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Chinese Food Guide

Chinese Food

With origins dating back millennia, the history of Chinese food is certainly long and incredibly delicious.

Chinese cuisine is said to have originated in the central part of China, and is one of just three cuisines (French and Turkish are the other two) that profoundly influenced countries throughout East Asia. Studies of Chinese food history point to literature that indicate China was cooking barbecued meat, grilled fish, and other ‘common’ foods over 5,000 years ago.

There are many things which distinguish Chinese food: ethnic influences, regional diversity, geographic location, availability of ingredients. However, there are some general principles.

As Chinese food evolved through history, influenced greatly by natural disasters and poor harvest, the cuisine was crafted around the five flavors of Yiyin - sweet, sour, bitter, pungent, and salty - more on this below. Dishes tend to be prepared following one or a number of preparation methods. A Chinese cook - whether domestic or commercial - will know how to braise, steam, stir-fry, deep-fry, boil, or roast. Fermentation is also a feature of Chinese food, making its way into sauces, side dishes, and condiments. And of course, there is the ubiquitous presence of steamed rice at virtually every meal.

Yes, there is more to Chinese food than these fews facts, so let’s do some historical food exploration.

Popular Chinese Cuisines & Foods

For most of foreign travelers, Chinese cuisines are equating to Sichuan Hot Pot, Peking Roast Duck, Kung Pao Chicken, Sweet and Sour Pork… These are all tasteful and popular dishes in China, however, the real Chinese cuisines are far more beyond that.

With vast territory and abundant resources, Chinese people have developed diverse cuisines based on different regions, weathers and raw materials. Generally, Chinese cuisines can be divided by regions, and there are over a dozen of regional cuisines in China, and the most popular ones are called Eight Famous Cuisines. Except regional cuisines, ethnic foods, such as Tibet food and food in Minority areas, have their own unique flavors and features. Local snacks, though not formal meals, win its position among all kinds of people. Chengdu and Xi'an are famous for their snacks, and some people are travel to these cities just to taste the local snacks!

Food guide

China uses the ‘Food Guide Pagoda’, which embodies the core recommendations of the guidelines. It includes 5 levels, representing the recommended proportion of the different food groups in the diet. Recommendations to drink plenty of water and to do physical activity are also included in the food guide.

In addition, two auxiliary graphics have been developed for better understanding and practical use: the 'Balanced diet abacus' and the 'Balanced meal plate'.

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