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Chinese cuisine is an important part of
Chinese culture Chinese culture () is one of the world's oldest cultures, originating thousands of years ago. The culture prevails across a large geographical region in East Asia and is extremely diverse and varying, with customs and traditions varying grea ...
and includes
cuisine A cuisine is a style of cooking characterized by distinctive ingredients, List of cooking techniques, techniques and dish (food), dishes, and usually associated with a specific culture or geographic region. Regional food preparation traditions ...

cuisine
s originating from
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere ...

China
. Because of the
Chinese diaspora Overseas Chinese () refers to people of Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by popula ...

Chinese diaspora
and historical power of the country, Chinese cuisine has influenced many other cuisines in
Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and Northern Hemisphere, Northern Hemisphere of the Earth, Hemispheres. It shares the continental landmass of Eurasia with the cont ...

Asia
and beyond, with modifications made to cater to local palates. Chinese food staples such as
rice Rice is the seed A seed is an embryonic ''Embryonic'' is the twelfth studio album by experimental rock band the Flaming Lips released on October 13, 2009, on Warner Bros. Records, Warner Bros. The band's first double album, it was relea ...

rice
,
soy sauce Soy sauce (also called simply soy in American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of variety (linguistics), varieties of the English language native ...

soy sauce
,
noodles Noodles are a type of food made from unleavened dough which is rolled flat and cut, stretched or extruded, into long strips or strings. Noodles can be refrigerated for short-term storage or dried and stored for future use. Noodles are usually ...

noodles
,
tea Tea is an aromatic beverage prepared by pouring hot or boiling water over cured A cure is a completely effective treatment for a disease. Cure, or similar, may also refer to: Places * Cure (river), a river in France * Cures, Sabinum, an ...

tea
,
chili oil Chili or chilli may refer to: Food * Chili con carne Chili con carne (also spelled chilli con carne or chile con carne and shortened to chili or chilli ), meaning " chili with meat", is a spicy stew A stew is a combination of solid food ing ...
, and
tofu Tofu, also known as bean curd, is a food Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional Nutrition is the biochemical Biochemistry or biological chemistry, is the study of chemical processes within and relating to living orga ...

tofu
, and utensils such as
chopsticks Chopsticks are shaped pairs of equal-length sticks of Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and depend ...

chopsticks
and the
wok A wok (; Standard Chinese Standard Chinese (), in linguistics known as Standard Northern Mandarin, Standard Beijing Mandarin or simply Mandarin, is a dialect of Mandarin that emerged as the lingua franca among the speakers of various Man ...

wok
, can now be found worldwide. The preferences for
seasoning Seasoning is the process of adding herbs In general use, herbs are a widely distributed and widespread group of plants, excluding vegetables Vegetables are parts of plants that are consumed by humans or other animals as food. The origina ...

seasoning
and
cooking techniques This is a list of cooking techniques commonly used in cooking Cooking, cookery, or culinary arts is the art, science, and craft of using heat In thermodynamics Thermodynamics is a branch of physics that deals with heat, Work (therm ...
of Chinese provinces depend on differences in historical background and
ethnic groups An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identity (social science), identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that distinguish them from other groups. Those attributes can include common sets of traditions, ances ...
. Geographic features including mountains, rivers, forests, and deserts also have a strong effect on the local available ingredients, considering that the climate of China varies from
tropical The tropics are the region of Earth surrounding the Equator. They are delimited in latitude by the Tropic of Cancer in the Northern Hemisphere at N and the Tropic of Capricorn in the Southern Hemisphere at S; these latitudes correspond to ...
in the south to
subarctic The subarctic zone is a region in the Northern Hemisphere The Northern Hemisphere is the half of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's sur ...
in the northeast. Imperial royal and noble preference also plays a role in the change of Chinese cuisine. Because of imperial expansion and trading, ingredients and cooking techniques from other cultures have been integrated into Chinese cuisines over time. There are numerous regional, religious, and ethnic styles of Chinese cuisine found within China and abroad. The most praised Four Great Traditions in Chinese cuisine are Chuan, Lu, Yue, and Huaiyang, representing cuisines of West, North, South, and East China, respectively. The modern Eight Cuisines of China are
Anhui Anhui (; Postal romanization, formerly romanized as Anhwei) is a landlocked Provinces of China, province of the China, People's Republic of China, part of the East China region. Its provincial capital and largest city is Hefei. The province is l ...
(),
Guangdong Guangdong (, ), alternately romanized as Canton Province or Kwangtung, is a coastal province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, admin ...
(),
Fujian Fujian (; alternately romanized as Fukien or Hokkien) is a province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, sub ...
(),
Hunan Hunan (, ; ) is a landlocked province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdi ...
(),
Jiangsu Jiangsu (; ; Postal romanization, formerly romanized Kiangsu) is an eastern-central coastal Provinces of the People's Republic of China, province of the China, People's Republic of China. It is one of the leading provinces in finance, education, ...
(),
Shandong Shandong (; alternately romanized as Shantung) is a coastal province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subn ...
(),
Sichuan Sichuan (; , ; alternatively romanized as Szechuan or Szechwan) is a landlocked province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, admini ...
(), and
Zhejiang Zhejiang (, ; , Chinese postal romanization, also romanized as Chekiang) is an East China, eastern, coastal Provinces of China, province of the China, People's Republic of China. Its capital and largest city is Hangzhou. Zhejiang is bordered ...
() cuisines."Fujian Cuisine.Beautyfujian.com
. Accessed June 2011.
Color, smell, and taste are the three traditional aspects used to describe Chinese food, as well as the meaning, appearance, and nutrition of the food. Cooking should be appraised with respect to the ingredients used, knifework, cooking time, and seasoning.


History


Pre-Tang dynasty

Chinese society greatly valued
gastronomy 200px, Fine food, the principal study of gastronomy Gastronomy is the study of the relationship between food Food is any substance consumed to provide Nutrient, nutritional support for an organism. Food is usually of plant, animal or Fungus, ...

gastronomy
, and developed an extensive study of the subject based on its traditional medical beliefs. Chinese culture initially centered around the
North China Plain 200px, The North China Plain is shown in dark. The Yellow River is shown as "Río Amarillo". The North China Plain () is a large-scale downfaulted rift basin formed in the late Paleogene The Paleogene ( ; also spelled Palaeogene or Palæogene; ...
. The first domesticated crops seem to have been the foxtail and
broomcorn ''Sorghum'' is a genus of about 25 species of flowering plants in the grass family Poaceae. Some of these species have grown as cereals for human consumption and some in pastures for animals. One species, ''Sorghum bicolor'', was originally dome ...
varieties of
millet Millets () are a group of highly variable small-seeded grasses, widely grown around the world as cereal crops or grains for fodder and human food. Millets are important crops in the semiarid tropics of Asia and Africa (especially in Indi ...

millet
, while
rice Rice is the seed A seed is an embryonic ''Embryonic'' is the twelfth studio album by experimental rock band the Flaming Lips released on October 13, 2009, on Warner Bros. Records, Warner Bros. The band's first double album, it was relea ...

rice
was cultivated in the south. By 2000 BC, wheat had arrived from western Asia. These grains were typically served as warm
noodle Noodles are a type of food Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional Nutrition is the biochemical Biochemistry or biological chemistry, is the study of chemical processes within and relating to living organism ...

noodle
soups instead of baked into bread as in Europe. Nobles hunted various wild game and consumed
mutton Lamb, hogget, and mutton, generically sheep meat, are the meat of domestic sheep Sheep (''Ovis aries'') are quadrupedal, ruminant mammals typically kept as livestock. Like all ruminants, sheep are members of the order (biology), order Art ...
, pork and
dog The dog or domestic dog (''Canis familiaris'' or ''Canis lupus familiaris'') is a Domestication, domesticated descendant of the wolf which is characterized by an upturning tail. The dog Origin of the domestic dog, derived from an Pleistocene ...

dog
as these animals were domesticated. Grain was stored against famine and flood and meat was preserved with salt, vinegar, curing, and fermenting. The flavor of the meat was enhanced by cooking it in animal fats though this practice was mostly restricted to the wealthy. By the time of
Confucius } Confucius ( ; zh, s=, p=Kǒng Fūzǐ, "Master Kǒng"; or commonly zh, s=, p=Kǒngzǐ, labels=no; ) was a Chinese philosopher Chinese philosophy originates in the Spring and Autumn period () and Warring States period (), ...

Confucius
in the late Zhou, gastronomy had become a high art. Confucius discussed the principles of dining: "The rice would never be too white, the meat would never be too finely cut... When it was not cooked right, man would not eat. When it was cooked bad, man would not eat. When the meat was not cut properly, man would not eat. When the food was not prepared with the right sauce, man would not eat. Although there are plenty of meats, they should not be cooked more than staple food. There is no limit for alcohol, before a man gets drunk." The
Lüshi chunqiu The ''Lüshi Chunqiu'', also known in English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which h ...
notes: "Only if one is chosen as the Son of Heaven will the tastiest delicacies be prepared or him" The Zhaohun (4-3rd c. BC) gives some examples: turtle ragout, honey cakes and beer (chilled with ice). During
Shi Huangdi Qin Shi Huang (, ; 18 February 25910 September 210) was the founder of the Qin dynasty and the first Emperor of China, emperor of a unified China. From 247 to 221 BC he was Zheng, King of Qin (, ''Qín Wáng Zhèng'', personal name 嬴政 ''Y ...
's
Qin dynasty The Qin dynasty, or Ch'in dynasty in Wade–Giles Wade–Giles () is a romanization Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of ever ...

Qin dynasty
, the empire expanded into the south. By the time of the
Han dynasty#REDIRECT Han dynasty The Han dynasty () was the second Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 220 AD), established by the rebel leader Liu Bang and ruled by the House of Liu. Preceded by the short-lived Qin dynas ...

Han dynasty
, the different regions and cuisines of China's people were linked by major
canal Canals are waterways channels Channel, channels, channeling, etc., may refer to: Geography * Channel (geography), in physical geography, a landform consisting of the outline (banks) of the path of a narrow body of water. Australia * ...

canal
s and leading to a greater complexity in the different regional cuisines. Not only is food seen as giving "
qi
qi
", energy, but food is also about maintaining yin and yang. The philosophy behind it was rooted in the ''
I Ching The ''I Ching'' or ''Yi Jing'' (, ), usually translated as ''Book of Changes'' or ''Classic of Changes'', is an ancient Chinese divination Divination (from Latin ''divinare'', 'to foresee, to foretell, to predict, to prophesy') is the at ...
'' and
Chinese traditional medicine Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is a branch of traditional medicine in China. It has been described as "fraught with pseudoscience", and the majority of its treatments as having no logical mechanism of action. TCM is said to be based on Com ...

Chinese traditional medicine
: food was judged for color, aroma, taste, and texture and a good meal was expected to balance the Four Natures ('
hot
hot
', warm, cool, and '
cold , a common physiological response to cold, aiming to reduce the loss of body heat in a cold environment File:AntarcticaDomeCSnow.jpg, A photograph of the snow surface at Dome C Station, Antarctica a part of the notoriously cold Polar Platea ...

cold
') and the Five Tastes (pungent, sweet, sour, bitter, and salty). Salt was used as a preservative from early times, but in cooking was added in the form of soy sauce, and not at the table. By the Later Han period (2nd century), writers frequently complained of lazy aristocrats who did nothing but sit around all day eating
smoked Smoking is the process of flavoring Flavor (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United ...
meats and roasts. During the
Han dynasty#REDIRECT Han dynasty The Han dynasty () was the second Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 220 AD), established by the rebel leader Liu Bang and ruled by the House of Liu. Preceded by the short-lived Qin dynas ...

Han dynasty
, the Chinese developed methods of food preservation for military rations during campaigns such as drying meat into
jerky Jerky is lean trimmed meat that has been cut into strips and dried (dehydrated) to prevent spoilage. Normally, this drying includes the addition of salt to prevent bacteria growth before the meat has finished the dehydrating process. The word ...

jerky
and cooking, roasting, and drying grain. Chinese legends claim that the roasted, flat bread
shaobing Shaobing (), also called huoshao, is a type of baked, unleavened, layered flatbread A flatbread is a bread Bread is a staple food prepared from a dough of flour and water Water is an Inorganic compound, inorganic, Transparenc ...

shaobing
was brought back from the '' Xiyu'' (the Western Regions, a name for
Central Asia Central Asia is a region in Asia which stretches from the Caspian Sea in the west to China and Mongolia in the east, and from Afghanistan and Iran in the south to Russia in the north, including the former Soviet Union, Soviet republics of the Sov ...

Central Asia
) by the Han dynasty General
Ban Chao Ban Chao (; 32–102 CE), courtesy name Zhongsheng, was a Chinese military general, explorer and diplomat of the Eastern Han Dynasty. He was born in Fufeng (region), Fufeng, now Xianyang, Shaanxi. Three of his family members—father Ban Biao, el ...
, and that it was originally known as hubing (, lit. "barbarian bread"). The shaobing is believed to be descended from the hubing.
Shaobing Shaobing (), also called huoshao, is a type of baked, unleavened, layered flatbread A flatbread is a bread Bread is a staple food prepared from a dough of flour and water Water is an Inorganic compound, inorganic, Transparenc ...

Shaobing
is believed to be related to the Persian ''
nan In computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It includes the study and experimentation of algorithmic processes and development of both computer hardware , hardware and softwar ...
'' and Central Asian ''
nan In computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It includes the study and experimentation of algorithmic processes and development of both computer hardware , hardware and softwar ...
'', as well as the Middle Eastern
pita Pita ( or ) or pitta (British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect A standard language (also standard variety, standard dialect, and standard) is a language variety that has undergone substantial codification of gram ...

pita
. Foreign westerners made and sold sesame cakes in China during the Tang dynasty. During the
Southern and Northern Dynasties The Northern and Southern dynasties () was a period in the history of China The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty (c. 1600–1046 BC), during the king Wu Ding ...
non-Han people like the
Xianbei The Xianbei (; ) were a Proto-Mongolic Proto-Mongolic is the hypothetical ancestor language of the modern Mongolic languages. It is very close to the Middle Mongol language, the language spoken at the time of Genghis Khan and the Mongol Empir ...
of
Northern Wei The Northern Wei (), also known as the Tuoba Wei (拓跋魏), Later Wei (後魏), was a dynasty A dynasty (, ) is a sequence of rulers from the same family,''Oxford English Dictionary'', "dynasty, ''n''." Oxford University Pres ...
introduced their cuisine to northern China, and these influences continued up to the
Tang dynasty The Tang dynasty (, ; ), or Tang Empire, was an imperial dynasty of China that ruled from 618 to 907, with an interregnum An interregnum (plural interregna or interregnums) is a period of discontinuity or "gap" in a government, organiza ...
, popularizing meat like mutton and dairy products like goat milk, yogurts, and
Kumis ''Kumis'' (also spelled ''kumiss'' or ''koumiss'' or ''kumys'', see other transliteration Transliteration is a type of conversion of a text from one script Script may refer to: Writing systems * Script, a distinctive writing system, b ...

Kumis
among even Han people. It was during the Song dynasty that
Han Chinese The Han Chinese (), or the Han people (), is an East Asian East Asia is the east East is one of the four cardinal direction The four cardinal directions, or cardinal points, are the directions north North is one of the four ...
developed an aversion to dairy products and abandoned the dairy foods introduced earlier. The Han Chinese rebel Wang Su who received asylum in the Xianbei Northern Wei after fleeing from Southern Qi, at first could not stand eating dairy products like goat's milk and meat like mutton and had to consume tea and fish instead, but after a few years he was able to eat yogurt and lamb, and the Xianbei Emperor asked him which of the foods of China (Zhongguo) he preferred, fish vs mutton and tea vs yogurt.


Post-Tang dynasty

The great migration of Chinese people south during the invasions preceding and during the
Song dynasty The Song dynasty (; ; 960–1279) was an imperial dynasty of China that began in 960 and lasted until 1279. The dynasty was founded by Emperor Taizu of Song Emperor Taizu of Song (21 March 927 – 14 November 976), personal name Zhao Kua ...
increased the relative importance of southern Chinese staples such as rice and
congee Congee or conjee ( ) is a type of rice Rice is the seed of the Poaceae, grass species ''Oryza sativa'' (Asian rice) or less commonly ''Oryza glaberrima'' (African rice). The name wild rice is usually used for species of the genera ''Ziza ...

congee
.
Su Dongpo
Su Dongpo
has improved the red braised pork as Dongpo pork. The dietary and culinary habits also changed greatly during this period, with many ingredients such as
soy sauce Soy sauce (also called simply soy in American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of variety (linguistics), varieties of the English language native ...

soy sauce
and Central Asian influenced foods becoming widespread and the creation of important cookbooks such as the ''Shanjia Qinggong'' () and the ''Wushi Zhongkuilu'' () showing the respective esoteric foods and common household cuisine of the time. The Yuan and
Qing The Qing dynasty, officially the Great Qing (), was the last dynasty A dynasty (, ) is a sequence of rulers from the same family,''Oxford English Dictionary'', "dynasty, ''n''." Oxford University Press Oxford University Pr ...
dynasties introduced
Mongolian Mongolian may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to Mongolia, a country in Asia * Mongolian people, or Mongols * Mongolia (1911–24), the government of Mongolia, 1911–1919 and 1921–1924 * Mongolian language * Mongolian alphabet * Mongo ...
and Manchu cuisine, warm northern dishes that popularized
hot pot Hot pot or hotpot (), also known as soup-food or steamboat, is a cooking method that originated in China, prepared with a simmering pot of soup stock at the dining table, containing a variety of Chinese foodstuffs and ingredients. Descriptio ...

hot pot
cooking. During the
Yuan dynasty The Yuan dynasty (), officially the Great Yuan (; xng, , , literally "Great Yuan State"), was a successor state Successor is someone who, or something which succeeds or comes after (see success and succession) Film and TV * ''The Succ ...
many Muslim communities emerged in China, who practiced a porkless cuisine now preserved by Hui restaurants throughout the country.
Yunnan cuisine Yunnan cuisine, alternatively known as Dian cuisine, is an amalgam of the cuisines of the Han Chinese The Han Chinese (), or the Han people (), is an East Asian East Asia is the east East is one of the four cardinal directio ...
is unique in China for its cheeses like
Rubing Rubing () is a firm, acid-set, non-melting, fresh goat milk Goat milk is the milk of domestic goats. Goats produce about 2% of the world's total annual milk supply. Some goats are bred specifically for milk. Goat milk naturally has small, ...
and
Rushan cheese ''Rushan'' () is a cow's milk cheese of Yunnan, China. It is traditionally made by the Bai people, who call it (or , in another dialect of Bai), the etymology of which is unclear. Freshly made cows’ milk curds are pulled and stretched into ...
made by the
Bai people The Bai, Pai or Baip ( Bai: Baipho, (白和); ; endonym An endonym (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in ...
, and its yogurt, the yogurt may have been due to a combination of Mongolian influence during the Yuan dynasty, the Central Asian settlement in Yunnan, and the proximity and influence of India and Tibet on Yunnan. As part of the last leg of the
Columbian Exchange #REDIRECT Columbian exchange#REDIRECT Columbian exchange native plants. Clockwise, from top left: 1. Citrus (Rutaceae); 2. Apple An apple is an edible fruit produced by an apple tree (''Malus domestica''). Apple fruit tree, trees are agr ...
, Spanish and Portuguese traders began introducing foods from the New World to China through the port cities of
Canton Canton may refer to: Administrative division terminology * Canton (administrative division), territorial/administrative division in some countries, notably Switzerland * Township (Canada), known as ''canton'' in Canadian French Arts and entert ...

Canton
and
Macau Macau or Macao (; ; ; ), officially the Macao Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (MSAR), (RAEM) is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. Lond ...

Macau
. Mexican
chili pepper The chili pepper (also chile, chile pepper, chilli pepper, or chilli), from Nahuatl Nahuatl (; ),The Classical Nahuatl word (noun stem ''nāhua'', + absolutive ''-tl'' ) is thought to mean "a good, clear sound" This language name has se ...

chili pepper
s became essential ingredients in
Sichuan cuisine Sichuan cuisine, alternatively romanized as Szechwan cuisine or Szechuan cuisine (, Standard Mandarin Standard Chinese (), in linguistics known as Standard Northern Mandarin, Standard Beijing Mandarin or simply Mandarin, is a dialect of ...
and calorically-dense potatoes and corn became staple foods across the northern plains. During the Qing Dynasty, Chinese gastronomes such as
Yuan Mei Yuan Mei (; 1716–1797) was a Chinese painter and poet of the Qing Dynasty The Qing dynasty, officially the Great Qing (), was the last dynasty A dynasty (, ) is a sequence of rulers from the same family,''Oxford English D ...

Yuan Mei
focused upon a primary goal of extracting the maximum flavor of each ingredient. As noted in his culinary work the ''
Suiyuan shidan The ''The Way of Eating'' (or ''Way of the Eating'')() is a work on cooking and gastronomy written by the Qing dynasty, Qing-dynasty poet and scholar Yuan Mei. It is known in English under various titles, including ''Recipes from the Garden of Conte ...
'', however, the fashions of cuisine at the time were quite varied and in some cases were flamboyantly ostentatious, especially when the display served also a formal ceremonial purpose, as in the case of the Manchu Han Imperial Feast. As the pace of life increases in modern China, fast food like
fried noodles Fried noodles are common throughout East Asia, Southeast Asia and South Asia. Many varieties, cooking styles, and ingredients exist. Fried noodle dishes File:Beefchowfoon.jpg, Beef chow fun File:Charkwayteow.JPG, Char kway teow File:Phat Thai kun ...

fried noodles
,
fried rice Fried rice is a dish of cooked rice Cooked rice refers to rice that has been cooked either by steaming or boiling. The terms steamed rice or boiled rice are also commonly used. Any variant of Oryza sativa, Asian rice (both Indica rice, Indica ...

fried rice
and ''
gaifan ''Gaifan'' () or ''gaijiaofan'' () is a type of dish in Chinese cuisine typically offered in low-cost establishments. It consists of a fish, meat, or vegetable topping served over rice. The dish can be either freshly cooked or previously cooked, ...
'' (dish over rice) become more and more popular.


Regional cuisines

There are a variety of styles of cooking in China, but most Chinese chefs classified eight regional cuisines according to their distinct tastes and local characteristics. A number of different styles contribute to Chinese cuisine but perhaps the best known and most influential are
Cantonese cuisine Cantonese or Yue cuisine is the cuisine A cuisine is a style of cooking Cooking or cookery is the art, science, and craft of using heat to Outline of food preparation, prepare food for consumption. Cooking techniques and ingredients v ...
,
Shandong cuisine Shandong cuisine (), more commonly known in Chinese as Lu cuisine, is one of the Eight Culinary Traditions of Chinese cuisine and one of the Four Great Traditions (). It is derived from the native cooking style of Shandong Province, a norther ...
,
Jiangsu cuisine Jiangsu cuisine (), also known as Su cuisine, is one of the Eight Culinary Traditions of Chinese cuisine. It is derived from the native cooking styles of Jiangsu Province. In general, Jiangsu cuisine's texture is characterised as soft, but not ...
(specifically
Huaiyang cuisine Huaiyang cuisine () is one of the Four Great Traditions in Chinese cuisine. It is derived from the native cooking styles of the region surrounding the lower reaches of the Huai River, Huai and Yangtze River, Yangtze rivers and centered on the ci ...
) and
Sichuan cuisine Sichuan cuisine, alternatively romanized as Szechwan cuisine or Szechuan cuisine (, Standard Mandarin Standard Chinese (), in linguistics known as Standard Northern Mandarin, Standard Beijing Mandarin or simply Mandarin, is a dialect of ...
. These styles are distinctive from one another due to factors such as availability of resources, climate,
geography Geography (from Ancient Greek, Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth and Solar System, planets. The first person t ...
,
history History (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approxima ...

history
, cooking techniques and lifestyle. One style may favour the use of
garlic Garlic (''Allium sativum'') is a species of bulbous flowering plant in the genus ''Allium''. Its close relatives include the onion, shallot, leek, chive, Allium fistulosum, Welsh onion and Allium chinense, Chinese onion. It is native to Central ...

garlic
and
shallot The shallot is a botanical variety (a cultivar) of the onion The onion (''Allium cepa'' L., from Latin ''cepa'' "onion"), also known as the bulb onion or common onion, is a vegetable Vegetables are parts of plants that are consumed by ...

shallot
s over chili and spices, while another may favour preparing
seafood Seafood is any form of sea life regarded as food by humans, prominently including fish Fish are , , -bearing animals that lack with . Included in this definition are the living , s, and and as well as various extinct related groups. ...

seafood
over other meats and
fowl Fowl are bird Birds are a group of s constituting the Aves , characterised by s, toothless beaked jaws, the of eggs, a high rate, a four-chambered , and a strong yet lightweight . Birds live worldwide and range in size from the ...

fowl
.
Jiangsu cuisine Jiangsu cuisine (), also known as Su cuisine, is one of the Eight Culinary Traditions of Chinese cuisine. It is derived from the native cooking styles of Jiangsu Province. In general, Jiangsu cuisine's texture is characterised as soft, but not ...
favours cooking techniques such as
braising Image:Braised_Ox_Cheek_in_Star_Anise_and_Soy_Sauce.jpg#file, 250px, Braised ox cheek in star anise and soy sauce Braising (from the French language, French word ''braiser'') is a combination-cooking method that uses both wet and dry heats: typica ...
and
stewing A stew is a combination of solid food ingredients that have been cooked in liquid and served in the resultant gravy. Ingredients in a stew can include any combination of vegetables and may include meat Meat is animal flesh that is ea ...
, while
Sichuan cuisine Sichuan cuisine, alternatively romanized as Szechwan cuisine or Szechuan cuisine (, Standard Mandarin Standard Chinese (), in linguistics known as Standard Northern Mandarin, Standard Beijing Mandarin or simply Mandarin, is a dialect of ...
employs
baking Baking is a method of preparing food that uses dry heat, typically in an oven, but can also be done in hot ashes, or on hot stones. The most common baked item is bread but many other types of foods are baked. Heat is gradually transferred "fro ...

baking
.
Zhejiang cuisine Zhejiang cuisine, alternatively known as Zhe cuisine, is one of the Eight Culinary Traditions of Chinese cuisine. It derives from the traditional ways of cooking in Zhejiang Province, which is located south of Shanghai Shanghai (, , St ...
focuses more on serving fresh food and shares some traits in common with Japanese food.
Fujian cuisine Fujian cuisine or Fujianese cuisine, also known as Min cuisine or Hokkien cuisine, is one of the native Chinese cuisines derived from the native cooking style of China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in ...
is famous for its delicious seafood and soups and the precise use of scintillating spices.
Hunan cuisine Hunan cuisine, also known as Xiang cuisine, consists of the cuisines of the Xiang River The Xiang River is the chief river of the Lake Dongting drainage system of the middle Yangtze, the largest river in Hunan Province, China China, o ...
is famous for its hot and sour taste.
Anhui cuisine Anhui cuisine, alternatively referred to as Hui cuisine, is one of the Eight Culinary Traditions of Chinese cuisine. It is derived from the native cooking styles of the Huangshan region in southern Anhui Province. Methods and ingredients Anhui ...
incorporates wild food for an unusual taste and is wilder than Fujian cuisine. Based on the raw materials and ingredients used, the method of preparation and cultural differences, a variety of foods with different flavors and textures are prepared in different regions of the country. Many traditional regional cuisines rely on basic methods of
preservation Preservation may refer to: Heritage and conservation * Preservation (library and archival science) In Library science, library and archival science, preservation is a set of preventive conservation activities aimed at prolonging the life of a ...

preservation
such as
drying Drying is a mass transfer Mass transfer is the net movement of mass from one location, usually meaning stream, phase, fraction or component, to another. Mass transfer occurs in many processes, such as absorption Absorption may refer to: Chemi ...
, salting,
pickling Pickling is the process of preserving or extending the shelf life of food Food is any substance consumed to provide Nutrient, nutritional support for an organism. Food is usually of plant, animal or Fungus, fungal origin, and contains ess ...
and
fermentation Fermentation is a metabolic Metabolism (, from el, μεταβολή ''metabolē'', "change") is the set of life Life is a characteristic that distinguishes physical entities that have biological processes, such as Cell signalin ...
. In addition, the "rice theory" attempts to describe cultural differences between north and south China; in the north, noodles are more consumed due to wheat being widely grown whereas in the south, rice is more preferred as it has historically been more cultivated there.


Staple foods

Chinese ancestors successfully planted
millet Millets () are a group of highly variable small-seeded grasses, widely grown around the world as cereal crops or grains for fodder and human food. Millets are important crops in the semiarid tropics of Asia and Africa (especially in Indi ...

millet
,
rice Rice is the seed A seed is an embryonic ''Embryonic'' is the twelfth studio album by experimental rock band the Flaming Lips released on October 13, 2009, on Warner Bros. Records, Warner Bros. The band's first double album, it was relea ...

rice
, and other grains about 8,000 to 9,000 years ago. As for
wheat Wheat is a grass widely cultivated for its seed, a cereal grain which is a worldwide staple food. The many species of wheat together make up the genus ''Triticum''; the most widely grown is common wheat Common wheat (''Triticum aestivum'' ...

wheat
, another staple, it took another three or four thousand years. For the first time, grains provided people with a steady supply of food. Because of the lack of various foods, Chinese people had to adapt to new eating habits. Meat was scarce at that time, so people cooked with small amounts of meat and rice or noodles.


Rice

Rice Rice is the seed A seed is an embryonic ''Embryonic'' is the twelfth studio album by experimental rock band the Flaming Lips released on October 13, 2009, on Warner Bros. Records, Warner Bros. The band's first double album, it was relea ...

Rice
is a primary
staple food A staple food, food staple, or simply a staple, is a food Food is any substance consumed to provide Nutrient, nutritional support for an organism. Food is usually of plant, animal or Fungus, fungal origin, and contains essential nutrients, ...

staple food
for people from rice farming areas in southern China.
Steamed rice Cooked rice refers to rice Rice is the seed of the Poaceae, grass species ''Oryza sativa'' (Asian rice) or less commonly ''Oryza glaberrima'' (African rice). The name wild rice is usually used for species of the genera ''Zizania (genus), Z ...
, usually
white rice White rice is milled rice Rice is the seed A seed is an embryonic ''Embryonic'' is the twelfth studio album by experimental rock band the Flaming Lips released on October 13, 2009, on Warner Bros. Records, Warner Bros. The band's firs ...

white rice
, is the most commonly eaten form. People in South China also like to use rice to make congee as breakfast. Rice is also used to produce
beer Beer is one of the oldest and most widely consumed alcoholic drinks in the world, and the third most popular drink overall after water and tea. Beer is brewing, brewed from cereal, cereal grains—most commonly from malted barley, though wh ...
,
baijiu ''Baijiu'' (), also known as ''shaojiu'' (/), is a colourless liquor Liquor or spirit (also hard liquor, or distilled alcohol) is an alcoholic drink An alcoholic drink is a drink A drink (or beverage) is a liquid A liquid ...
and
vinegar Vinegar is an aqueous solution of acetic acid and trace compounds that may include flavorings. Vinegar typically contains 5–8% acetic acid by volume. Usually, the acetic acid is produced by a double fermentation; converting simple sugars to eth ...

vinegar
.
Glutinous rice Glutinous rice (''Oryza sativa var. glutinosa''; also called sticky rice, sweet rice or waxy rice) is a type of rice grown mainly in Southeast Asia, Southeast and East Asia, Northeastern India and Bhutan which has opaque grains, very low amylos ...

Glutinous rice
("sticky rice") is a variety of rice used in special dishes such as lotus leaf rice and glutinous rice balls.


Wheat

In wheat-farming areas in
Northern China Northern China () and Southern China () are two approximate regions within China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is ...
, people largely rely on
flour Flour is a powder A powder is a dry, bulk solid Solid is one of the four fundamental states of matter (the others being liquid, gas and plasma). The molecules in a solid are closely packed together and contain the least amount ...

flour
-based food, such as
noodles Noodles are a type of food made from unleavened dough which is rolled flat and cut, stretched or extruded, into long strips or strings. Noodles can be refrigerated for short-term storage or dried and stored for future use. Noodles are usually ...
, ''
bing Bing most often refers to: * Bing Crosby Harry Lillis "Bing" Crosby Jr. (May 3, 1903 – October 14, 1977) was an American singer, comedian and actor. The first multimedia star, Crosby was one of the most popular and influential musical ...
'' (bread), ''
jiaozi ''Jiaozi'' ( zh, 餃子; ) are Chinese dumpling Dumpling is a broad class of dishes that consist of pieces of dough (made from a variety of starch sources) wrapped around a filling, or of dough with no filling. The dough can be based ...

jiaozi
'' (a kind of Chinese
dumpling Dumpling is a broad class of dishes that consist of pieces of dough (made from a variety of starch sources) wrapped around a filling, or of dough with no filling. The dough can be based on bread Bread is a staple food prepared from a ...

dumpling
s), and ''
mantou ''Mantou'' (), often referred to as Chinese steamed bun, is a white and soft type of steamed bread or bun popular in Northern China. Folk etymology connects the name ''mantou'' to a tale about Zhuge Liang. Description ''Mantou'' are typical ...
'' (a type of steamed buns).Yao, Zhang. ''China Everyday!''. Page One Pub. 2007. Wheat likely "appeared in the lower Yellow River around 2600 Before Common Era (BCE), followed by Gansu and Xinjiang around 1900 BCE and finally occurred in the middle Yellow River and Tibet regions by 1600 BCE".


Noodles

Chinese noodles Noodles Noodles are a type of food made from unleavened dough which is rolled flat and cut, stretched or extruded, into long strips or strings. Noodles can be refrigerated for short-term storage or dried and stored for future use. Noodles ...
come dry or fresh in a variety of sizes, shapes and textures and are often served in soups or fried as toppings. Some varieties, such as Shou Mian (寿面, literally noodles of longevity), is an avatar of long life and good health according to Chinese traditions. Noodles can be served hot or cold with different toppings, with broth, and occasionally dry (as is the case with mi-fen). Noodles are commonly made with rice flour or wheat flour, but other flours such as
soybean The soybean, soy bean, or soya bean (''Glycine max'') is a species of legume A legume () is a plant Plants are predominantly photosynthetic Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to Energy transformation ...
are also used in minor groups. The names given to the noodle is unique in their own way, such as the method used to make the noodle as in hand-pulled noodle.


Soybean products

Tofu Tofu, also known as bean curd, is a food Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional Nutrition is the biochemical Biochemistry or biological chemistry, is the study of chemical processes within and relating to living orga ...

Tofu
is made of
soybean The soybean, soy bean, or soya bean (''Glycine max'') is a species of legume A legume () is a plant Plants are predominantly photosynthetic Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to Energy transformation ...

soybean
s and is another popular food product that supplies protein. The production process of tofu varies from region to region, resulting in different kinds of tofu with a wide range of texture and taste.J. Li & Y. Hsieh. ''Traditional Chinese Food Technology and Cuisine''. Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2004;13(2): 147–155. Other products such as
soy milk Soya milk (simplified Chinese Simplified Chinese characters are standardized Chinese characters Chinese characters, also called ''hanzi'' (), are logogram In a written language A written language is the representation o ...

soy milk
,
soy paste Fermented bean paste is a category of fermented foods Fermentation in food processing is the process of converting carbohydrates to alcohol or organic acids using microorganisms—yeasts or bacteria—under wikt:anaerobic, anaerobic conditions. ...
, soy oil, and fermented
soy sauce Soy sauce (also called simply soy in American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of variety (linguistics), varieties of the English language native ...

soy sauce
are also important in Chinese cooking. There are many kinds of soybean products, including tofu skin, smoked tofu, dried tofu, and fried tofu. Stinky tofu is fermented tofu. Like blue cheese or durian, it has a very distinct, potent and strong smell, and is an acquired taste. Hard stinky tofu is often deep-fried and paired with soy sauce or salty spice. Soft stinky tofu are usually used as a spread on steamed buns. Doufuru is another type of fermented tofu that has a salty taste. Doufuru can be pickled together with soy beans, red yeast rice or chili to create different color and flavor. This is more of a pickled type of tofu and is not as strongly scented as stinky tofu. Doufuru has the consistency of slightly soft blue cheese, and a taste similar to Japanese miso paste, but less salty. Doufuru can be used as a spread on steamed buns, or paired with Congee, rice congee. Fermented bean curd, Sufu is one other type of fermented tofu that goes through ageing process. The color (red, white, green) and flavor profile can determine the type of sufu it is. This kind of tofu is usually eaten alongside breakfast rice.


Vegetables

Apart from vegetables that can be commonly seen, some unique vegetables used in Chinese cuisine include baby corn, bok choy, snow peas, China, Chinese eggplant, Gai lan, Chinese broccoli, and Volvariella volvacea, straw mushrooms. Other vegetables including bean sprouts, pea vine tips, watercress, lotus roots, chestnuts, water chestnuts, and bamboo shoots are also used in different cuisines of China. Because of different climate and soil conditions, cultivars of green beans, peas, and mushrooms can be found in rich variety. A variety of dried or pickled vegetables are also processed, especially in drier or colder regions where fresh vegetables were hard to get out of season.


Herbs and seasonings

Seasonings such as fresh ginger root,
garlic Garlic (''Allium sativum'') is a species of bulbous flowering plant in the genus ''Allium''. Its close relatives include the onion, shallot, leek, chive, Allium fistulosum, Welsh onion and Allium chinense, Chinese onion. It is native to Central ...

garlic
, scallion, cilantro and sesame are widely used in many regional cuisines. Sichuan peppercorns, star anise, cinnamon, fennel, cloves and white peppers are also used in different regions. [''The Times'']. Accessed June 2011. To add extra flavor to the dishes, many Chinese cuisines also contain dried Chinese mushrooms, dried baby shrimp, dried tangerine peel,Chinese Restaurants Are Adding Herbs for Flavor and Health
– ''The New York Times''
and dried Sichuan chillies. When it comes to sauces, China is home to soy sauce, which is made from fermented soybeans and wheat. A number of sauces are also based on fermented soybeans, including hoisin sauce, ground bean sauce and yellow bean sauce. There are also different sauces preferred by regional cuisines, oyster sauce, fish sauce and furu (fermented tofu) are also widely used. Vinegar also has a variety with different flavors: clear rice vinegar, Zhenjiang Vinegar, Chinkiang black rice vinegar, Shanxi vinegar, Henghe vinegar etc.


Desserts and snacks

Generally, seasonal fruits serve as the most common form of dessert consumed after dinner. Dim sum (點心), originally means small portion of food, can refer to dessert, pastries. Later to avoid the disambiguation, tian dian (甜點) and gao dian (糕點) are used to describe desserts and pastries. Chinese desserts are sweet foods and dishes that are served with tea, usually during the meal, or at the end of meals in Chinese cuisine. Besides being served as dim sum along with tea, pastries are used for celebration of traditional festivals. The most famous one is moon cake, used to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival. A wide variety of Chinese desserts are available, mainly including steamed and boiled sweet snacks. Bing (Chinese flatbread), Bing is an umbrella term for all breads in Chinese, also including pastries and sweets. These are baked wheat-flour-based confections, with different stuffings including red bean paste, jujube, and a variety of others. Su (酥) is another kind of pastry made with more amount of oil, making the confection more friable. Chinese candies and sweets, called ''táng'' (糖) "Chinese Desserts."Kaleidoscope - Cultural China
. Accessed June 2011.
are usually made with Sugarcane, cane sugar, malt sugar, honey, nuts, and fruit. Kueh, Gao or Guo are rice-based snacks that are typically steamed and may be made from glutinous or normal rice. Another cold dessert is called ''baobing'', which is shaved ice with sweet syrup. Chinese jellies are known collectively in the language as ''ices''. Many jelly desserts are traditionally set with agar and are flavoured with fruits, known as guodong (果冻), though gelatine based jellies are also common in contemporary desserts. Chinese dessert soups are typically sweet and served hot. There are also Western pastries in China, like mille-feuille, crème brûlée, and cheesecake, but they are generally not as popular because the Chinese preference of dessert is mildly sweet and less oily. Many types of street foods, which vary from region to region, can be eaten as snacks or light dinner. Prawn crackers are an often-consumed snack in Southeast China.


Dairy products

Chinese in earlier dynasties evidently drank milk and ate dairy products, although not necessarily from cows, but perhaps ''kumis'' (fermented mare's milk) or goat's milk. Many Chinese chefs have until recently avoided milk, partly because pasturage for milk producers in a monsoon rice ecology is not economic, and partly because of the high rate of Lactose intolerance#Epidemiology, lactose intolerance among the Chinese population. As such, the use of dairy products in Chinese cuisine has historically been rare, with regional exceptions, such as the "double skin milk" dessert in Guangdong Province, the Rubing (milk cake) cheese in Yunnan, and yoghurt in Qinghai and Xinjiang. Today, ice cream is commonly available and popular throughout China.


Cold dishes

Cold dishes are usually served before the main meal. Besides salad and pickles as appetizers, they can range from jelly, beancurd, noodle salad, cooked meat and sausages, to jellyfish or cold soups. Chinese sausages vary from region to region. The most common sausage is made of pork and pork fat. The flavor is generally salty-sweet in Southern China. In other parts of China, sausages are salted to be preserved. Chinese sausage is prepared in many different ways, including oven-roasting, stir-frying, and steaming.


Soups

In some part of South China, soups are served between the cold dishes and the main dishes. In other parts of China, soups are served between the main dish and staple foods, before desserts or fruit salad. There are many traditional Chinese soups, such as wonton soup, herbal chicken soup, hot and sour soup, winter melon soup, and so on.


Drinks

Tea plays an important role in Chinese dining culture. Baijiu and huangjiu as strong alcoholic beverages are preferred by many people as well. Wine is not so popular as other drinks in China that are consumed whilst dining, although they are usually available in the menu.


Tea

As well as with dim sum, many Chinese drink their tea with snacks such as nuts, plums, dried fruit (in particular jujube), small sweets, melon seeds, and Myrica rubra, waxberry. China was the earliest country to cultivate and drink tea, which is enjoyed by people from all social classes.Q. Hong & F. Chunjian. ''Origins of Chinese Tea and Wine''. Asiapac Books Pte Ltd. 2005.. Tea processing began after the Qin Dynasty, Qin and Han Dynasty, Han Dynasties. The different types of Chinese tea include black, white, green, yellow, oolong, and dark tea. Chinese tea is often classified into several different categories according to the species of plant from which it is sourced, the region in which it is grown, and the method of production used. Some of these types are green tea, oolong tea, black tea, scented tea, white tea, and compressed tea. There are four major tea plantation regions: Jiangbei District, Ningbo, Jiangbei, Jiangnan, Huanan County, Huanan and the southwestern region. Well known types of green tea include Longjing tea, Longjing, Huangshan, Mao Feng, Bilochun, Putuofeng Cha, and Liu'an Guapian.Zonglin Chang Xukui Li. ''Aspect of Chinese Culture''. 2006., . China is the world's largest exporter of green tea. One of the most ubiquitous accessories in modern China, after a wallet or purse and an umbrella, is a double-walled insulated glass thermos with tea leaves in the top behind a strainer.


Alcoholic beverages

The importance of ''
baijiu ''Baijiu'' (), also known as ''shaojiu'' (/), is a colourless liquor Liquor or spirit (also hard liquor, or distilled alcohol) is an alcoholic drink An alcoholic drink is a drink A drink (or beverage) is a liquid A liquid ...
'' (lit. "white liquor") in China (99.5% of its alcoholic market) makes it the most-consumed alcoholic spirit in the world. It dates back to the introduction of distilling during the
Song dynasty The Song dynasty (; ; 960–1279) was an imperial dynasty of China that began in 960 and lasted until 1279. The dynasty was founded by Emperor Taizu of Song Emperor Taizu of Song (21 March 927 – 14 November 976), personal name Zhao Kua ...
; can be made from wheat, corn, or rice; and is usually around 120 proof (60% ABV). The most ubiquitous brand is the cheap Er guo tou, but Mao Tai is the premium ''baijiu''. Other popular brands include Kang, Lu Zhou Te Qu, and Wu Liang Ye. ''Huangjiu'' (lit. "yellow liquor") is not distilled and is a strong rice wine (10–15% ABV). Popular brands include Shaoxing Lao Jiu, Shaoxing Hua Diao, and Te Jia Fan. While fermented grain beverages have been brewed in China for over 9,000 years, it has been long overshadowed by stronger alcohol like Baijiu and Huangjiu.


Herbal drinks

Chinese herb tea, also known as ''medicinal herbal tea'', is a kind of tea made from Chinese medicinal herbs.


Other beverages

Soy milk, almond milk, walnut milk and coconut milk are also drunk during the meal in different regions. In some parts of China, Crataegus, hawthorn and jujube juice are preferred. A small shot of fruit vinegar is served as an appetizer in Shanxi.


Chinese cuisines outside China

Where there are historical immigrant Chinese populations, the style of food has evolved and been adapted to local tastes and ingredients, and modified by the local cuisine, to greater or lesser extents. This has resulted in a deep Chinese influence on other national cuisines such as Cambodian cuisine, Filipino cuisine, Thai cuisine and Vietnamese cuisine. There are also a large number of forms of fusion cuisine, often popular in the country in question. Some, such as ramen (Japanese Chinese cuisine) have become popular internationally. Deep fried meat combined with sweet and sour sauce as a cooking style receives an enormous preference outside of China. Therefore, many similar international Chinese cuisines are invented based on sweet and sour sauce, including Sweet and sour chicken (Europe and North America), Manchurian chicken (India) or ''tangsuyuk'' (South Korea). The Hawaiian pizza was inspired by Chinese sweet and sour flavors. Apart from the host country, the dishes developed in overseas Chinese cuisines are heavily dependent on the cuisines derived from the origin of the Chinese immigrants. In Korean Chinese cuisine, the dishes derive primarily from
Shandong cuisine Shandong cuisine (), more commonly known in Chinese as Lu cuisine, is one of the Eight Culinary Traditions of Chinese cuisine and one of the Four Great Traditions (). It is derived from the native cooking style of Shandong Province, a norther ...
while Filipino Chinese cuisine is strongly influenced by
Fujian cuisine Fujian cuisine or Fujianese cuisine, also known as Min cuisine or Hokkien cuisine, is one of the native Chinese cuisines derived from the native cooking style of China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in ...
. The large population having Chinese ancestors in the United States operates many restaurants, has developed distinctive dishes (such as chop suey) based originally on Cantonese cuisine, while those are not popular among Chinese-American people. According to the report released by China's largest on-demand service platform in 2018, there are over 600,000 Chinese restaurants overseas. The report also pointed out that hotpot is the most popular food in the foreign market.
Sichuan cuisine Sichuan cuisine, alternatively romanized as Szechwan cuisine or Szechuan cuisine (, Standard Mandarin Standard Chinese (), in linguistics known as Standard Northern Mandarin, Standard Beijing Mandarin or simply Mandarin, is a dialect of ...
and some Chinese snacks and fast food followed in second and third place, respectively.


Dining etiquette


Greetings

Guests at a meal should greet the host and other guests after arriving at the banquet.


Seating

The Chinese dining etiquette has that youths should not sit at the table before the elders.


Eating

Youths should not start eating before the elders start eating. When eating with a bowl, one should not hold it with its bottom part, because it resembles the act of begging. Chopsticks are the main eating utensils for Chinese food, which can be used to cut and pick up food. When someone is taking a break from eating at the table, they should not put the chopstick into the rice vertically, because it resembles the Chinese traditional funeral tribute, which involves putting chopstick inside a bowl of rice vertically. It is considered inappropriate to use knives on the dining table. Chopsticks should not be waved around in the air or played with. Food should first be taken from the plate in front. It is considered impolite to stare at a plate. Watching TV, using mobile phones or doing other activities while eating is considered a bad habit. If an older person puts food in a younger person's bowl, the younger person should thank them.


Relation to Chinese philosophy

Food in the Chinese culture symbolizes many social and cultural aspects of life. The formality of the meal setting can signify what kind of relationship people have with one another, and the type of food can indicate ones' social status and their country of origin. In a formal setting, up to sixteen of any combination of hot and cold dishes would be served to respect the guests. On the other hand, in a casual setting, people would eat inexpensive meals such as at food stalls or homemade food. The typical disparity in food in the Chinese society between the wealthy group and everyone under the group lies in the rareness and expensiveness of the food or ingredient, such as shark fins and bear paws. Depending on whether one goes for rice or anything that is made of wheat flour such as noodle or bread as their main source of food, people within similar culture or of different background can assume other's country of origin from the south or north of China. Different foods have different symbolic meanings. Mooncakes and
dumpling Dumpling is a broad class of dishes that consist of pieces of dough (made from a variety of starch sources) wrapped around a filling, or of dough with no filling. The dough can be based on bread Bread is a staple food prepared from a ...

dumpling
s are symbolic of the Mid-Autumn Festival, Mid-autumn festival and the Spring Festival, respectively. Pear symbolizes bad luck due to its similarity in pronunciation of 'away' in the native language and noodle means living a long life for its length. In Chinese philosophy, food is frequently used as the message that the author is trying to convey. A Chinese philosophy ''
I Ching The ''I Ching'' or ''Yi Jing'' (, ), usually translated as ''Book of Changes'' or ''Classic of Changes'', is an ancient Chinese divination Divination (from Latin ''divinare'', 'to foresee, to foretell, to predict, to prophesy') is the at ...
'' says, “Gentlemen use eating as a way to attain happiness. They should be aware of what they say, and refrain from eating too much." The Chinese culture has guidelines in how and when food are eaten. Chinese people typically eat three meals a day. Breakfast is served around 6-9am, lunch is served around 12-2pm, and dinner is served around 6-9pm. Within the Chinese culture, families do follow different traditions. Some families have the elderly members and younglings of the family get priority in getting their meal first, then the mother and father, and then the children and teenagers. Other families have the male and female eat separately at different seating area. Whatever tradition the family decided to follow, it is all to show respect to members of the family.


Relation to Chinese religion

In Chinese folk religion, Ancestor veneration in China, ancestor veneration is conducted by offering food to ancestors and Chinese koo man involve the consumption and preparation of specific foods which have symbolic meanings attached to them. Specific religions in China have their own cuisines such as the Taoist diet, Buddhist cuisine and Chinese Islamic Cuisine. The Kaifeng Jews in Henan province once had their own Chinese Jewish cuisine but the community has largely died out in the modern era and not much is known about the specifics of their cuisine but they did influence foods eaten in their region and some of their dishes remain.Kaifeng, Capital and Culinary
, Flavor and Fortune


See also

* ''A Bite of China'' by China Central Television, CCTV * The eight major traditions of Chinese cuisine **
Shandong cuisine Shandong cuisine (), more commonly known in Chinese as Lu cuisine, is one of the Eight Culinary Traditions of Chinese cuisine and one of the Four Great Traditions (). It is derived from the native cooking style of Shandong Province, a norther ...
**
Sichuan cuisine Sichuan cuisine, alternatively romanized as Szechwan cuisine or Szechuan cuisine (, Standard Mandarin Standard Chinese (), in linguistics known as Standard Northern Mandarin, Standard Beijing Mandarin or simply Mandarin, is a dialect of ...
** Cantonese cuisine **
Fujian cuisine Fujian cuisine or Fujianese cuisine, also known as Min cuisine or Hokkien cuisine, is one of the native Chinese cuisines derived from the native cooking style of China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in ...
**
Jiangsu cuisine Jiangsu cuisine (), also known as Su cuisine, is one of the Eight Culinary Traditions of Chinese cuisine. It is derived from the native cooking styles of Jiangsu Province. In general, Jiangsu cuisine's texture is characterised as soft, but not ...
**
Zhejiang cuisine Zhejiang cuisine, alternatively known as Zhe cuisine, is one of the Eight Culinary Traditions of Chinese cuisine. It derives from the traditional ways of cooking in Zhejiang Province, which is located south of Shanghai Shanghai (, , St ...
**
Hunan cuisine Hunan cuisine, also known as Xiang cuisine, consists of the cuisines of the Xiang River The Xiang River is the chief river of the Lake Dongting drainage system of the middle Yangtze, the largest river in Hunan Province, China China, o ...
**
Anhui cuisine Anhui cuisine, alternatively referred to as Hui cuisine, is one of the Eight Culinary Traditions of Chinese cuisine. It is derived from the native cooking styles of the Huangshan region in southern Anhui Province. Methods and ingredients Anhui ...
* Other traditions in Chinese cuisine ** Beijing cuisine *** Chinese imperial cuisine ** Guizhou cuisine ** Henan cuisine **
Huaiyang cuisine Huaiyang cuisine () is one of the Four Great Traditions in Chinese cuisine. It is derived from the native cooking styles of the region surrounding the lower reaches of the Huai River, Huai and Yangtze River, Yangtze rivers and centered on the ci ...
** Hubei cuisine ** Jiangxi cuisine ** Shaanxi cuisine ** Shanghai cuisine ** Shanxi cuisine ** Teochew cuisine * List of Chinese bakery products * List of Chinese desserts * List of Chinese dishes * List of Chinese sauces * List of Chinese soups * Chinese regional cuisine * Chinese food therapy * History of Chinese cuisine * Customs and etiquette in Chinese dining * Chinese cooking techniques * Chinese Cuisine Training Institute * List of restaurants in China * Pizza in China


References


Further reading

; History * * * David R. Knechtges, "A Literary Feast: Food in Early Chinese Literature," ''Journal of the American Oriental Society ''106.1 (1986): 49–63. * * * Sterckx, Roel. ''Food, Sacrifice, and Sagehood in Early China.'' New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011 (2015). * Sterckx, Roel. ''Chinese Thought. From Confucius to Cook Ding.'' London: Penguin, 2019. * * * Endymion Wilkinson, "Chinese Culinary History (Feature Review)," ''China Review International ''8.2 (Fall 2001): 285–302. * ; Cookbooks * Buwei Yang Chao. ''How to Cook and Eat in Chinese.'' (New York: John Day, 1945; revisions and reprints). * Fuchsia Dunlop. ''Land of Plenty: A Treasury of Authentic Sichuan Cooking.'' (New York: Norton, 2003). . * Fuchsia Dunlop. ''Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook: Recipes from Hunan Province.'' (New York: Norton, 2007). . * Fuchsia Dunlop. ''Shark's Fin and Sichuan Pepper: A Sweet-Sour Memoir of Eating in China.'' (New York: Norton, 2008). . * Fuchsia Dunlop. ''Every Grain of Rice: Simple Chinese Home Cooking'' (2012). * Emily Hahn, ''Recipes, The Cooking of China.'' (Alexandria, Va.: Time-Life Books, Foods of the World, 1981). * Hsiang-Ju Lin and Tsuifeng Lin. ''Chinese Gastronomy.'' (London: Nelson, 1969; rpr.). . * Yan-Kit So. ''Classic Food of China.'' (London: Macmillan, rpr 1994, 1992). . * Martin Yan. ''Martin Yan's Chinatown Cooking: 200 Traditional Recipes from 11 Chinatowns around the World.'' (New York: Morrow, 2002). . *Georgina Freedman. ''Cooking South of The Clouds: Recipes and Stories From China's Yunnan Province.'' (Octopus; Kyle, 2018). .


External links

* K.C. Chan
"Food in Chinese Culture"
Asia Society * *
Chinese food made easy
at the British Broadcasting Corporation, BBC *
Chinese Culinary History (Websites for Research)
Stony Brook University Libraries. {{DEFAULTSORT:Chinese Cuisine Chinese cuisine,