Chinese Food and Cooking
Food is a central part of the Chinese culture. Chinese cuisine is one of the greatest methods of cooking. Many elements have influenced its development. The Chinese people enjoy eating good food at all levels of society, so cooking has developed into a very sophisticated art.
Chinese cuisine is noted for the following characteristics:
Vegetables are the main ingredients.
This explains why most Chinese women are slim and men free of cardiovascular diseases. This is because in China, an agricultural country, there is a traditional respect for land. As the old saying goes, "Live on the mountain if you live in one and live on water if you live by water". The Chinese are meticulous about food preparation. Whether it is pastries or vegetables, they always try to make it tasty and flavorful. For example, beans, a common vegetable, are exquisitely prepared into such delicious dishes as bean sprouts and bean curd.
The Chinese people like well-prepared food.
Zealous about food absorption and digestion, they are scrupulous about the temperature while cooking. Undercooked food is unacceptable to them. To the Chinese, the sight of Westerners eating undercooked steaks still oozing blood inside is horrible. In addition, warm soup is very important. Wonton, or dumpling soup, and noodles are popular nationwide. Other hot soups include jellied bean curd, rice porridge and corn porridge.
Chinese also like to eat together, a tradition that can be traced back a long time ago.
It reflects the Chinese notion of union versus division---round tables, round dishes, and round bowls all symbolize union and perfection. Dishes are usually placed at the center of the table so that everyone around the table can share them. A hot pot, in particular, adds to the atmosphere of harmony and union. Friends eat and live together. A recent book by an American Sinologist held that the Chinese collective tradition developed out of the practice of eating together.
Tea drinking is an integral part of Chinese life and the Chinese food experience. Tea is believed to be good for you. The Chinese were the first to discover the tealeaf and have been drinking tea ever since in many varieties.
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