China (now the People’s Republic of China), East Asia region, population 1.36 billion. human. The climate varies from subtropical (heat and humidity) to sharply continental (frost and wind), the terrain-from high mountains to vast plains, there are deserts and a long coast. The country is home to 56 nations, each of which has brought the peculiarities of its cuisine to the national “cookbook”, if there is one. In a nutshell, the main thing in Chinese cuisine is its diversity. Cooking on the territory of “Han” (the self-name of 93% of the population) is as diverse and changeable as the mood of a high school student.
1) Most of Asia is too humid for salt to be a popular preservative (it retains moisture in the body and causes thirst). And instead of salt, they use sugar. That’s why dried squid is sweet. Pickled cucumbers are sweet. Seaweed salad – sweet. Dried fish is sweet. And even the crab-flavored chips are sweet.
2) Asia is historically densely populated, it is hot, everything deteriorates very quickly, and there were no refrigerators there some 100 years ago. Food poisoning is not uncommon. Therefore, in absolutely immoderate quantities, spicy spices are put in the food: they strengthen the stomach, boost the appetite and improve digestion by stimulating the pancreas.
3) Overpopulation, regular wars, the famous Asian prudence-all this has made the inhabitants completely squeamish from a European point of view. In China, almost everything is eaten: crickets, cockroaches, grasshoppers, snakes, lizards, bats, mealworms.
4) Chefs in China, with all of the above, are historically a very respected profession. At the level of important officials, monks and philosophers. Often it is a matter of a lifetime, or even a dynasty.
5) The basis of the national cuisine is rice, it has been grown on this territory for 10 thousand years. Each dynasty improved the cultivation technology and increased the number of fields. This is how the fascinating terraces of the water fields on the hillsides appeared. China now sells 60% of the world’s rice.
6) In ancient times, the hierarchy of power differed even in cooking. The emperor, for example, was allowed to eat beef, pork and mutton, but the courtiers – only mutton. For most Chinese (and at all times they were peasants), meat was still a luxury. If you know how to cook dishes with meat and vegetables in a way that even a Chinese emperor would like, rather send your recipe to the culinary contest “Housewives vs. Cooks”. Perhaps useful prizes and fame will go to you.
7) Not only green tea is brewed several times. Ingredients for broths (and there is a great variety of soups in China, and products are often put in the broth only before serving) can be cooked a second time, so it turns out a “second broth” with a weaker taste and aroma.
8) Drinking milk is not popular in China, and many Asians are lactose intolerant. This is a historical tradition, due to the unwillingness of the Tang Dynasty to resemble “barbarian cattle breeders”.