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Shaanxi cuisine (simplified Chinese: 陕西菜; traditional Chinese: 陝西菜; pinyin: Shǎnxī cài), or Qin cuisine (秦菜; Qín cài), is derived from the native cooking styles of Shaanxi province and parts of northwestern China. Shaanxi cuisine makes elaborate use of ordinary materials, and is best known for its pork and lamb / mutton dishes. The flavour is strong and the taste is heavy. There is an emphasis on savoury flavours such as salt, garlic, onion, and vinegar; sugar is seldom used. Cooking methods are mainly steaming, frying, and stir-frying. Due to its geographical location between the provinces of Shanxi and Sichuan, the taste of Shaanxi cuisine resulted in both sour and spicy, in addition to the salty taste. In comparison to other Chinese cuisines, noodles consisted of greater portion than rice, but in contrast to noodles of Beijing cuisine, and to a certain degree, Shanxi cuisine, the noodles of Shaanxi cuisine is nearly always wider, thicker, and longer.
The taste of "Shaanxi cuisine" can be quite spicy. However, this can be diluted if soy sauce would be added to the cuisine. Furthermore, different types of meat can be included in "Shaanxi cuisine" such as duck, lamb, chicken, or beef. Additionally, there are vegetarian options in which no meat is included, but rather more spices for a hotter cuisine dish.
The cuisine includes three regional styles:
- Northern Shaanxi style is characterised by the wide use of steaming as the method of cooking. The most common meat is pork, although lamb and mutton are also popular.
- Guanzhong style, which uses pork and lamb / mutton equally with heavy flavours and tastes.
- Hanzhong style, similar to Sichuan cuisine, is characterised by its spicy taste.