Do you love Chinese food? If you do, you are not alone-it is one
of the most popular ethnic cuisine choices out there. But, while fortune cookies
are delicious and fun, they are not real Chinese food. What is traditional
Chinese cuisines? It is as varied as the country is big. Every region has its own
specialty dishes that make it unique and different from the others. However,
there are some basic “rules” for what makes
Chinese food traditional.
Starch is the main dish in a traditional Chinese food meal-unlike in the United States and many other Western countries where meat is the main dish. Although many Chinese in southern China eat rice as part of their daily diet, in the northern parts of the country this is not the case. It is not uncommon for Chinese food to have wheat flour noodles or a steamed bun as the main component of the meal. Side dishes can be meat (beef, pork, or chicken), fish, cooked vegetables or soup. Sometimes soup or rice is reserved to the end of the meal as kind of filler.
When you sit down to a meal of traditional Chinese food, you would be given chopsticks and an individual bowl of noodles or rice. The rest of the food dishes would be placed in the center of the table and shared. You would not serve yourself a portion and put it on your own plate-you just eat right off the plate with your chopsticks. This is one reason that many times, the food is served in small pieces-so it is easy to pick up off of the plate with the chopsticks. Tea is offered with the meal as well-cold drinks are not traditional.
Dessert is usually a very simple affair-it could be plain fresh fruit, or fruit with a sugared glaze. Sometimes they also serve a simple rice pudding-but none of the traditional desserts are rich or extravagant like the ones we find in some other types of cuisine.
Dishes from the Sichuan (Szechwan) region are usually spicy and Mandarin are more common. Take a culinary trip to China.
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