Importance

As a common saying goes,there are three luxuries in one’s life:an American house,a Japanese wife and Chinese food.That is to say Chinese food is most delicious,nutritious and inviting.In China,food culture not only has developed highly,but also has a great social importance.In the first place,customarily,in important events,such as wedding,festivitycelebrations,etc.,feasting is often an indispensable arrangement.Secondly,cuisine is an important means in social life.When a good friend comes from afar,he is entertained witl rich and various foods by the host.Thirdly,business agreements may be achieved more eficiently and satisfactorily on the dinner table than elsewhere.

Range of Edibilities

Chinese people are expert at eating.In the light of regimen and nutrition,they eat a greater variety of food than the Westerners.They eat certain animals’viscera that the Westerners don’t.They consider that liver is nutrimental for blood;kidney is nutrimental for kidney,etc.with the Cantonese in particular.Cantonese are said to be gourmets.The catalogue of delicious foods for them is very extensive and varied.There is a popular joke among people saying that the Cantonese eat practically everything that walks on the ground except cars,that swims in the water except ships,and that flies in the sky except airplanes.

In addition,Chinese people eat a lot of vegetable dishes,which are prepared often as meat dishes.In the Chinese vegetable restaurants,you can discover on the menu”“vegetable pig’s kidney”,”vegetable pig’s intestines”,”vegetable fish”,”vegetable chicken”,etc.These are mostly bean products.Bean curd is popular among all people,rich or poor.Soy sauce is a Chinese industry,which is a delicious,appetizing and nutritious condiment.Soy sauce manufacture is a great contribution to nutrition and health.

Variety of Cookery

Chinese food is widely known for its variety and abundance.According to data on the subject,the number of well-known ancient and modern Chinese dishes amounts to 8,000.The ingredients may be roughly classified into 600 categories.There are 48 different basic ways of cooking,including pan frying,stir-frying,brewing,deep-frying,stewing,roasting,grilling,instant boiling,steaming,braising(with soy sauce),broiling,baking,etc.

Requirement in Cookery

Generally speaking, the Chinese cooking lays emphasis on the “complete presence of color, aroma and taste”.”Color”refers not only to the color but also to the modeling of foods.

Foods are often carved by the chef into various artistic designs. Their modeling is oftenexquisite and symbolic. For example,a fish dish symbolizes “surplus”(In Chinese language,

“fish”and “surplus”both are pronounced “yu”).”Aroma”refers to the fragrantand appetizing smell of the dishes served on the table before eating. The Chinese people knew veryearly to use spices to prepare strongly fragrant dishes.”Taste”involves proper seasoning and fine slicing techniques. These three essential factors are achieved by careful coordination of a series of delicate activities: selecting ingredients, mixing flavors, timing and cooking, adjustment of the heat, and laying out the food on the plate. Thus every dish on the Chinese dinner table looks like a piece of art, good-looking and delicious.

What is worth mentioning is that there’s a lot of cultural background knowledge involved in the naming of Chinese dishes. Often, it’s hard, even for the Chinese people themselves, to tell what is actually in a certain dish by the name of it until it is served on the table. Of course, one can always turn to the waiter or waitress forexplanation. In most cases, waiters and waitresses are ready to satisfy anyone’s curiosity.

Apart from having regard for the above-mentioned three essential factors-“color, aroma and taste”, Chinese cuisine attaches great importance to nutrition. As a matter of fact, Chinese cuisine has long been closely related to traditional Chinese medicine. Ginseng, walnut, Chinese angelica and the fruit of Chinese wolfberry are often used as ingredients in certain Chinese dishes.