Essay on Chinese Food Culture

5881 Words Apr 18th, 2011 24 Pages
Chinese food culture
Though there are many different schools, branches, regional variants, etc., of Chinese cooking, together they constitute what one might reasonably term "Chinese Cooking", where "Chinese Cooking" is distinct from, say, "Italian Cooking". A nation's cooking culture reflects its food traditions, from the food-preparation and eating habits of the countryside to the food-preparation and eating habits of the city, notwithstanding the increasing introduction of foreign fare that is not only served in "foreign" restaurants in the city, but which today is also found in the freezer section of most supermarkets even in the countryside.

In spite of these globalization tendencies, a large swath of any country's population will
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Inherent in this sentiment is the attention paid to the harmony and balance of the ingredients of an individual dish - the dish's texture, color, aroma, and flavor - as well as the part played by the taste, appearance, etc., of the individual dish in comparison to the tastes, appearances, etc., of all of the dishes being served.

This emphasis on aesthetic appeal extends also to the particulars of the tableware, the aim being to create a harmonious balance not only with respect to the makeup of the individual dish and with respect to the complementarity between the types of dishes being served, but also with respect to the setting in which the dining experience is to occur. Part and parcel of this emphasis is also on the sequence and rhythm in which dishes are served, and even concerns the naming of individual dishes, as there exists a long tradition in Chinese society for naming things - from garden ponds to mountain vistas - either after the highbrow (eg., after a famous literary passage) or after a nickname that appeals to everyman (such as the dish Red Lion's Head (Fried Meatballs in Brown Sauce) or the dish Beggar's Chicken (Roasted Chicken in "Yellow Mud", i.e., Roasted Chicken in thick yellow gravy)).

The Inclusion of "Medicinal" Foodstuffs/ Herbs - The cooking tradition of China, since time immemorial, has been intricately linked to the use of herbs and other foodstuffs and/or spices that are believed to have a beneficial effect on the

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