Chinese Food Culture

Interested in knowing about the culture that surrounds Chinese food? Get an insight into the Chinese way of cooking.

Amongst the many interesting aspects to have originated from China is the culture that revolves around the cuisine of the region. The food culture of the country is as rich as its art heritage if not more. There is plenty of regional diversity in the country’s cuisine and plenty of customs and traditions associated with the preparing and consumption of food.

The Break Up of Chinese Food

In general Chinese cuisine can be divided into two distinct styles, the Northern and the Southern. Northern cuisine is characterized by its extensive use of oil but the food itself is not cloyed. The Northern foods make abundant use of vinegar and garlic. There are many Northern Chinese dishes that revolve around pasta. Other popular Northern dishes include ravioli-dumplings, noodles, steamed stuffed buns, steamed bread and fried meat dumplings. The areas of Tientsin and Shantung are the regions that are known for making use of Northern style cooking.

Southern style cooking is known for its abundant use of Chili peppers and the food in general is known to possess tenderness and freshness. There is a lot of variety in Southern style cooking which tends to have a sweet taste to it. Rice dishes are very popular amongst Southern style cooking with some of the popular items being rice cakes, noodles and congee.

One of the unique aspects of Chinese food is the importance of color and aroma. These two elements share equal importance with the taste of the food item in Chinese cooking. Chinese food tends to be very colorful. Every dish features at least three to five different colors. The most popular colors found in Chinese food include yellow, green, red, black, white and caramel.

The aroma plays a special role in increasing the appetite of the individual. Scallions, chili peppers, garlic, wine, star anise, pepper, cinnamon and sesame oil are some of the ingredients that contribute to the special mouthwatering aroma that rise from Chinese food.

The Chinese make all possible efforts to maintaining the freshness in their food. There is lot of emphasis on retaining the natural flavor of the ingredients. They compliment this by making all possible attempts to remove any undesirable odor from the food.

A typical well prepared Chinese dish strikes the optimum balance between strong flavors and bland food plus sweetness and sourness. A dish that manages to capture all these tastes in due proportion is considered to be true to the traditional Chinese taste.

The Chinese have been known to be a people that are highly conscious about their health. As much as they pay emphasis on the presentation, smell and taste of the food the same amount of attention is paid to the nutrition value of what they consume. In fact nutrition takes precedence over the rest of the elements found in Chinese food.

There is in fact an ancient theory of harmonization of foods that sought to identify the five different flavors of sweetness, sourness, bitterness, piquant, saltiness as the body’s basic nutritional needs in relation to the five major organs of the body.

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