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Analysing Chinese language Food Culture Cultural Studies Essay


Numerous cultures are scattered about the world today, and among one of the oldest civilizations is the Chinese language culture. China has a known history of over 4000 years and has experienced more than 15 dynasties. Because of its broad history and an isolated natural geography, it has accumulated a rich culture using its own unique characteristics not the same as others. Among its culture, food takes a huge part of computer. Going through the annals, Chinese food has developed from basic cooking to an extremely complex area of the Chinese language culture. (Chinese language History, 2005)

The Distinctions between Different Regions

China covers a huge part of land, and even though there are extensive similarities among those people who go on it, different local civilizations still have their own characteristics. We will first split China into four main areas: Beijing (North), Canton (South), Shanghai (East), and Szechuan (West). Later, we will further separate it into 8 parts for a more specific view of the Chinese food culture. (Parkinson)

In the northern China, people eat flour products made from wheat as their main source of food anticipated greatly to their local culture. They actually so because their tough weather condition doesn't allow rice to be expanded. The winters are freezing wintry, and summers are hot and very dry. That forced them to expand the easier grown food, whole wheat, which created the initial characteristic for northern Chinese dishes. Today, common food from the north includes: dumplings, noodles, steamed buns, etc. (ChineseHomeCooking. Com, 2005)

In the southern China, unlike the north, their major staple is rice, plus they have an abundant supply of vegetables, fruits, and livestock. It is because they have a light weather and drinking water resource from the river. Also, Canton is just beside the sea and for that reason they may have an ample way to obtain shrimps, fish, crabs, etc. Because of this, Canton cuisine includes a variety of seafood and in nearly every meal, Cantonese eats grain and vegetables. Cantonese food is well known for its cooking methods. Methods that are generally used include roasting, boiling, and Steaming. A famous dish called congee comes from southern China and later distributed throughout China. Other famous food from this place includes Dim sum, that are famous food from the south offered on little plates on wheel-carts. (ChineseHomeCooking. Com, 2005)

In the eastern China, people eat both grain and flour-made foods. Because the weather is great for agriculture, and there is Yangtze River for irrigation, this region gets the greatest rice creation compared with other parts in China. Because of this, rice is employed by individuals in many creative ways. They make grain into rice wine beverages for drink or seasoning, or they use rice to make desserts. One distinctive attribute for eastern Chinese food is its use of red-cooking. It really is a cooking approach in which you use soy sauce to season your food, causing it to carefully turn into the deep red color. Furthermore, a fairly large amount of sweets is added, giving it a special taste. A lot like Canton, the eastern China has access to both sea and river and therefore seafood is common. Keeping it fresh and retaining its natural taste is very important to eastern Chinese delicacies, then cooks there favor to cook by braising, stewing, and roasting. (ChineseHomeCooking. Com, 2005)

Finally, in the european China, the best rep would be Szechuan's dishes. Szechuan is a basin bounded by mountain and for that reason isolated from the others of China since long time before. It has a temperate warm, but humid local climate all time, so agriculture is very successful there. Spices, vegetables, and other terrestrial materials are common. Because Szechuan is nowhere next to sea, it doesn't have just as much seafood as compared to Canton or Shanghai. Szechuan is well known for its spicy hot food. The majority of their food is made up of a whole lot of spice and chilly, which is usually dried out and without sauce. This is due to their cultural belief. According to the residents they assume that spicy food can help you sweat so when your sweat precipitates, it brings heat away and that means you will instead feel cool. On top of that, sweating brings away toxics and helps keep you healthy. Also, they believe that spicy food "stimulate one's palate to be able to indulge different tantalizing flavors offered in Szechuan dishes. " (ChineseHomeCooking. Com, 2005) Unlike other regions, Szechuan people concentrate on techniques that can preserve food for their humid local climate. "Salting, drying, smoking and pickling are popular methods used by homeowners. " (ChineseHomeCooking. Com, 2005)

Festivals and food

Chinese culture includes many festivals, and foods have a great association with it. Over a large number of years, Chinese folks have developed a huge number of festivals to please the Gods and also to celebrate; foods have a great part in it. In Chinese language, a single pronunciation can be represented by the whole lot of word heroes. Most of the time people will eat the food which have the same pronunciation as something that symbols good fortune. Foods that are ready for Chinese language New Calendar year, such as yr cake and fish, are perfect good examples. Nian gao, or the so called time cake, is one of the foodstuffs that China have to eat during New Year's Celebration. It is manufactured from steamed glutinous grain. In Chinese language "gao" means high and "nian" means calendar year, this dish is a symbolization of getting better, climb to a higher position every year. "Nian" is also the pronunciation for sticking jointly. Chinese households will eat it while wishing the family will be mutually forever. Another food that will definitely be on the table is Fa gao. It really is a cup cake like dessert made of flour, glucose and fungus. "Fa" is the term for bringing up and making profits in Chinese. Seafood is one interesting dish which will be consumed during New Time. It is interesting since it will be located up for grabs but cannot be ingested by anyone. Associated with that fish's pronunciation is "yu, " which is the same as left over. Chinese people don't eat it because they wish something is kept for them each year. The long background of China also affects their food civilizations a lot even as we will soon see.

Historical occurrences helped created many festivals today, along with the traditional foods that include it. The Dragon motorboat happening and Moon festivity are the two popular examples. The famous food Zhonzi, or the rice dumplings, was originally made to prevent seafood from eating the body of great poet, Qu Yuan, who jumped into the river; however, it is now a remembrance for his fatality and eaten during the Dragon boat celebration. Moon cakes are for the Moon festival, the day which emperors used to pray to the moon. Old Chinese managed to get in line with the shape of full moon and carved icons of good luck on it.

Some ancient tales likewise have something to do with Chinese food culture. Take Dragon fishing boat festival as an example. People drink Shun Huan wines on Dragon vessel festival to keep the snake girl Bai Suchen away. It was recorded within an old story that a monk used that wine beverage to turn Suchen back to her original form. Shun Huan wine is a kind of medicated wines, the strong scent will keep away many bugs and bugs, as well as snakes and other poisonous animals. The initial reason to drink Shun Huan wines was to keep people safe during May, the hottest month that allures a great deal of bugs, especially for individuals who work in mountains. Other festivals likewise have their own reviews that are related to the items Chinese language people do or eat on that day, but there are sensible reasons for it. (The Chinese Festivals, 1-6)

Table Manners

Dining may be counted as one of the most crucial thing in Chinese culture and far etiquette is likely to follow. Chinese respect themselves as the country of decorum, so their admiration to others, especially to elders, can be an absolute manner. Before entering the seats, the guest or the elders will be asked to stay first and on the so called "host seating. " In China, folks have to utilize chopsticks, spoons, bowls and plates to dine. Unlike traditional western countries which use knife and forks made out of steel, Chinese people use chopsticks made from bamboo and porcelain spoons. "This is related to Confucianism, knife and fork are considering violence, like wintry weapons. On the other hand, chopsticks represent gentleness and benevolence. " (1) People maintain chopsticks in a single palm but it is impolite to put the other palm under the stand in Chinese language culture. When eating, it's important to hold in the rice bowl in the other hand instead of inserting it on the table. People will think you are rude if you put your elbow up on the table, in particular when it requires up other's space, since Chinese eat in spherical tables. Chinese foods are located in a large plate for everybody, and taking more food while there are still some staying food in your bowl is very impolite. Additionally it is forbidden to use your own chopsticks to dig around in the public plate looking for the thing you want. Many guidelines are created for eating out in Chinese language culture, but it is sometimes problematic for foreigners to comprehend, even for more radiant generations in China.

Tea, Liquor, Natural medication and Food

Tea is the most common drink in China for over thousands of years, people drink it almost every day. Every Chinese restaurant offers tea plus they do have special reasons. One of the most obvious one is basically because tea can neutralize the seasonings of the meals; additionally, it may refresh the breathing. The primary reason for Chinese people though, is that they see ingesting tea in an effort to calm and relax. In early times, tea is counted as a type of herbal medicine. Nowadays Chinese have developed their special drinking cultures. Various kinds of food are served with different sorts of tea. For example, when eating Sichuan delicacies, which has a stronger flavor, light flavored teas can be found. Alternatively, when eating foods that are lightly flavored, more powerful tea such as Tie up Guan Yin is usually offered. (Tea, Food and Dining. 1)

Drinking liquor could also count as a special food culture for China. Many famous dishes require wine as an important seasoning, and whenever people collect for eating out, liquors are often provided. Chinese wine beverage usually have a solid scent. Folks from southern area drink often to keep themselves warm. Chinese folks have been trying to find a way to live a long life. An emperor, Qin Shi Huang, even seek medication that can let him live permanently. Chinese have their unique ways to have a better life, and one of these is associated with the food culture. Within a famous ancient article, Ben Tsao Jing, it listed almost all of the plants which have special functions to take care of illness and most of them have been used as food elements. Chinese even have special medicated food including tea and liquor which will keep you healthy using options from nature. Chinese believes that all foods have its special potency. Some foods will have an effect on your body in a few ways, and it can be neutralize by a different type of food. Tea is an example for this.


Over the years, Chinese language food has been evolving from the original household food into a more novel and creative food but still retaining the traditional ideas and taste. Food continues taking a great part for Chinese language people's life and it is symbolic for Chinese language culture. Nowadays, Chinese language people might be shedding the old traditional beliefs or had overlooked this is of the festivals, but through eating Chinese cuisine, you can search back the values and it can remind you of the celebrations. Although many areas are isolated by natural obstacles and for that reason developed unique cuisines, all of them are still writing a characteristic for the reason that they are made by Chinese people with all their hearts.

Word Matter: 2529

In-text Citations

ChineseHomeCooking. Com. (2005). The regional cuisines of Chinese baking (Part 4 of 4). Retrieved February 9, 2011, from ChineseHomeCooking. Com: http://www. chinesehomecooking. com/articles/regionalcuisine4. htm

Chinese Chef Firm. (2007. ) Desk Manners. (p. 1, 2)

http://www. chinese-chefs. com/food-table. htm

Retrieved February 8, 2011

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