Traditional Chinese Food

Over time, various dishes have become an integral part of the everyday Chinese cuisine. Traditional Chinese Food follows five major styles, which characterize five regions in the country - Beijing, Hunan, Sichuan, Fujian and Canton. Guangdong (Cantonese), Szechuan, Huaiyang, Shandong, Hunan, Fujian, Anhui, and Zhejiang Cuisine are the major types of regional cuisine.

The significantly great range of Chinese cuisines originates mostly from the custom of dynastic era rulers throwing feasts with 100 types of cuisines each banquet. Numerous regal kitchen personnel and courtesans took part in the meal making procedures.

Traditional Chinese food is mainly eaten on the New Year. Traditional Chinese cuisine is also founded on opposites, where preserved balances fresh, hot balances cold, and peppery balances mild. In Chinese traditions, people use chopsticks to eat at the dining table.

Traditional Chinese Food: An Overview
There are five major styles of Traditional Chinese Food that can be attributed to the various territories in the country from which they originate and these regions are as follows:


•Beijing and the North
•Hunan
•Sichuan and the West
•Fujian and the East
•Canton and the South


These styles are different from each other because of elements like weather, availability of ingredients, history, geography, standard of living, and cooking methods.

Nevertheless, the Chinese people comply with the religious principle of balance denoted by yin and yang. Yin means cool and yang means hot. This viewpoint motivates the Chinese to get equilibrium in their lives, including the foods they consume. The cooking methods of yin and yang are given below:

Yin:

•Poaching
•Boiling
•Steaming

Yang:

•Roasting
•Deep-frying
•Stir-frying

Yin foods and yang foods can be broadly categorized into the following:

Yin Foods

•Bean Sprouts
•Cabbage
•Carrots
•Cucumber
•Duck
•Tofu
•Watercress
•Water

Yang Foods

•Beef
•Bamboo
•Crab
•Chicken
•Ginger
•Eggs
•Mushrooms
•Glutinous Rice
•Wine
•Sesame Oil
Regional cuisines form a significant part of traditional cuisines in China. The eight principal regional Chinese cuisines are as follows:

•Guangdong (Cantonese) Cuisine
•Szechuan Cuisine
•Huaiyang Cuisine
•Shandong Cuisine
•Hunan Cuisine
•Fujian Cuisine
•Anhui Cuisine
•Zhejiang Cuisine

Examples of Traditional Chinese Food
Jai
Jai is a famous traditional Chinese dish. It mainly comprises of roots of vegetables. Whole fish is eaten and the chicken is served with head, tail and feet.

Nian Gao, Zong Zi, Man Tou, and Jiaozi
Nian Gao is a sweet steamed sticky rice pudding. Zong Zi is sticky rice wrapped in reed leaves. It is prepared to pay tribute to Qu Yuan (340-278 BC.), the famous poet of old age China. Man Tou is steamed wheat bread served with meat dumplings. Jiaozi is also a famous Traditional Food in China. It can be served by steaming or frying.

Chinese fried meatballs
The Chinese fried meatballs are prepared by mincing the meat and mixing it with variety of spices. Soya sauce, ginger and wine are its main ingredients. This preparation is eaten together by the family members to show love and care for the family members. The fish balls are also prepared in the same way by using fish instead of meat.

Cakes and spring rolls
A variety of cakes is also made on special occasions. Nian Gao is a delicious cake made of rice flour. It is similar to pudding. The Fa Gao cake is made from wheat flour. This cake is a symbol of prosperity. Spring rolls are eaten with different varieties of sauce. They are also known as egg rolls. The filling comes in a variety. The Alabone meat is very tasty. It is also a part of the traditional Chinese food. Pomelo salads are prepared during festivals. Imperial Chicken, General Tso's Chicken, and Hunan Beef are examples of traditional Chinese dishes.

Symbolism in Chinese Cuisine
Symbolism forms a significant part of the lives of Chinese people. A range of Chinese cuisines is quite symbolic, particularly during traditional carnivals or other special events.

For Chinese New Year:
•Dried Bean Curd - cheerfulness
•Black moss seaweed - affluence
•Eggs - fecundity
•Chicken - joy and wedding (particularly when served with "dragon foods" like lobster. Family get-together (if served in one piece)
•Fish served in one piece - wealth
•Egg Rolls - affluence
•Noodles - An extensive life
•Lychee nuts - Intimate family bondings
•Chicken - Segment of the representation of the phoenix and dragon. At a Chinese marriage, chicken's feet (on certain occasions denoted as phoenix feet) are frequently served with dragon foods like lobster. New Year is also a popular occasion for serving chicken items, representing an auspicious wedding and the bonding of families (serving the bird in one piece accentuates family harmony).
•Oranges - affluence, fortune
•Peaches - serenity
•Peanuts - an extensive life
•Seeds (watermelon, lotus, etc.) - having a big number of kids
•Pomelo - profusion, richness, having kids
•Tangerines - fortune

For a marriage:

•Eggs - fertility
•Peanut, Zao (Chinese date), sunflower seeds and guiyuan (longan) - having a dignified (valued) son shortly.
Other occasions:

•Red Boiled Egg - for newborn infant
•Snapper's shell or head - greeting

The Chinese make it sure that all the traditional dishes are made and eaten together with the family members.