What you did not know about Chinese gastronomy: 5,000 years of flavor and tradition
The cuisine of China is extremely diverse, finding within it eight great regional cuisines with significant differences between them. The People's Republic of China is the most populous country in the world, with more than 1,300 million inhabitants, and the third largest, only surpassed by Russia and Canada. With such demographic and geographic magnitudes, diversity is a constant in Chinese society. An example is the essential communication channel, the language, counting about three hundred living languages throughout the world's leading economic power. Gastronomy has been developed over centuries of history and quite different from one region to another. For these reasons, Chinese cuisine is so diverse. That is why that adjective is more true in this East Asian country than in any other. That is why their ancient emperors had a good number of rooms in their palaces, divided in turn into small spaces, where they ate all kinds of dishes. That is why it is one of the best-known gastronomies on the planet, although it is not always cooked with fidelity and rigor beyond its borders.
Chinese society throughout the centuries has valued gastronomy so highly. Being part of its culture, its philosophy and the traditional medicine of the country. An indispensable element in the daily life of the Chinese beyond the natural and basic need to nourish themselves. Since the beginning of time there is clear evidence of the domestication of crops and animals. One of the first was millet, in the north, as well as rice, a very important part of their diet. In addition to animals such as the pig, around 8000 a. C., or dogs. Around this progress related to cooking, utensils and containers were also developed to help with eating. Existing in the province of Hunan one of the oldest potteries in the entire planet.
Gradually, over the centuries, came wheat and pasta production. The meats that were consumed went beyond the pig or the dog, reaching also that of the cow, which was domesticated. Vegetables such as Chinese cabbage were consumed, different types of fat were used to cook and enhance flavors, and gastronomy gradually increased its level until it reached a transcendent importance. More than five thousand years of history go a long way. In Confucian times it was a fact that gastronomy had become a high art. During the last stages of the Zhou dynasty, oil and soybeans were introduced, the cultivation areas were increased, new culinary techniques began to be practiced and a courtly refinement developed in which food was part of the rituals, beginning to be used also in a preponderant way the typical Chinese chopsticks. We are talking about the 1st century BC. C., already reaching the Qin dynasty with the unification of the country in 221 a. After the warring kingdoms.
Chinese food today
Given the extension of the gastronomy of the People's Republic of China, its wide culinary repertoire is reduced to eight great traditional cuisines. These are the best known and most influential both in the country itself and outside of it, which are practiced to a great extent in Chinese restaurants that truly follow the precepts of this millenary cuisine, without strange mixtures, or dishes that are not actually consumed. not at all in China.
In the first place we talk about the cuisine of Sichuan, one of the twenty-two provinces that the country has and the fourth most populated, characterized by being especially spicy, being very tasty and having numerous spicy dishes to its credit. Hence, chili peppers are frequent in their different preparations. Dishes like the hot pot, with all kinds of meats and vegetables, or the kung pao chicken, marinated meat from that bird, made in the wok with various seasonings, some of them spicy, shine. In Shandong cuisine, fresh, light and very low-fat dishes abound, very healthy in general, in which they are used from horticultural products to tender meats, fish and seafood. We have dishes such as sautéed pork kidney, braised pork feet or sweet and sour carp.