In terms of what people eat, as a result of the differences in the kinds of food grown in different parts of China, dietary habits are also varied from region to region. Rice tends to be the staple crop in the south of the country, whereas wheat (and hence products made from flour, such as noodles and dumplings) is consumed more in the north. Non-staple food is mainly meat, eggs and a variety of vegetables, but affected by the climate, there are relatively fewer varieties of vegetables in the north in winter.
In terms of flavor, China boasts many cuisines in different regions, the most famous of which are the following eight: Guangdong/Cantonese cuisine, Sichuan cuisine, Shandong cuisine, Jiangsu cuisine, Zhejiang cuisine, Fujian cuisine, Hunan cuisine and Anhui cuisine. Through absorbing the quintessence of other cuisines all over the country, Beijing cuisine has developed characteristics of its own on the basis of royal court cuisine. Each cuisine has its representative dishes, such as Kung Pao Chicken (Sichuan cuisine), Sweet and Sour Yellow River Carp (Shandong cuisine), Sauteed Fish Head with Diced Spicy Pepper (Hunan cuisine), Longjing Shelled Shrimps (Zhejiang cuisine), Beijing Roast Duck (Beijing cuisine), etc.
Due to the differences in climate, products and living habits in different parts of China, people's tastes are also different. Generally speaking, people from Jiangsu and Zhejiang have a sweet tooth and tend to put some sugar in dishes; northerners favor salty flavors and put more salt in their dishes; people from Hunan and Sichuan prefer spicy food and they often use chilli peppers in their cooking; Shanxi is famed for its vinegar and people from this region can't do without vinegar in their dishes. Therefore. there is an old saying in China, “Sweet south, salty north, peppery east and sour west.