Chef and restaurateur Gary Rhodes discovers the best of regional Chinese food in this new and exclusive series. In this first episode, Gary visits Hong Kong and takes a look at Cantonese cuisine. He visits Lin Heung, a yum cha restaurant where dim sum dishes have been enjoyed for over 80 years. Gary gets a stint in the kitchen and receives a valuable lesson from the industrious chef. Will Gary's dim sum pass muster?
Gary visits Xiamen City's Wet Market and sees the multitudes of sea creatures available to buy. He also gets a flavour of some of the other local specialities, such as spring roll wraps which are made with a unique wrist-flick technique.
Gary sees a famous Hangzhou dish, Beggar's Chicken, cooked outdoors, on the edge of Hangzhou's famous West Lake. The meat is caked in mud and baked in a huge pot. Other featured recipes include grass carp in sweet vinegar and traditional-style Longjing shrimps with dragonwell tea.
Gary is in Shanghai where he hunts down the best Xiao Long Bao - a special local dumpling with a pork filling. At the 'Nanxiang' restaurant in Yu Yuan Gardens, the dumplings are so good that customers frequently queue around the block for them!
Gary ventures deep into Beijing's backstreets to discover one of the city's most prestigious, yet elusive, restaurants. He meets a Mr Li Snr who reveals that imperial recipes were passed down from his grandfather, who was Head of Security to the Emperor of China. Then Gary cooks with Mr Li in the restaurant courtyard.
Gary and food critic Eileen Wen explore Beijing's Northern cuisine. In one of the city's most popular restaurants, they experience a wide range of breakfast dishes. Beijing is famous for its - very sour - bean juice, and many other savoury dishes. Featured recipes include Beijing style lamb leg, sesame pancake, and beef noodles.
Gary visits 'Chengdu Chilli City' pepper market where huge quantities of chilli are sold. Liu Jun Feng tells us about the importance of chilli to Sichuan cuisine, and reveals the huge range of pepper varieties. He also talks about how the personalities of the Chengdu people are reflected in what they eat.
In Southern China, where the cuisine is very different to that of the North and West, with a particular emphasis on soup, Gary accompanies Annie Zhou on a trip to the mountain village home of her parents, where Annie's mum helps her make fresh tofu. Gary samples the delicious cooked tofu as he dines with the family.
Gary accompanies local food writer Reggie Ho to discover a part of Hong Kong's culinary heritage - the fantastic food offered by the ramshackle street restaurants that are sadly now fast disappearing.
Gary and his sous chefs Melissa and Teresa return to Britain after spending a month in China learning from the Masters how to prepare and cook the finest in Chinese and Cantonese cuisine. In this final Episode they prepare a banquet for friends and family including renowned chef Ken Hom at Garys local Chinese restaurant in Orpington.