Chinese cooking has been celebrated since ancient times. At the imperial court, food was at the heart of rituals and ceremonies.
The basic ingredients of Chinese cooking were dictated by what resources were available at the time. Some of China's original foodstuffs are: rice and noodles soy beans tea
Rice has been farmed in China since ancient times. In the north where rice did not grow because of the climate, wheat was grown, so noodles called mein made from wheat flour replaced the rice for meals.
Soybeans are also native to China and are an important part of the Chinese diet. Soybeans are rich in protein and are the main ingredient in Tofu. From soybeans we also get soy milk and soy sauce, the ultimate Chinese seasoning. Soy bean sprouts accompany many popular Chinese dishes.
You could say tea is Chinas national drink. It is part of everyday life as well as Chinese traditions and culture. As part of the wedding ceremony, for example, the bride and groom serve tea to their parents as a sign of appreciation.
The main fresh ingredients used for flavoring include fresh ginger, garlic, Chinese parsley or coriander/cilantro, and spring onions.
The Chinese people are resourceful using unusual ingredients in their cooking.
Some unusual dishes that the Chinese people eat are: Sharks Fin Soup
There are five major styles of cooking that come from each of these five regions.
Beijing Cuisine is in the North. It is famous for its Peking Duck, noodles and steamed dumplings. Sichuan Food in the West is known for its hot and spicy dishes such as Kong Pao Chicken and Ma Po Tofu. Also well known from this area is the Hot Pot.
Chinese Hot Pot Cooking is a fun way to enjoy a meal together where everyone cooks his or her own food right at the table. Chinese Hot Pot is prepared in a metal pot which is placed in the center of the table. The pot is filled with simmering stock and all the ingredients are added and cooked in the broth. The ingredients can include thinly sliced uncooked meats, seafood, vegetables, noodles, dumplings, and dipping sauces.
Fujian cooking in the East is famous for its clear soups, seafood dishes and egg rolls. Cantonese Food in the south relies on soy and ginger for seasoning. It is famous for its birds nest soup, lemon chicken and sharks fin soup, and stir fried dishes.
Hunan Cooking in Central China is spicy and includes sweet and sour flavors. The Hunans sweet and sour chicken or pork are favorites. Hunan cooking relies mainly on frying, stewing and pot roasting as cooking methods. The food also tends to be more on the oily side.
A typical Chinese meal has several main dishes. All dishes are set on the table at once and everybody takes their selections.
At a meal you will find a couple of meat dishes, chicken, beef or pork, a vegetable, fish or seafood, and a soup.
White rice or noodles are always at the center of the meal, and are the base for all the individual dishes being served. Rice or noodles are served for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. An average Chinese person eats four bowls of rice a day.
Noodles are made by hand from flour, water and salt. Click on the image to watch a movie on making noodles.
Desserts are not common at a meal. The Chinese usually finish with fresh fruit. On some special occasions they will have a sweet like almond custard. Did you know that fortune Cookies are not really Chinese? They are an American invention, and you will not find them in China.
Fruit being sold from the back of a tricycle truck.
A typical place setting includes: a rice bowl chopsticks Chinese porcelain soup spoon smaller sauce dish for a dipping sauce tea cup a plate which is placed under the bowl and serves as a bone/discard plate
Chinese Place Setting What looks the same? What looks different? What do the chopsticks take the place of in our place setting?
Chopsticks http://www.videojug.com/film/how-to-use-chopsticks-5 Click below to view an informational video on how to use chopsticks.
The Market The center of every Chinese town or city is the outdoor market. At the Chinese market you can find food, household items, clothing, and other goods.
Click on the image to view a movie about food markets in china
Today, you have seen that there are many types of Chinese foods, ingredients, flavorings and dishes. You have learned how to make noodles and use chopsticks. You have learned about the markets in China. Turn to your neighbor and discuss three things that you found the most interesting in this power point. Next time you go to a Chinese restaurant look for all the wonderful foods you have just learned about. Zai jian (Good bye) sigh chee-an