Chinese cooking is one of the most loved around the world. It became so popular that cities around the world have their own Chinatown that opens you to a spread of dishes. Being one of the oldest cultures, the Chinese also has one of the most interesting cuisines. It has penetrated tables all over the world, however, the authentic Chinese cooking has a lot more interesting facts up its sleeve.
Eye-Opening Facts on Chinese Cuisine
The reason why it’s bite-sized
Chinese don’t use forks and knives because they find it barbaric because these utensils are considered as weapons to them. This is the reason why they serve their food in bite-sized pieces, boneless, and chopped. It also makes it easier to be eaten with chopsticks. However, fish is served in whole and the meat will only be pulled apart using chopsticks, unlike other cuisines where it is first filleted. The Chinese also use cooking techniques that soften the meat to make it easier to be pulled apart.
A starchy ending
The starches neary the end of the meal are not necessarily for desserts, unlike what is common in Western meals. Noodles or Chinese dumplings are served around this time to make sure that the guests are fully satiated.
No time for dessert?
In most countries around the world, dessert is served after the meal. However, in Chinese customs, there isn’t really an exact time on when desserts are to be eaten. So you can eat your dumpling and bite on your egg tart along the way, and no one will say you are skipping courses! There is that element of fun in eating sweet dishes along with savoury ones. This is why tables at dim sum restaurants always seem to have a fiesta with everything spread on the table or ready for partaking any way you want.
Chinese cuisine has different styles of cooking according to different regions in China. These are Anhui, Cantonese, Fujian, Hunan, Jiangsu, Shandong, Szechuan, and Zhejiang . These styles have changed over the years based on local preferences, climate and imperial fashions. Chinese cuisine is considered to be one of the three grand cuisines in the world, alongside the French and Turkish cuisines. A lot of countries have widely accepted and loved Chinese cooking, and they even adopted their own styles to it. This paved the way for other prominent styles outside of China such as American, Singaporean, Malaysian, Indonesian and Indian.Chop suey is a classic example as it was invented by Chinese immigrants in America. Therefore, it can be said that it is a Chinese dish that is westernized.
Did you know that fortune cookies are actually served in Chinese restaurants only in the United States? It is considered to be desserts, however, what is most interesting is that this is not common practice in China. Its origin is unclear, but it was said that the fortune cookie was patterned after the Japanese cracker. As they say, fortune cookies were “introduced by the Japanese, popularized by the Chinese, but ultimately eaten by the Americans”.
A secret frozen in time
Ice cream was said to have originated in China around 2000 BC. According to historians, an emperor loved it so much and kept it a royal secret before Marco Polo came and brought the idea to Italy. Ice cream is actually common in China. There is also another version called “baobing“, which is actually shaved ice with some sweet syrup.
In some cuisines, soup is taken during the beginning of the meal, but this is the other way around for the Chinese. They drink this at the end of the meal because they believe that it aids better digestion, especially after having eaten heavier entrees, like pork or duck. Interestingly, cold dishes are eaten at the start of the meal, such as beancurd, jelly, or noodle dishes.
Typical Chinese breakfast
You can say that a typical Chinese breakfast is heavier on the stomach compared to western styles. Breakfast must-haves include porridge or congees, rolled noodles, rice and fried pancakes served with tea or soy milk. Steamed filled buns called boazi, are also popular breakfast choices. These are either filled with chicken, pork, veggies, or even red bean paste to suit any craving for savoury or sweet dishes.
Nothing goes to waste
The Chinese follow the principle of not wasting anything. This was driven by the fact that most of the families back in the day were struggling with poverty, hence they made several ways to use almost every part of animals and plants when cooking. This is why you can see interesting dishes in authentic Chinese cuisine, such as chicken feet.
Chinese food is considered to be the healthiest in the world. Authentic Chinese cooking uses fresh meats and fresh vegetables, usually paired with noodles and rice. It uses less oil, meat, and spices. Overall, these give you a low-calorie count without sacrificing flavour.
There is so much to love about Chinese cuisine, and one visit at a dim sum spot will show you a very satisfying glimpse of this age-old culture.
For authentic dim sum experience in Singapore, come and visit Tak Po. We will show you how hand-made and traditional Chinese food ought to taste. Enjoy a meal with us and reserve your seats today!
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