China is one of the popular Asian countries to visit for Western people and not least because of its unique cuisine. We have restaurants that serve Chinese food almost all over the world, but if you decide to go to this magnificent country one day, we advise you to check out the list of the most incredible and curious facts about its traditional food so that you could be familiar with it.
Food In China: Specifics And Distinctions
Like any Asian cuisine, Chinese culinary tradition is varied and not like the one a Western person is used to. Lots of dishes often made with exotic ingredients, unusual tastes, spices, and additives like soy sauce, and of course, other eating habits can easily make anyone out of this nation feel matted.
However, if you learn the basic nuances of Chinese cuisine, it will be way simpler to navigate in the variety of foods and eating traditions of this country.
- Various flavors
Hanging upon the particular region, dishes will vary significantly in terms of flavor in China. For instance, Sichuan cuisine is well-known for its extreme spiciness that makes any dish literally numbing whereas in Hong Kong you will find more savory or sweet foods. The culinary tradition of Northern China has mostly salty foods, and Southern dishes may seem quite sour to the unaccustomed person.
- Wheat in the North, rice in the South
Because of the climate nuances, the Northern areas mostly make use of wheat for making noodles, dumplings, and steamed buns. Southern regions, on the contrary, grow rice so southerners serve boiled rice for every meal, as well as rice noodles.
- Anything can be eaten!
Chinese people are famous around the world for their ability to eat almost anything that flies, runs, swims, or crawls. Insects, snakes, bugs, different animal insides like liver, heart, and even boiled blood… Most tourists find such delicacies too exotic and, well, too disgusting to try.
- Veggies rule!
We may feel squeamish about eating insects, but the fact that Chinese consume way more green vegetables that Western people do is an undeniable fact. So if you are vegetarian headed to China, be sure that you won’t be starving there at all!
- Always eat fresh
This is one of the best things about Chinese cuisine: all that you eat must be fresh. Canned foods are not welcome here, and even today it is a common practice to go to the market and buy freshly butchered hen or fish caught in the morning.
- Chinese consume bones
Of course, they don’t eat them whole, but bones are often chopped to splinters so that they could release the marrow which, as Chinese people believe, is very useful and healthy. In terms of this nuance, it makes sense to eat carefully in order not to choke accidentally. And if you are too considered, you can always ask for some bone broth that is a staple in China.
Also, because of such love for bones, foods are often served whole in China meaning that fish or poultry will not be filleted, with bones and even head intact.
- Go for chopsticks
All food in China is cooked soft and served in small pieces that can be held with chopsticks since locals don’t use forks and knives. So before visiting China we would recommend you practice in holding and handling this eating tool!
- Chinese cook the same thing in many ways
For instance, fish can be not only fried or grilled. It can be boiled, steamed, quick-fried, roasted, marinated, sauteed, pickled, soy-sauced, and cured in many other ways we can not even think about.
- Beware of misleading dish names
A person who visits China for the first time can be shocked by the names of certain dishes, for instance, “Husband-Wife Lung Slices” which has nothing to do with cannibalism (luckily). In fact, this dish is made of the thinly sliced bovine lung.
Chinese also love giving their food catchy names that often don’t indicate the real ingredients at all, e.g. “Field Chicken” which is actually a cooked frog!
- Dishes are shared
According to tradition, in China meals are shared so dishes are served in the middle of the table, and everyone is sitting around it and eat.
In the restaurants, however, they use turntables so that each guest can try the food.
With these minimal facts about Chinese cuisine, we hope you’ll be more familiar with this unique country and its culinary traditions.