More than just noodles and rice: three types of Chinese cuisine we bet you didn’t know about

Posted on Jul 14, 2016 by in Chinese Culture, Concerning China

It is difficult to stress to people who haven’t visited just how big China really is. Not only in square miles, but also in population. It’s vastness and the amazing diversity of people living there has resulted over the course of thousands of years of culture in a delightful variety of vastly different cuisines.

In fact, they are so different from one another that to say, “I want to have Chinese food” has as much meaning as saying “I want to meet Chinese girls.” There is no way to fairly boil them down to one type.

Along with the stereotype of the dutiful Chinese bride meekly toiling away in the kitchen, the notion that there is one thing we can call “Chinese cuisine” has got to go. If you visit China, date single Chinese women, and go out for dinner, you will be amazed by the variety of not only Chinese singles you encounter, but also the variety of foods you can try.

chinese vegetarian food

Chinese vegetarian food

Here then are a few types of Chinese cuisine that are not as well known, but which are well worth taking a chance on.

  • Chinese vegetarian food – Here’s another one of those rather ugly stereotypes that needs to get tossed out, that Chinese people are ravenous to consume any and every type of meat you can imagine. It is true that traditional Chinese cooking incorporates every imaginable part of any animal. But as China has opened up in terms of information and connecting its people to the world, so to has demand there for healthier choices. And there is a tremendous demand for healthy, delicious vegetarian foods, often Chinese people who are Buddhists and/or yoga enthusiasts.
  • Halal food – on the other end of the spectrum, there are widely available halal food choices due to a large Muslim population there. Especially in the west of China, where many people from the middle east have emigrated over the millennia, you can find tons of Muslim-run restaurants and shops.
  • Medicinal and religious foods – This is a fascinating and widespread topic that could and has had many books written about it. But in brief ancient Chinese texts outline a way of eating that is based on balance between one’s yin and yang, using medicinal herbs and a variety of heat and flavors. Eating foods that aren’t processed, in season, and doing so quietly and thoughtfully are cornerstones of the practice.

But whatever you do, while you’re traveling in China, make sure you step out of your comfort zone and try as many things as possible. One great way to do this is to meet a Chinese woman or man who can show you the ropes. The locals are often eager to show off their regions’ special flavors!

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