Different countries have their own cuisines and customs at the dinner table that are unlike any other. Chinese cuisine is probably the most popular one in the world and has been replicated in thousands of ways by every region it has touched. However, the authentic Chinese food, customs and eating habits are entirely different and in this article, we have listed out a few facts about the original Chinese food and eating in China.
1: THE CHINESE EAT ALMOST EVERYTHING!
The first thing you need to know before getting a meal in China is that the Chinese eat almost everything, and they are not ashamed of it in any way. Dogs, Insects, scorpions, rats, snakes and more have all found a place in the Chinese palate and can often make a foreigner squeamish by just looking at it. However, everything’s easier if you go to China with an open mind and following the idea of not knocking it till you try it.
2: THE CHINESE USE CHOPSTICKS:
While a good part of the world uses spoons, knives, forks or their own hands to eat a meal, the Chinese however, use chopsticks. And easy as it looks, chopsticks are in fact pretty tricky to use and needs practice. Further, there are also some chopstick taboos that you need to be aware of before using the same to eat a meal in China.
3: THE NORTHERN AND SOUTHERN CUISINES DIFFER IN CHINA:
There is a food divide between the Northern and Southern parts of China. The colder, drier North prefers wheat and thus, wheat noodles, dumplings, steamed buns etc. are their staple diet as opposed to the South that prefers rice bowls or rice noodles with every meal and rarely eats any wheat.
4: FACTS ABOUT CHINESE RESTAURANTS:
-Chinese restaurants can often be loud and crowded, although this has considerably reduced post smoking bans.
– There are usually round tables that can seat 4. There may be a Lazy Susan in tempered glass in the middle of the table that allows everyone easy access to all the dishes around them.
-There is rarely salt and pepper shakers on the table and these are usually replaced by chilly or soy sauce.
-Chinese restaurants don’t usually expect tips for it is covered in the service fee.
5: HUGE VARIETY OF VEGETABLES:
No matter what meal you venture out to eat In China there is almost always an abundance of vegetables accompanying it. The Chinese have a huge variety of vegetables often not even heard of in other parts of the world like pomelos, tree fungi, bitter cucumber etc. and they eat twice as many vegetables than the West.
6: TABLE MANNERS:
-At the table, one must only reach for food from a dish or platter that is placed at the immediate side. Taking food from a plate placed in front of someone else is considered rude and looked down upon.
-If a Chinese friend places food on your plate it does not mean they don’t want it or because they think you can’t help yourself. It shows a sign of friendliness and closeness in China.
These are six facts that will be very helpful if you should plan a visit to China, for the Chinese are a gentle and disciplined group that are very proud when it comes to their cuisine, culture and eating etiquette. They are also extremely hospitable and passionate about food, so expect to be made very welcome, and treated to huge platters of different and exquisite food.