Before we dive into this journey of exploring China through the angle of culinary world, it is also good to have a little background knowledge of the country and the people.
China, officially the People’s Republic of China (PRC), is a sovereign state located in East Asia. It is the world’s most populous country, with a population of over 1.35 billion.
The PRC is a single-party state governed by the Communist Party, with its seat of government in the capital city of Beijing. It exercises jurisdiction over 22 provinces, five autonomous regions, four direct-controlled municipalities (Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, and Chongqing), and two mostly self-governing special administrative regions (Hong Kong and Macau).
The PRC also claims Taiwan – which is controlled by the Republic of China (ROC), a separate political entity – as its 23rd province, a claim controversial due to the complex political status of Taiwan and the unresolved Chinese Civil War.
Being food lovers at heart where indulgence of food is seen as one of the basic pleasures in life, eating seems to be a favourite and joyous leisure activity wherever they are and no matter what education background they are raised. Why is it so? I have no concrete idea as to why it is so.
Another notable observation about the Chinese is that they are found in many parts of the world; They seem to be hardy people who can survive in many different environments.
Cultural differences: China-Chinese vs Overseas-Chinese
However lately, there are many negative reports relating to the country, China that will make one cringe, just thinking about some of the negative lifestyle. I do not why this is happening. Meanwhile the fate of the overseas Chinese may be different in varying degrees as many had underwent a period of the assimilation process in where they had settled in.
It’s not surprising to find a high percentage of Chinese generations outside of China, view the land China as an undiscovered foreign land with a similar perception of foreigners of other country origin.
For Chinese who grew up in different parts of the world, many of the native cultures & practices may have been forgotten or neglected as their lifestyle evolved through time and life’s circumstances & situation.
The Link between Chinese and Eating
To understand why they just love eating, one might have to revisit the history of China to find the answer to this behaviour.
The Chinese are no superior beings as they are but just human beings like everyone else. My best guess is that if you look at the Chinese history, they are people whose lives are filled with sorrow and hardship due to many factors. This makes them realize the fate of this world is all about surviving, at the end of the day; therefore they rather channel their focus to learn, adapt and improvise for a higher chance of survival.
“If one cannot stand on their own feet fast enough, one will be doomed just like in the wild. In order to survive, one cannot carry too many things but only the essentials to go through the hot, rainy and unpredictable days. Every moment counts and enjoy any opportunity that comes.”, these are probably their rationale that leads to “why eating is seen as one of the basic pleasures of life”.
The Culinary Journey of China
Below are videos exploring the culinary world of China with a total 4 solid hours. It can be quite chunky to digest. You may split the viewing session accordingly.
As you can see, the market for appreciation of food in China is vast. The diversity in China’s culture, religion, people and weather have greatly influence the locals’ preferences and choices of food.
Generally Chinese cooking emphasizes very much on mastering the art of cooking techniques. It is seen as the determining factor that will affect the outcome of an intended dish. Improvisation in cooking methods to adapt in a variety living environment is also another factor clearly seen throughout these videos.
These adventures are just scratching the surface of China and the writing of this article is merely a personal viewpoint about the Chinese race.
Now that you have a sneak peak of China and the people, what is your perception of the country’s culinary world?