Someone once said that Chinese people eat everything that has four legs apart from tables and all items that fly except airplanes. Many dishes may make people from other parts of the world squeamish or feel weird like insects, dog hot pot, snakes, scorpions, pig’s ears, rats, feet, heads, kidneys intestines, and boiled blood, etc.
That aside, it is a well- known fact that people from all over the globe love Chinese food. It is a typical dish when couples and families go out to eat or want to experiment different recipes at home. It is not without reason because it has many fantastic and finger licking dishes. The dishes have five essential flavors i.e. bitter, salty, spicy, sweet, and salty which must be balanced.
Among the things that make Chinese food unique is the fact that their culture has a profound affection for food. Each celebration normally has a set menu that people must follow. All the dishes that people serve contain spiritual purpose and deep meaning. Ingredients chefs use for the meals be it meat, spices, or vegetables have meaning.
Cooking techniques are also calculated to retain as many nutrients as possible to achieve balanced food. The Chinese are fond of saying “waste not, want not” in regards to food which makes perfect sense because everything in a Chinese meal is well put and planned. It results in a unique cuisine that stands out from the rest tantalizing people’s taste buds. The foods that are prominent in regards to Chinese cuisine include
- Garlic- symbolizes eternity
- Noodles- symbolize longevity
- Rice- implies increasing prosperity
- Bamboo shoots- a sign of wealth
- Legumes- may mean success and coins, while seeds may symbolize fertility in women
- Fish- it is for abundance and prosperity
- Citrus fruits- indicate wealth, abundance, and luck
- Duck- symbolism of dragon and phoenix which implies good marriage, unity, and strength
- Egg- it is of fertility
If a word can be used to describe the cooking techniques for Chinese food, it would be simple. In a majority of the dishes, the aim is to make raw food edible without depriving it of its most essential nutrients or taking up too much time. It is one of the reasons people compare Chinese take-outs to fast foods as they are comparable in speed. Common cooking methods the Chinese use include:
- Stir-frying- it is one of the fastest ways to prepare sliced meat and vegetables often with rice. It involves high heat, a wok, and constant tossing.
- Braising- it is the process of browning food before simmering it in small amounts of liquid seasoning.
- Steaming- mostly used to make buns, meat, fish, and dim sum.
- Roasting- a universal cooking technique that mainly used for meats and in the Chinese cuisine used for roasted Peking duck.
- Hong-Shao- it means red-cooked, and it produces the richest reddish brown color that you see in meat dishes.
Noteworthy is that the Chinese pay immense attention in regards to smell, color, taste, and shape of food. Taste is known as the soul of the dishes. It may also be important to understand that the Chinese love to give their meals catchy names. The names can be misleading at times. For instance, ants climb trees, is spicy minced pork, field chicken is a frog, while husband wife lung slices are thinly sliced tongue, bovine lung, and other cuts that they season using chili oil.
When it comes to food decoration, some chefs especially the Jiangsu experts tend to go overboard. They believe that a person’s first bite is with the eyes; thus, they strive to serve their food in intricate patterns, or even life like shapes which they brighten with precise decorative herbs and vegetable carvings. You may also know that the Chinese do not use forks or knives to eat because traditionally they view this as barbaric and violent. Instead, they use chopsticks which do not chop because Chinese food is soft or chopped up to bite size pieces before cooking or serving.