Food In Chinese Culture

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When it comes to food, the question as to whether we eat to live or live to eat has long been raised. Although it is a fact of life that humans need food in order to survive, society has managed to progress and evolve enough that our impulse to eat is no longer just rooted in survival. In reality, we as individuals do simultaneously eat to live and live to eat to a certain degree but we cease to crave food merely for the nourishment it offers. If we as humans were only driven by hunger then the food we ate would be very similar, dictated by the presence of essential nutrients we require (Chang, 1977). Yet as seen in the countless numbers of cuisines that have developed and continue to develop all over the world this clearly is not the case. …show more content…
In China, the regard for food centers largely around the benefits food offers to one’s wellbeing and the universally shared social aspect (Li & Hsieh, 2004). The connection between nutrition and health was recognized by the Chinese early on (Anderson, 1988; Chang, 1977). Many foods were consumed and grown for their medicinal value rather than for sustenance alone. Food was also used to represent nobility and in paying respects to elders or ancestors (Anderson, 1988). Even royalty gave great reverence to food with some going as far as to assigning more than half of the palace attendants to the task of exclusively seeing to food preparation (Chang, …show more content…
Four types are more commonly known and are considered the “four great culinary traditions of China” (Bai, 2012; Swislocki, 2009) coming from all four sides: Shandong or Lu cuisine in the North, Huaiyang or Jiangsu cuisine in the East, Guangdong or Yue cuisine in the South, and Sichuan or Chuan in the west. These four great cuisines will be assessed in this paper. Locals of China distinguish the four great cuisines briefly by detailing that, “South is sweet, north is salty; east is spicy, and west is sour” (Li, 2015). However, there is some to dispute concerning whether these four are adequately comprehensive to represent China’s main regional cuisines so an additional four types are sometimes included to form the “eight great culinary traditions” (Bai, 2012; Swislocki, 2009). These include Fujian or Min cuisine, Hunan or Xiang cuisine, Zhejiang or Zhe cuisine, and Anhui or Hui cuisine. China’s regional cuisines are distinct from one another in more ways than the ingredients they employ. Each of the great cuisines are guided by their respective region’s palate and dishes are masterfully shaped with different culinary techniques (Simoons,

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