“Governing a great nation is much like cooking a small fish.”
Once said by a great Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu. By the statement he meant that governing a nation is as sophisticated as cooking. Like governing a country required proper adjustment and decision makings similarly cooking needs a perfect seasoning for successful results. The metaphor describes the importance of food in Chinese culture.
Chinese cuisine has 400,000 years old history of origin. Chinese people believe that cooking is not just an ordinary craft; it’s an art for them. They have always been creative with this art form from the preparation techniques to the serving dishes and from the different sauces to the condiments. Chinese cuisine is one of the toughest cuisines in the world. Thus a lot of experience is required to develop a dish with authenticate traditional taste. Noodles and rice have been an integral part of Chinese cousin since ages.
Chinese food habits are greatly influenced by Chinese culture and philosophies. The most dominating philosophies are Confucianism and Taoism. Both have influenced the way Chinese cook their food as well as the way they eat.
Confucius was the man behind the Confucianism beliefs. He was fond of art of cooking and dreamt and fussed about the food. He sets standard for the presentation and appearance to the taste of the dish and also for the table etiquettes. A specific standard introduced by him was that food has to be cut into small edible pieces before serving. This standard has now become custom. Knives at the dinner table are considered as the poor table etiquettes.
Taoism was responsible for the focusing on the health benefits and the hygienic aspects of food and cooking. In contrast to the Confucianism who was supporters of taste, colour and table etiquettes, Taoism emphasized the life giving power of the food.
Chinese food can be roughly divided into northern and southern cuisines. The northern dishes are oily which lack the blend of ginger and vinegar. Pasta, noodles, ravioli-dumplings, steamed stuffed buns, friend meat dumplings and steamed bread were the treats included in northern style of cooking. Perking, tentsin and shantung are the best known northern style cuisines.
Being cold southern region cuisine include ginger and vinegar in it. Rice and rice products like noodles, rice cakes, rice congee etc. usually accompanied with southern style of cooking. Some representations of southern cooking styles are Szechwan, Hunan, Kiangsu, Chekiang etc. Szechwan and Hunan cuisine are famous for their liberal use of chilli peppers while the Kiangsu and Chekiang styles emphasize freshness and tenderness; and Cantonese food tends to be somewhat sweet and full of variety.
Is Chinese food healthy ?
Yes off course it is. You must all be thinking that Chinese food is oily and unhygienic. But these are all misconceptions. Chinese cuisine is amongst the healthiest cuisine in the world. Chinese cuisine includes a large amount of vegetables and natural agricultural products and poly-unsaturated oils. It does not require the use of milk products like butter, cheese and cream. Meat is also used in a very small quantity. Chinese food avoids the high animal fat and it is the authenticate diet food.
Chinese food is famous not only because of its taste but also due to the way it is served. Chinese food is available in all the major or not so major cities of the world. Chinese food can also be cooked at home but for that you have to be extremely experienced.