Food, which is of course a source of nutrition for everyone, has many social functions in every culture. Here, in this article, is Chinese cuisine in Chinese culture.
Going through the history of 5 thousand years, China has amassed a rich culture and cuisine, which promise to satisfy the appetite for knowledge as well as for food of anyone.
If you are interested in knowing more about 5 great Chinese cuisines, you should spend a few minutes to read to the end of this article.
China food culture
In Chinese culture, food has done more than just an input of nutrition needed to survive.
Like in any culture, food plays an essential role in establishing, expressing and maintaining the relationship between people and people. Chinese people consider food as a mean of making new friend or strengthen relationships they are having. It’s the reason why, when you visit a Chinese friend as a relative, friend, or guest, you will probably be treated with a delicious meal.
Food can present social status, poor or rich, lower or higher social status. For instance, foods that are rare and expensive like bird nest, shark’s fin, or lobster are likely to be served to the upper class.
Characteristic of a group
In China, food can also indicate characteristic of a group divided by regions, families, races or religious. Taking wheat flour and rice as an example. People living in the North of China often use wheat flour to make steamed bread, buns and noodle while those in the South prefer rice in their daily meal.
Each country has a State banquet and Chinese food does the same. Some specific foods will be served at important events, both social and personal, like moon cake at Mid-Autumn festival and noodles at one’s birthday or Zongzi at Dragon Boat Festival.
In Chinese culture, some foods have symbolic meaning. For example, the combo of dates, peanuts, longan and chestnuts are traditionally given to the bride and groom at their wedding with the meaning that the couple soon have a baby.
“When in Rome, do as the Romans do” is always true when you visit, study, work or living in a new country. It also happens in this case. Because Chinese dinning etiquette is much different from that in America, learning its rules to avoid unwanted incidence is a need.
In Chinese culture, main courses are placed at the center of the table, surrounded by supporting dishes. Members can start to eat only when the whole family is available on their seat. Traditionally, the elders and kids are first served at the meal.
If you are invited to a meal by a Chinese friend, make sure that you know when is the best time to enjoy the meal. Normally, the host offers some words of greeting like “Please enjoy yourself” or something like that, then, you need wait until he finish his sayings to start the meal.
Western people might find it hard to use chopsticks, a tableware in Chinese culture. The tradition of using it at meal experiences a long history in China and some Asian countries like Vietnam, Japan and South Korea. Children at the age of three or four start using chopsticks to pick and stir food
Number of meals
Chinese people often have three meals a day, breakfast, lunch and dinner but the situation might be different depending where they are living. For instance, people living in cities have 3 meals days, meanwhile those who lives in rural areas often have only 2 meals a day.
Five great cuisines
As one of the biggest cuisines in the world, Chinese cuisine has power to satisfy the appetite and, later on, raise the taste buds of almost everyone, even gourmets. The following is dishes that are much preferred by both natives and foreigners.
China is famous for foods made of wheat and rice flour like noodles and dumplings. Here are 5 “must-taste” noodles you might give them a try:
- Guilin Rice Noodles: Being top “must- taste” noodles in China, Guilin Rice Noodle is sold on almost every street. A bowl of Guilin is filled with noodles, gravy, fried peanuts or soybeans, scallions, and thin slices of different kinds of meat.
- Chongqing Spicy Noodles: Chongqing spicy noodle will be a good try for those who love spicy foods.
- Shaanxi’s Biangbiang Noodles: Having noodles of about 2–3 centimeters wide and 1 meter long, Shaanxi’s Biangbiang Noodle is also called “belt noodle”.
- Beijing Soybean Paste Noodles: Soybean Paste Noodle consists of noodle made of wheat, soybean paste, cucumber and some slices of meat on top. It is one of the cheapest foods in Beijing.
- Chengdu Dandan Noodles: Another spicy noodle on the list is Chengdu Dandan Noodle. It is even spicier than Chongqing Spicy Noodle because topped with fresh chili.
In Chinese culture, dumplings are an essential dish at important social events like Dragon boat festival, New Year’s Eve, and Spring festival. It has various fillings, ranging from mince pork, diced shrimp, ground chicken, beef, to vegetables.
- Wontons: Eaten on the winter solstice, Wontons ranks No.1 in top “must-eat” dumplings in China. Its main fillings is minced pork and diced shrimp.
- Momos: If you prefer something that’s easier to digest at late night, give Momos a try. Its filling consisting of carrots and cabbage will reduce the amount of calories you get while eating.
- Dimsum: can make you love at first sight with its transparent wrapping and impressive garnish. It must be the reason why this dish has become popular in many Asian countries.
- Xiao Long Bao: is a typical food in Shanghai. It’s commonly served with soup which includes pork, soy sauce, vinegar and ginger.
- Tangyuan: The only dumpling dessert in the list is Tangyuan . It is round in shape and can be filled or unfilled. When made with filling, it has chocolate, sesame paste, fruit, red bean paste, or chopped peanuts.
- Jiaozi: As the most traditional form of dumpling, Jiaozi features the thin wrapper crimped at the top and the filling of ground meat and vegetables.
- Shaomai: Covered with a transparent wrapper and filled with ground pork and herb, Shaomai is also a “must-try”’ dumpling when you visit China.
Chinese cuisine has some chicken dishes that are definitely worth eating for its taste, nutrition and garnish as well.
- Kung Pao Chicken: Kung Pao Chicken is not only popular in China but it has also made a good reputation in Western countries. It includes diced chicken, dried chili, fried peanuts, cornstarch, and vegetables, sweet and sour sauce and mashed garlic.
- Herbal chicken soup: Herbal chicken soup is one of the healthiest foods in China and is commonly eaten at autumn and winter days. To make this soup, they add some herbals in the soup having chicken (dark chicken is preferred) and simmer for hours.
- Cantonese Chicken Soup: Another chicken soup worth mentioning is Cantonese. It’s a healthy and delicious mix of chicken, vegetables chopped into small pieces, and added in some soy sauce and chili sauce.
- Sichuan-style chili chicken: If you are a big fan of chicken and much spicy food, you might give Sichuan-style chili chicken a try.
In China, Tofu is can definitely be eaten as a side dish or and combined with other ingredients to make delicious and nutritious dishes.
- Ma Po tofu: is a famous dish in Chuan Cuisine. It features with the spicy and hot taste from pepper powder.
- Soft/Silken tofu: Silken tofu contains the highest moisture content of all fresh tofus and is a typical food in the South of China.
- Firm tofu: While silken tofu is typical in the South, firm tofu makes a name for itself in the North of China. It’s yellow and regains its shape when pressed.
- Stinky tofu: Smelly is the first significance of stinky tofu. Its strong odor is the result of the fermentation of soft tofu in a unique brine.
- Picked tofu: Another famous processed tofu if picked tofu. It’s made from dried tofu that is soaked in salt water, vinegar, minced chilies and wine for low fermentation.
Peking roasted ducks
Originating as a famous Beijing dish, Peking roasted ducks has made a worldwide reputation for itself with and at top of “must-taste” dishes in China.
Scrolling here, you have already picked up a list of Chinese “must-try” foods. As each region has specialties and distinct taste, the food might be made in an adapted recipe. So, you should add requirements when ordering, slightly spicy, for instance.