7 Things about Chinese Food that you must Know
Chinese cuisine is a mix of different styles of cooking owing to the varied culinary practices of the different regions in China. There are 8 prominent cuisines in China, namely Anuhui, Cantonese, Fujian, Hunan, Jiangsu, Shandong, Szechuan, and Zhejiang. Food has always been an integral part of Chinese culture, influenced by the seasons, ethnic origins and availability of ingredients. The Chinese culinary styles have evolved along with traditional medical beliefs into a holistic and well-balanced cuisine, which benefits both the body and the mind. Even with such diverse tastes and cuisines, certain ingredients are a staple. You will find at least one of these staples in almost any Chinese dish you have.
It would be difficult for any dish to be complete without soybean in it. It is used to make Tofu, fermented black beans, soy sauce, soy milk and many other preparations. All these ingredients are used majorly in everyday cooking in China. In addition to the strong health benefits that soy provides, its appealing taste has found a lot of takers across the world.
Easy availability of rice has made it a staple in Chinese cuisine during the early phase of Chinese history. Rice is a major source of carbohydrates and is accompanied with soups, gravies, meat dishes and even desserts. Rice is also fermented for the preparation of wine in many parts of China. Rice noodles are common in soups, spring rolls or stir fries.
Depending on the location, certain Chinese cuisines emphasize more on seafood than others. That being said, seafood such as fish and shrimps, remain an integral part of Chinese food. Popular fish and shellfish include snapper, sea bass, shrimp (prawns), scallops, squid, crab, clams and oysters.
Ginger and Galangal
Both ginger and galangal are rhizomes, are used for their strong flavors and many health benefits. Even though the taste of these two ingredients is very different in the raw stage, both are used widely to flavor soups, stir fries and in some cases, preparation of meats.
In Chinese cuisine, chilies are used for their medicinal properties as well as the flavor they impart to a meal. Chilies are used to flavor sauces and fermented products such as black bean paste. They are made into pastes with additional ingredients such as salt, sugar or vinegar to be used as seasoning.
Consumption of meat is widespread and common throughout in the history of Chinese culinary. Different kinds of meat are consumed; the most popular being pork, beef and poultry. Sometimes, the meat of animals such as dogs and snakes is eaten as it is thought to have medicinal benefits.
In China, tea is drunk throughout the day, even with meals. The method of preparing tea is given great importance and traditional methods and equipment are used. In China tea can be consumed for pleasure, for its health benefits, or even as a substitute to water.