochew influence in Cantonese culture and cuisine.)
Chiuchow cuisine is particularly well known for its seafood and its vegetarian dishes. Its use of flavoring is much less heavy-handed than most cuisines from other parts of China and depends much on the freshness of the ingredients for taste. Chiuchow cuisine is also known for serving rice soup, in addition to steamed rice with meals, which is quite different from Cantonese porridge or congee which is very thick and gluey. The Chiuchow rice soup is very watery with the rice sitting loosely at the bottom of the bowl. Authentic Chiuchow restaurants serve very strong oolong tea called KungFu tea in very tiny cups before and after the meal.
There is a famous feast in Chiuchow cuisine called "Gau Dai Gui" which roughly means "nine big courses" in the dinner. Chiuchow chefs pride themselves on their skill in vegetable carving. Carved vegetables are used as garnishes on cold dishes and on the banquet table.
Chiuchow is also known for a late night dinner called "Da Loun". Chiuchow people like to eat out in restaurants or at roadside food stalls close to midnight before they go to bed. Some restaurants stay open till dawn.
Unlike Cantonese or Mandarin cuisine, Chiuchow restaurant menus will sometimes have a dessert section.
Some famous Chiuchow dishes include, among others:
- Steamed goose
- Cold crab
- Fun Goh (a steamed dumpling filled with dried radish, peanuts and ground meat)
- Shrimp balls
- Oyster pancake
- Tiet Kwun Yum (a premium grade Oolong Tea)
- Many people of Teochiu or Chiuchow heritage have settled in Southeast Asia, especially Singapore ; influences can be noted in the cuisine of Singapore .