China boasts a largely diversified cuisine and a historical cooking culture. The diverse and vast regions of China are the prime reason for its varied and rich cuisine. The evidences available in the history reveal that the Chinese prepare and appreciate the culinary arts since several thousand years. Over so many years Chinese cuisine has undergone whole lot of changes because of change in preferences of the people, climatic changes or change in food fashions. As the globalization progressed, the cuisines or other parts of the world also affected the Chinese food and cooking techniques. However still China owns one of the richest and assorted cuisines a nation can have. The Chinese cuisines can be categorized in different types namely, Cantonese, Hunan, Anhui, Fujian, Jiangsu, Sichuan, Shandong and Zhejiang (Travel China Guide, 1998). The most prominent staple food of the Chinese population consists of noodles, rice, vegetables prepared with various seasonings and sauces.
Typical Chinese Meals
A Chinese meal is generally made of two major elements. First element would be a starch or carbohydrate called zhǔshí or the main food. It is generally the staple food such as noodles, rice, mantaou or steamed buns etc. The second element of the Chinese meal is called cài or vegetable. The second element consists of mainly preparation of fish, vegetables, meat, etc. This concept is in contrast with the elements of meals in the Western world, which gives animal protein main preference.
In the Northern China, wheat and products made of it like steamed bun, noodles etc. are more popular. While in Southern China rice enjoys the position of dominance. Though it is globally renowned that rice is staple food of china, however sometimes rice is not prepared at very formal events and provided only when everything else is over. In such cases rice serves as a dish to mark the end of meal. Likewise, unlike the Western countries where soup is served as a starting course, in China it is given at last of the meal.