Chinese food now holds a popular place among the entire population of the world. You can find a Chinese restaurant in every major city and in many smaller areas of the world as well. Why is Chinese food so popular? Is Chinese food healthy? What is the history of Chinese food?
Firstly Id like give a brief introduction of the development of the Chinese food culture.
In China, food and its preparation has been developed so highly that it has reached the status of an art form. Rich and poor, the Chinese people consider that delicious and nutritious food is a basic necessity. There is an old Chinese saying Food is the first necessity of the people.
Many scientists believe that Chinese food history dates back to the Peking Man which started using fire for cooking about 400,000 years ago. Others claim that Chinese cuisine was established during the Chinese stone age when people began to produce noodle and to cultivate rice.
Chinese food history is remarkable for its variety. Almost each Chinese Dynasty introduced some new innovations, enriching unique Chinese food history. Thus, the Zhou Dynasty is responsible for the appearance of a such well-known Chinese food tradition as chopsticks, and the Qing Dynasty is associated with most of today’s Chinese food popular dishes. Another feature of Chinese food history stir-frying (a famous Chinese food cooking technique) was created during the Tang Dynasty to conserve valuable fuel.
Chinese food history has a deep philosophical background which influenced Chinese food recipes, cooking tips and menus. Thus, in Chinese culture preparation of food is considered not just a craft but an art. Most Chinese food popular dishes require special experience and talent of the chef, however many of them were much modified for western Chinese food restaurants.
Some Chinese food history experts think there are two basic philosophies that had the biggest effect on Chinese food Confucianism and Taoism. After Confucius standards of etiquette food is cut into small pieces before being served, and there should be no knives on the table. The followers of this Chinese food history movement propagated harmony during both cooking and eating.
Taoism which had also a great influence on Chinese culture, and particularly on Chinese food history, focused on such important concepts as healing powers of food and its healthiness. In this way, the Chinese discovered that using ginger as a garnish is a good remedy for upset stomach and cold.
However, the consumption of food is a vital part of the chemical process of life is to state the obvious, but sometimes we fail to realize that food is more than just vital. The only other activity that we engage in that is of comparable importance to our lives and to the life of our species is sex. As Kao Tzu, a Warring States-period philosopher and keen observer of human nature, said, “Appetite for food and sex is nature.” But these two activities are quite different. We are, I believe, much closer to our animal base in our sexual endeavors than we are in our eating habits. Too, the range of variations is infinitely wider in food than in sex. In fact, the importance of food in understanding human culture lies precisely in its infinite variability -variability that is not essential for species survival. For survival needs, all men everywhere could eat the same food, to be measured only in calories, fats, carbohydrates, proteins, and vitamins. But no, people of different backgrounds eat very differently. The basic stuffs from which food is prepared; the ways in which it is preserved, cut up, cooked (if at all); the amount and variety at each meal; the tastes that are liked and disliked; the customs of serving food; the utensils; the beliefs about the food’s properties -these all vary. The number of such “food variables” is great.
Chinese food, when authentic is probably the healthiest food in the world. Some restaurants, which are not authentic, prepare their menu with highly saturated fats or with meats that contain unhealthy amounts of animal fat. These Chinese restaurants are not recommended and they are both neither authentic nor healthy.
Good Chinese food however, is prepared and cooked with poly-unsaturated oils. Authentic Chinese food does not require the use of milk-fat ingredients such as cream, butter or cheese. Meat is used, but not in abundance, which makes it easy for those who love authentic Chinese food to avoid high levels of animal fat. Many believe that authentic Chinese food is really the ideal diet.
Nowadays people are attracted both by Chinese food exoticism and its medical aspects. According to Chinese food history specialists, Chinese cuisine has never been so widespread as it is today.