China Cuisine: The flavour of China which lies at the heart of a China experience

Being the one thing we all have in common; cuisine can say a lot about an area and its natural inclination for preferences and attitudes. It seems to give an instant ‘in’ into how a culture thinks and operates with its upmost honesty; from the elaborate style of celebration to the mundanity of the day to day. For this reason, cuisine is one of our most important elements of in truly making the most of the contrasting experience of going into China, and how something so fundamental as eating can open the doors to a completely different way of thinking. One that surprisingly tastes just as good or perhaps even better.

This article will look at some of the key dishes across China, how they have developed, and what they say about the nation.

Peking Duck Dinner

We of course have to begin with the famous Peking Duck dinner. Peaking, being the older English name given to Beijing originating with French missionaries over 400 year ago, and having stuck around ever since as an icon of Oriental cuisine. The dish is renowned to have been bought in with Marco Polo and other Westerners who popularised roasting style cooking with many part of Asia. However, many believe that the tradition stretches back further still, and was brought to Beijing when it became the capital of the country during the Northern and Southern Dynasties (420 – 589). Wherever it has begun, the dish is a highlight of Beijing and is regularly said by locals to be included in the two ‘must sees’; The Wall, and this tasty way of preparing duck.

Street Market Food

 

China’s street food is notoriously diverse. Its not uncommon for to be surprised with images of quail eggs (eaten by the author!), scorpions on sticks (not dared to be eaten!), and beyond. For those that dare to try them, they offer the best of the exciting side of local food and the taste of what local’s favour. They also range into the simply and unavoidably delicious; mutton stew, fruit pies, and roasted fish. They seem to comment both on the exotic diversity and range of what is available, as well as the downright bottom line of taste and getting that itch scratched at lunchtime.

Dumpling Dinner

The dumpling dinner is unavoidable throughout China, and that’s certainly not a bad thing. Wherever you go you will find this famous delicacy as part of either a quick snack to a celebratory meal for momentous occasions such as on the Chinese New Year. The food is thought to have gained its legendary status back almost 2000 years ago when a doctor in training was said to have invented the dish in order to save the starting members of his township on return from his studies. Not only did those around him get well fed by the time New Year’s came around by feeding them the ear shaped snack, but also their ears had healed from the frostbite which had plagued them all winter. The food clings onto the spirit of remembrance, fellowship and community which is so hard to miss throughout China.

So be sure to explore on and look into the dishes which make China famous, and what that says about itself and the way it likes to be thought of. But also be sure to wonder off the beaten track and explore some of the more experimental dishes which are lightyears from anything we may celebrate as a staple in many other parts of the world.

Stay tuned for part four where we will look out for the final element of our all-important China line-up: Evening Activities.