now holds a popular place among the entire population of the world. You
can find a Chinese restaurant in every major city and in many smaller
areas of the world as well. Why is Chinese food so popular? Is Chinese
food healthy? What is the history of Chinese food?
The History of Chinese Food
The history of Chinese food is an
interesting one. Unlike many cultures the Chinese believe that the
preparation of food is an art and not simply a craft. The art of cooking
Chinese food can include dishes and food preparation techniques which
are difficult to develop and may require the expertise of a chef with
lots of experience. One such
technique is noodle pulling (scroll down to the bottom of the page to
learn more about this technique). Noodle pulling requires skill and lots
of practice and results in a delicious noodle dish. This article will
refer to noodle pulling later on, but for now, lets go back to the
history of Chinese food.
Chinese food and the way it is
prepared is very much influenced by the two major philosophies, which
influence the entire Chinese culture. These dominant philosophies are
Confucianism and Taoism. Both have these philosophies have influenced
the way that the Chinese people cook and the way that they enjoy their
Confucianism and Chinese Cuisine
Confucius was the man behind the
Confucianism beliefs. Among many other standards Confucius established
standards for proper table etiquette and for the appearance and taste of
Chinese food. One of the standards set by Confucius (you might have
noticed this at an authentic Chinese restaurant) is that food must be
cut into small bite size pieces before serving the dish. This is a
custom that is definitely unique to the Chinese culture.
Knives at the dinner table are
also considered to be a sign of very poor taste by those who embrace
Confucianism beliefs. The standards of quality and taste that Confucius
recommended required the perfect blend of ingredients, herbs and
condiments--a blend which would result in the perfect combination of
flavor. Confucius also emphasized the importance of the texture and
color of a dish, and taught that food must be prepared and eaten with
harmony. Interestingly enough, Confucius was also of the opinion that an
excellent cook must first make an excellent matchmaker.
Taoism and Chinese Cuisine
Those who follow the Taoism
beliefs focus on the health benefits of particular foods vs. the
presentation of the same. Taoists search for foods that will increase
their health and longevity. They search for foods that have healing
powers. Many times these benefits were often referred to as life giving
powers. For instance, the Chinese found that ginger, which can be
considered to be a garnish or a condiment was found to be a remedy for
upset stomachs or a remedy for colds.
Is Chinese Food Healthy?
Chinese food, when authentic is
probably the healthiest food in the world. Some restaurants, which are
not authentic, prepare their menu with highly saturated fats or with
meats that contain unhealthy amounts of animal fat. These Chinese
restaurants are not recommended and they are both neither authentic nor
Good Chinese food however, is
prepared and cooked with poly-unsaturated oils. Authentic Chinese food
does not require the use of milk-fat ingredients such as cream, butter
or cheese. Meat is used, but not in abundance, which makes it easy for
those who love authentic Chinese food to avoid high levels of animal
fat. Many believe that authentic Chinese food is really the ideal diet.
Chinese Restaurants in Every Part
of the Nation
Whether it is in a Tennessee
Chinese Restaurant to a New York Chinese restaurant you are going to
find culinary dishes that are both healthy and delicious. Savor the
flavor with Chinese food!