Food is an integral part of daily life for the Chinese people. They enjoy eating and they openly believe that eating good food brings harmony and closeness between people. So, what exactly do they eat? Let’s find out!
Unlike the Western society that is heavily invested in the fast food lifestyle, the Chinese believe that they need to shop daily for fresh meats, seasonal fruits and vegetables, and select live seafood from the local market to keep healthy and enjoy good food. While this is the case, the Chinese aren’t necessarily concerned about nutrition. Instead, their primary focus is in the flavor, texture, aroma, and color of the food, which are the fundamental factors for good Chinese cooking. Their meals are comprised of 4 major food groups: meat, fruit, vegetables, and grains.
Considering their caution for lactose intolerance, they avoid the consumption of large amounts of dairy products. They prefer to substitute these dairy products with tofu and soymilk, which contain large amounts of protein and calcium needed by the body. In addition to that, the Chinese avoid canned and frozen foods as much as possible and they only eat western deserts such as pies, cakes, cookies, and ice cream on special occasions such as weddings, and birthdays.
Chinese deserts, on the other hand, such as, steam papaya soup, sweetwhitelotus’s soup, and red bean soup, are served regularly as a special tear on a hot summer’s night. At dinner, families and close friends eat seasonal fruits as their desert.
As mentioned earlier, the Chinese prefer to eat fresh meats, fruits, and vegetables. However, there are some exceptions, which include salted and dried fish, preserved vegetables such as mustard greens and snow cabbage, and preserved eggs, which are popularly known as ‘thousand year old eggs’. Other exceptions are snack items such as dehydrated mango slices, cuttlefish jerky, beef jerky, and the sweet and sour preserved plums.
Rice is one of the major staple foods in the People’s Republic of China. The Chinese eat rice every day for all their meals. They would also use rice to produce beverages such as wine and beer. Additionally, it is used in many dishes and traces back its origin to more than 10,000 years ago. According to several Chinese literary sources, rice originated from East Asia before its domestication and cultivation spread across the entire Asian continent.
In addition to that, the Chinese believe that rice was given to them as a gift from the animals after a large flood in the region. Because of this gift, the Chinese have a consistent source of plentiful food. Also, rice thrives in China’s wet rural environment, which is why it became the principal staple food in the region. Aside from that, rice is considered one of the most versatile foods in the region and the Chinese believe that it is the most affordable food to grow and eat.
While fried rice is the most common way of cooking, they also use it to make sweet and savory dishes. Sometimes, they grind down the rice to make flour that can be used to make various other edible products. Other times, they may mix the rice and use the rice mixture to make noodles. In other Chinese regions, rice is associated with women and their fertility. The Chinese tend to conduct religious ceremonies for the productiveness of the rice crop, and the fertility of humans and domestic animals alike. Up to date, rice is still considered sacred.
Why is Noodles a Staple Food in China?
Noodles are considered one of the staple foods of China. Chinese people, especially the ones who live in the North. They originated in the Han Dynasty and they actively reflect the cultural traditions and customs of China. Despite their origin, they are accepted all over the world. At first, noodles were hand-produced but after the industrial revolution, there was the mass production of noodles and the invention of instant noodles, which completely changed the industry.
Noodles from China are generally made from mug bean starch, wheat flour, or rice flour. Chinese soup are often served in soup, or stir-fried with eggs, vegetables, or meat. There are several types of noodles in China, which are classified according to the cooking craft used, seasoning gravy added, and the shape of the noodles. Because they are a kind of cereal food, which is the main body of the traditional Chinese diet, it is the main source of energy for the Chinese and considered the most economical energy food in the country.
What animals do Chinese eat?
The Chinese eat all animals’ meat, such as beef, pork, chicken, mutton, pigeon, duck, and so many others. They mostly east pork meat and use it to make almost all meat dishes. Every part of the animal is eaten, including its skin, blood, entrails, meat, or fat. The Chinese people prefer not to eat raw meat, but they are comfortable eating raw fish. All meat, whether beef, pork, or mutton, can be stir-fried, pickled, boiled, roasted, baked, poached, or stewed.
More about meat dishes;
How it is made
Meat Dishes (Examples)
Considered the staple Chinese meat and is readily available all over China
Can be deep-fried, braised, stir-fried, stewed, or, baked
Sweet and Sour Pork, Red-Fried Pork, Steamed Pork, Roast Pork, Baised Dongpo Pork, Braised Pork with Vermicelli, Shredded Pork, with Garlic Sauce, Wanshan Trotters, Roast Suckling Pig, Chinese Ham, Pepper Salted Spare Ribs, Shaanxi Chinese Hamburger
Identified as the 2nd most consumed meat all over China. Popularly known as the ‘King of Meat’ because of its delicious taste and low-fat content but it is more expensive than pork
Boiled, Stir-fried, Steamed, Baked, or Stewed
Black Pepper Beef, Water Boiled Beef, Cumin Beef, Stir-fried Beef and Potatoes, Skillet Beef, Dry-fried Cumin Beef, Beef Curry with Rice, Fried Beef in Oyster Sauce, Guangdong Beef Flank, Hand Torn Beef, Yak Hot Pot (Lijang), Goose Liver Pate Steak
Delicious, tender, and very rich in nutritional value
Kung Pao Chicken, Xinjiang Large Tray Chicken, Hangzhou Beggar’s Chicken, Chicken Wings in 3 cups sauce, Chicken in sweet and sour sauce, Honey chicken with ginger shoots, Chicken feet with pickled peppers, Guangdong Hundred-slice chicken, River Snail and Chicken Hotpot
Similar to Chicken, but with more medicinal value
Smoked, Boiled, Fried, Roasted, Stewed
Quanzhou ginger duck, Hangzhou old duck soup, Shredded roast duck with jellyfish, Duck wings with coriander, Beijing roast duck
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