14 Authentic Cantonese Recipes

Cantonese cuisine is one of the traditional culinary styles in Chinese cuisine. 

Chinese cuisine consists of 8 classic styles: Cantonese, Szechuan, Hunan, Jiangsu, Fujian, Zhejiang, Anhui, and Shandong.

Cantonese cuisine is the most famous amongst all the eight styles. It is celebrated worldwide, and some do not even know other traditional culinary styles amongst the Chinese. The way Cantonese foods are rich in flavor, so is the origin story.

Chinese people first practiced Cantonese cooking in the Pearl River Delta area in Guangdong province in China.  

This area was the first region that was open for trade by the Qing Dynasty court.

Therefore, this area received many foreign merchants who brought with them their diverse culinary traditions.  

When some Chinese were migrating to America, they carried their culinary skills too.

Most of the first immigrants were from the province of Guangdong. Cantonese cooking was born.

What are the characteristics of Cantonese foods?

It is easy to distinguish foods from different regions in China. Some like Hunan are known to be spicy, and others like Szechuan are known to be reddish, spicy, and with a mouth-numbing taste.

Cantonese foods are equally easy to distinguish. Here are some of the characteristics you should look out for.

Clear natural flavors.

Unlike other cooking styles, you will notice that Cantonese foods are less spicy.

This is because the Guangdong region boasts a lot of agricultural foods and seafood.

You will enjoy the authentic flavor of the food since they believe that food is meant to taste the way it was created to taste.

Less lamb and goat.

You will hardly ever find goat or lamb meat on a Cantonese table since their favorite meat proteins include pork, chicken, beef, fish, and seafood.

You will sometimes find game meat on the table too, which is consumed for medical reasons. They include finch, snake, and civet.

Use the Cantonese flavors.

You will find the usage of black vinegar, fermented bean paste, and soy sauce in Cantonese cooking.

But this is not specific to Cantonese cuisine as all other cooking styles use these ingredients.

However, what you cannot miss in a Cantonese recipe is scallion, ginger, and garlic.

Cantonese chefs refer to these three ingredients as “The Holy Trinity ”.

You will find other spicy flavors, too, like black pepper and chili peppers, but these would be used very sparingly if not used at all.

Rice as the staple food

You will hardly ever miss white rice on a Cantonese table. It is taken as an accompaniment for most meat and vegetables.

In instances where rice is missing, you will find noodles. But do not be surprised to find them both on the table.

Less grease

Most Cantonese foods are steamed or boiled to maintain the natural flavors.

Yes, you will find some stir-fried dishes too, but deep-fried dishes are hard to find.

This is because the foods do not have a lot of oil.

No dairy products.

Cantonese chefs do not use dairy products in their foods. This means you will not find your favorite cheese on a Cantonese meal table.

Perfect for dieters

If you are checking your weight or trying to eat clean, Cantonese dishes are perfect for you. They tend to have little to no oil and hardly ever dairy products.

Additionally, They tend to leave someone a little hungry since they are light with fewer calories.

Therefore, what are some of these fantastic Cantonese recipes that you must have seen in your favorite Chinese restaurants?

You can make these easy, straightforward recipes at home.

Cantonese recipe examples

1. Cantonese shumai

Cantonese shumai

Shumai is one of the many famous Chinese dishes in the world. Shumai is steamed pork dumplings that taste so delicious. They are healthy, and I find them filling.

You might see it spelled as Siu Mai or Shao Mai. It means almost the same thing, but they are pretty different.  

Siu Mai is how it is pronounced in the Cantonese style. It is shaped as in the picture above. The filling is usually shrimp and pork.

They are sparingly spiced with natural ingredients like ginger, garlic, scallions, shiitake mushrooms, water chestnuts, and wood ear.

Shao Mai is of Mandarin origin and consists of pork minced meat with rice. Their shape is quite different too.

I tend to think they resemble tiny vases.  For shumai, this pronunciation is in Japanese. However, they are similar to the Cantonese Siu Mai.

Cantonese Siu Mai is so easy to make. All you need to know is how to make wrappers and how to wrap your dumplings well.

You can get dumpling wrappers from an Asian store if you are in a hurry.

The prep time can take some time, but cooking will only take 15 minutes.

Sometimes, I prepare ahead of time and then store them in the fridge to save on time.

Here is the recipe. Enjoy.

2. Cantonese savory glutinous rice dumplings(Zongzi)

Cantonese savory glutinous rice dumplingsZongzi

Zongzi is one of the classic Cantonese foods. They taste so good with an interesting flavor.

When I first came across this Zongzi recipe, I was intrigued by the method of cooking.

The rice preparation starts two days ahead, and the whole process is this interesting slow cooking method that you will never find in American dishes. Who knew rice could be so sophisticated?

Zongzi was mainly cooked(is still) during the Duanwu Festival or Doubler Fifth Festival.

It looks delicious and takes an extraordinary shape. If you like to try new exciting foods in your kitchen, then I bet you will love this food a lot.

You can use a store-bought sauce if you are looking for ways of making this meal in a short time.

However, I think cooking is an art. It is more than eating the result at the table.

It is about taking your time, enjoying the whole preparation process in the kitchen, and then swooning over the fantastic burst of flavors with every bite at the table. That is why I ensure I make my sauce at home.

Wrapping zongzi can be a bit challenging. But with time, you will get better at it.

Ensure you wrap the rice securely so that the warps would not open when the rice is boiling.

When it unwraps, the rice will create a mess, and your zongzi will be a failure.

Try making these new babies while having guests, and then watch their eyes bulge with the goodness in every bite of these savory glutinous rice dumplings.

Here is the recipe.

3. Cantonese chicken and vegetable stir-fry

Cantonese chicken and vegetable stir fry

Stir-fried foods were created for foodies like me and hopefully you. Stir fry brings out the best flavors in most foods.

They are not so oily but not bland either. They are perfect, and this Cantonese chicken and vegetable stir fry is not an exception.

What I love most about this dish is how it looks. It is so colorful.

There are also different flavors from the many different kinds of vegetables and chicken that taste wonderfully. You will enjoy different textures in this dish.

I am not sure whether it is the color of the delicious natural flavors in this dish. Still, every family member always serves the Cantonese chicken and vegetable stir fry first before any other dish. I believe they enjoy it as much as I do.

Cooking this meal is easy and fast. You will need about 18 minutes to prep and cook.

You will also need several ingredients that are readily available in your local grocery store. Be careful not to overcook this meal.

Serve it hot with noodles or plain rice.

Here is the recipe.

4. Cantonese style braised beef stew

Cantonese style braised beef stew

Beef is one of the highly celebrated meat proteins in Cantonese cuisine.

Just like all the other Cantonese dishes, this braised beef stew is simply made to bring out the natural beef flavor we love so much.

This braised beef stew is not spicy, but you will enjoy the sweet, unique flavors that you can hardly find in any other beef stew.

What makes this dish unique is the Chee Hou sauce, dried orange peels, and star anise.

Chee Hou Sauce is soybean sauce that you will find used a lot of time in Cantonese cooking style.

You might not find Chee Hou Sauce in your local grocery store, but you will find it in an Asian grocery store. If not, then order online.

You can as well use Hoisin sauce instead. And add extra garlic if you use hoisin sauce.

You have probably tasted this dish in your favorite Chinese restaurant but making it at home from scratch is a whole new experience.

Serve this dish over rice. If you prefer noodles, you can serve them as a noodle soup topping.

Here is the recipe.

5. Har Lok

Har Lok

Har Lok is a Cantonese-style stir-fried prawn in a sauce. This is a light, savory, and saucy, delicious-looking dish.

All the delicious sauces would have you going for more and more servings.

I have eaten this meal at Chinese restaurants, but I prefer enjoying it at home, where I can throw decorum off the window and enjoy licking my fingers as I eat. Har Lok tastes this good.

Like most Chinese dishes, making Cantonese stir-fried prawns in the sauce is easy and fast. This recipe makes it even easier.

This is a classic Cantonese dish and has existed for years. It has fresh ingredients, and therefore your dish will taste fresh too.

All you need is to be quick with your hands as you flash fry.

The ingredients to be used are readily available, and I can guarantee you have them in your kitchen. Your meal will be ready in 30 minutes.

Serve for friends and family while still hot.

Here is the recipe.

6. Cantonese cream corn fish fillet

Cantonese cream corn fish fillet

When I first made this dish, I did not like how it looked. I do not find mashy foods attractive, and a part of my brain keeps screaming that they are meant for infants.

However, the first taste surprised me. It was and still is delicious. Today I cook it every Thursday for dinner, and the whole family enjoys it.

Cantonese cream corn fish fillet is characterized by crispy fillet paired or in a creamy corn sauce.

This dish is naturally sweet. Like most Cantonese dishes, it has few spices; therefore, you will enjoy the natural flavors of corn and fish.

When making this dish, you can deep fry the fillet. I, however, shallow fry because I tend to think deep-frying makes it a bit crispier than I like.

You can add your most preferred seasonings and spices but just ensure you do not overdo it as Cantonese foods require minimal spices.

You can make your corn starch sauce at home, or if you prefer to spend less time cooking, buy it at your nearby Asian grocery store.

You can find them in some supermarkets too and online.

You can enjoy this cream corn fish fillet with jasmine rice.

Here is the recipe.

7. Slow cooker Cantonese pork stew

Slow cooker Cantonese pork stew

I love how reddish-orange this pork looks. It is glossy and so inviting. In this slow cooker method, you will cook your pork with pineapples and vegetables.

Many cultures, including Hawaiian people, have used pineapple in pork. It is known to be a natural meat tenderizer.

This is because pineapple contains the enzyme bromelain that breaks down protein-making meat softer.

This delicious Chinese recipe will take about 8 hours of prep time and cooking for everything to be ready.

It is the perfect food to cook when you have a party and need to feed many people.

Serve it hot with white plain rice. Enjoy.

Here is the recipe.

8. Cantonese style steamed fish

Cantonese style steamed fish

The most famous way of making Cantonese fish is steaming. This is a fast way to prepare fish, and it brings out the most natural flavor of fish.  

I use fish fillets primarily for this recipe, but you can use whole fish too.

The fish is attractively white, giving you a sense of eating clean, pure fish.

It will take only 8 minutes to have your fish cooked and ready.  The fish will be deliciously tender because it will retain the natural fish moisture.

You can eat it like that with rice, but I prefer to drizzle my favorite sauce on it. Others add fragrance oil too.

Serve it hot with rice. Enjoy

Here is the recipe.

9. Cantonese chicken with mushrooms

Cantonese chicken with mushrooms

This is a stir fry dish that boasts lots of flavors. It is easy to make and looks delicious too. You will need a few ingredients.

You can use regular oil, but the recommended oil is sesame oil because it gives a rich flavor and a fantastic fragrance.

Use boneless chicken if possible. If not, then use the bony ones, but the result will not be as flawless. I use shiitake mushrooms, but you can use cremini ones or oyster mushrooms according to the recipe.

If you like the flavor of all three, then you can mix all of them.

Cantonese chicken with mushrooms is best served over rice or noodles.

Here is the recipe.

10. Cantonese sweet and sour pork recipe

Cantonese sweet and sour pork recipe

Sweet and sour pork is a traditional Chinese dish in the whole of Chinese cuisine.

You will find all the other traditional Chinese cooking styles having their version of sweet and sour pork. My favorite is the Cantonese version.

The Cantonese sweet and sour pork recipe results in a very irresistible dish. The bright red color is so attractive to the eye.

You will find sweet and sour pork in almost all the Chinese restaurants in the world.

This recipe is authentic, and your family will enjoy it. The recipe can work for all the other types of meat enjoyed in Cantonese cuisine.

It is swift to make as it will take 30 minutes to both prepare and cook.

Serve this pork with plain rice or over noodles. Include a side dish of stir-fried vegetables.

Here is the recipe.

11. Cantonese Egg custard with minced pork

Cantonese Egg custard with minced pork

This is another easy-to-make delicious dish. It is also low carb and paleo.

It will take you three-quarters of an hour for both prep time and cooking time. This means that you can enjoy this meal for brunch on Saturdays or even for dinner on weeknights if you are not too tired.

The ingredients are readily available, and this dish is pocket-friendly. It will be a big save instead of ordering the food instead.

Drizzle some sesame oil for extra flavor and garnish with green onions and fresh cilantro when you are done cooking. Serve while hot. Enjoy.

Here is the recipe.

12. Cantonese Roast Duck

Cantonese Roast Duck

Roast duck is a classic Chinese dish. This straightforward recipe will result o a reddish-brown duck that looks just as good as it tastes.

Cantonese roast duck is served whole, just as Thanksgiving Turkey is served in America.

It is flavored and tastes fantastic to the bones. This is because of the delicious and aromatic marinades used in its preparation. You will need some hours for preparation to ensure that it marinates well.

You will have to airdry the duck before you roast it to get the crispy skin. Then, you will air dry it for 4 hours in the fridge.  

Marinades are sown in the roasted duck before it is roasted to get the juicy, tasty flavors. Ensure the marinades do not leak out.

Then you will roast it for 1 hour only.

You will need yellow bean sauce for this roasted duck. You can purchase yellow bean sauce online or in Asian markets.

Good luck finding it in the American supermarkets.

Serve it while hot.

Here is the recipe.

13. Cantonese soya sauce chicken

Cantonese soya sauce chicken

Soya sauce chicken is a traditional Cantonese chicken. This chicken is braised in Soya sauce.

Soya sauce is usually watery, giving the chicken enough time to cook well before it thickens.

The soya sauce is brown, giving the chicken a brownish color similar to poached chicken.

The soya sauce will make the chicken delightfully flavored.

When you visit a Chinese restaurant or canteen, you might find this dish written as soya sauce wonton noodles or soya sauce chicken rice.

It tastes the same way, just with noodles or rice as an accompaniment.

This soya sauce chicken is sweet and tastes better when you have it homemade using this recipe than when you buy it in most Chinese restaurants.

This recipe is simple with straightforward steps that even beginners will have an easy time with.

Serve this Cantonese soya sauce chicken hot with your favorite rice and a side of vegetables. Enjoy.

Here is the recipe.

14. Cantonese-style ginger scallion lobster

Cantonese style ginger scallion lobster

Cantonese ginger scallion lobster is a must-have in any Chinese wedding banquet. It is one of the things I look forward to most when attending a Chinese wedding.  

It is served as the sixth dish in a Chinese banquet(consisting of a ten-course meal); therefore, do not overindulge in the first five meals if you want to enjoy it the most.

The lobster is fresh and tasty. Following this recipe, I have to warn you it is not the easiest of things, but it is worth it.

The hardest part is processing the lobster. You can try processing the lobster at home, but you can ask the fishmonger to process it for you.

Serve this amazingly fresh and orange lobster as a side dish. Enjoy.

Here is the recipe

Conclusion

Cantonese dishes taste lovely. They are so well-liked because they are easy to make and perfect for people who like natural flavors.

Try the above recipes and become a pro in Cantonese cuisine.

Slow cooker Cantonese pork stew

Cantonese recipes

Cantonese cuisine is one of the traditional culinary styles in Chinese cuisine. Chinese cuisine consists of 8 classic styles: Cantonese, Szechuan, Hunan, Jiangsu, Fujian, Zhejiang, Anhui, and Shandong.
3 from 1 vote
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese

Ingredients

  • Cantonese shumai
  • Cantonese savory glutinous rice dumplings Zongzi
  • Cantonese chicken and vegetable stir-fry
  • Cantonese style braised beef stew
  • Har Lok
  • Cantonese cream corn fish fillet
  • Slow cooker Cantonese pork stew
  • Cantonese style steamed fish
  • Cantonese chicken with mushrooms
  • Cantonese sweet and sour pork recipe
  • Cantonese Egg custard with minced pork
  • Cantonese Roast Duck
  • Cantonese soya sauce chicken
  • Cantonese-style ginger scallion lobster

Instructions

  • Check out the recipe you like
  • Get what you need for the recipe
  • Make the Cantonese recipes as instructions
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