To understand the art of eating you must know the philosophy of food. food must be fresh, have flavor and possess proper texture. If the food itself is bad, even the greatest chef will not be able to cook a flavor into it. As in other things in life, we must avoid excesses in food. We should not aim at eating too much if we want to eat for good health. We should also be sparing in our tastes and eat only when hungry, and not just eat for the sake of eating. The same applies to drinking. If we eat too much at a time, it hurts our lungs, and if we eat too little we become hungry and that hurts our vital energy. A Chinese cookery book in full of these rules.
Anyone who claims to have written a Chinese cookery book without these rules has not written a cookery book. Also, anyone who aims at extraordinary or peculiar dishes just to astonish himself or his guests may end up with extraordinary diseases. Simple food properly cooked will ensure good eating and good health. Everything in cooking must match and there is an order in eating food of different flavors. Clear mush go with clear, thick with thick and soft with soft. Usually, we should eat food of a salty flavor first and then food of a more negative flavor. Heavy should precede the light and dry precedes gravy. We must have noticed that in a Chinese dinner, soup is never served first as it is in the west. Salty flavor is relieved by bitter or hot tasty food. Too much wine dulls the stomach, which can only be aroused to vigor again by sweet or sour food. Mustard is for a warm day and pepper for a cool day. For a formal dinner, the four heroes of the dining table are the chicken, duck, fish and pig. Without these four a formal dinner loses its elegance and formality.
The absorption of good points from other cultures has enriched a Chinese dinner today. Tenderloin steak, cucumbers, lettuce, and tomatoes have kept good company in dinners which the Chinese quite unashamedly call Chinese. Sometimes a Chinese dinner is topped off with Sunkist oranges, ice-cream and coffee instead of the traditional Chinese tea!
The handling of rice with chopsticks is also known to present problems, unless the rice has been dampened by juices from Meat Dishes and is therefore more manageable. The socially-acceptable method for eating rice is to bring one's bowl close to one's mouth and quickly scoop the rice into it with one's chopsticks; this is difficult for the foreigner and so simply lifting portions of rice to the mouth from the bowl held in the other hand is perfectly acceptable. Do not attempt to eat rice from a bowl sitting on the table - no one else will!
Top 5 Chinese dishes
The Chinese practically invented the noodles. Marco Polo only brought them to Europe in the 13th century that’s why Italy also has them in their recipes. For the Chinese, longer noodles mean longer life. This is the reason why in most Chinese restaurants, the cooks don’t cut the noodles, rather, they accommodate the length when cooking. Traditional Chinese way of making noodles is considered an art. It takes strength and expertise in pulling and whirling the dough in the air to stretch it. However, there are also available machines nowadays that use other techniques to make noodles.
In every Chinese food recipe, noodles are either ‘mien’ (egg noodles) or bijon (rice noodles). They are also served in three ways: in clear soup with meat and vegetables, with thickened sauce poured over the noodles and meat, and with meat but without sauce.
Aside from noodles, rice is one of the staples in Chinese food. Considered as a healthy food, rice is the most basic food not only in China, but the whole of Asia. The Chinese call it ‘fan’. Usually, rice is served in bowls with meat and vegetables as toppings.
Sweet and Sour Pork with Pineapple
Sweet and Sour Pork with Pineapple is a derivation from sweet and sour pork. It is one of the most popular Chinese dishes with foreigners, widely seen on menus around the world. Pineapple is used in this dish as an additional ingredient which complements the pork and ensures it’s not too oily.
A famous duck dish from Beijing, enjoying world fame, and considered as one of China’s national dishes. Peking duck is savored for its thin and crispy skin. The Sliced Peking duck is often eaten with pancakes, sweet bean sauce, or soy with mashed garlic.
"Chow mein" is the Cantonese pronunciation of the Chinese characters above, which means stir-fried noodles. Generally speaking, this stir-fried dish consists of noodles, meat (usually chicken, beef, shrimp, or pork), onions and celery. For making chow mein, the noodles need to be cooked in boiling water for a while. After they becoming cool, then move to the step of stir-frying.