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Western Cuisine

The modish form of Chinese cooking these days is western cuisine. Representing this region is the Szechuan and Hunan cuisine. Both cuisine are popular for their liberal use of red chilies, fresh ginger roots, garlic, scallions, and pungently-fermented sauces. Westerners may think that Szechuan and Hunan cuisine are too spicy for their liking, but the flavors are strong and not necessarily spicy hot.

Szechuan cooking is the most prevailing style of Chinese cooking in humid Taipei. This was probably the result of traditional Chinese medical theories, which states that garlic and ginger have extraordinary antiseptic and cleansing effects and that they prod excessive dampness from the human system.

Palatable representatives of the Szechuan and Hunan cuisine include Beggar's Chicken, Honey Ham, Steamed Mince Pigeon in Bamboo Cups, Steamed Whole Pomfret, Frog Legs in Hot Chili Sauce, Duck Smoked with Camphor and Tea, Chicken Baked in Salt, Flah-Fried Shrimp, Eggplant in Soy Sauce, and Szechuan-style Beancurd. A note of warning, Hunan food is cooked with copious amounts of oils, and dishes are usually spicy with a dash of sweet, sour, and salty feeling.

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