Good morning everyone. The topic I was assigned was the history of Chinese cuisine.

While researching this topic, one question that intrigued me was how and why Chinese cuisine has become so popular all over India and the world. From narrow gullies to fancy 5 star restaurants, Chinese food has invaded our lives. Besides the food, the cooking techniques have also become highly popular, especially in Indian cuisine. The steaming of our Idlies and Kadubu, for example, are now well known to be of Chinese origin. The fact that the food is so global and popular is surprising because for almost throughout the twentieth century, china remained behind the proverbial bamboo curtain. This meant that they had little contact with other countries. What then can account for the spread of Chinese food all over the world? I will try to answer this question at the end of the presentation. Later on in my presentation, in relation to this, I will talk about Indian-Chinese food. Besides that topic, I will also talk about the influence of Chinese culture on its food. In any civilization, the culture has great impact on food. In the case of India, for instance, festivals like Pongal connect agricultural production with prescribed seasonal foods. In that chapter, the main focus is on the two great philosophies of china, which are Confucianism and Taoism. Each of these beliefs or religions had their own style of cooking and their own idea of food. Before talking about the former subjects, I will now talk about the staple foods of china, or the history of the staple foods. This chapter will be about the first crop that was farmed, the most common foods people ate and the difference between the staple foods of northern and southern china. PART ONE When people think of Chinese food, they think of rice, and rice was the first grain that was farmed in china. We know this, because there is archaeological evidence of rice farming along the Yangtze River in around 5000 BC. The rice was cooked by boiling it in water or it was also made into wine. Rice was mostly eaten in southern china though. In northern china, which is much colder and drier, rice was not able to grow so the people gathered wild millet and sorghum. By 4,500 BC, people in northern china were farming millet. Because of this difference, most dishes in northern china are millet based and most dishes in southern china are rice based. Another important crop is wheat. Wheat was not native to china. It was brought there from West Asia. People in northern china began to eat wheat in the Shang Dynasty, at around 1500 BC. So these were the main crops of china, rice, millet, sorghum and wheat. These can then be divided into what was eaten in northern and southern china as I have already mentioned.


reached china from the West Indies at around 4000 BC as we ll. Bam boo shoots were also frequently eaten. mustard. cucumbers and calabash. like I mentioned before. regarding cooking methods and table etiquettes are still considered an important part of Chinese food culture. apricots. Sheep and cattle. the Chinese use ginger . vegetables often eaten were soybeans. bite sized pieces before serving the dish. strawberries and jujubes. the Chinese were eating domesticated chicken. which was native to china. noodles. His basic idea behind cooking was that the taste of any dish depends on proper mixing of all its ingredients and condiments. which was during the Sung Dynasty. When it comes to tea. One of the standards set by Confucius that is still followed in authentic Chinese restaurants is that the food must always be cut into small. the food itself and the way it is prepared is very much influenced by the two major philosophies of China that are Confucianism and Taoism.000 years. which originally came from Thailand. where we use lots of spices like pepper. which were not native to china. The beverages that were consumed often were of course tea and wine. the Chinese were adding tofu or bean curd in their food. its cultivation. The earliest evidence of noodles are those that were found in north west china and are dated back to more than 4. Then fruits that were eaten were oranges. His teachings. melons. we even have Maggi Noodles which are nothing like authentic Chinese noodles.Besides the grains. He had also given lots of importance to the colour and texture of the 2|Page . Starting around 1000 AD. garlic and clove. Just like in Indian cuisine. the Chinese were using wheat and rice to make their noodles. Let s start with Confucianism. plums. lemons. By the time the civilization reached the Han Dynasty. By 5500 BC. This ends the chapter about the staple foods and crops in china. People in china began to drink tea at around 3000 BC or maybe even earlier and Millet wine became very popular during the Han Dynasty. This was because Buddhists don t eat meat and these two foods were a rich source of protein. brewing and drinking is central to and ceremonial in Chinese culture. chestnuts. they were eating pork. pears. peaches. He believed that cooking was an art and that it played an important part in the enjoyment of life. Noodles are something that are world famous. aniseed and sesame. has great impact on its food. PART TWO The culture of any civilization. and now I will talk about the impacts of culture on the food as I mentioned in the beginning. These noodles appear to have been made from millet. in around 100 AD. Now. By 4000 or 3000 BC. Now I come to the food china is most famous for. Confucius was the man behind this belief or religion. This is probably because it makes the food easier to eat. In the case of Chinese cuisine.

Its main concerns were the nourishment of the body and prevention of disease. These contributions have resulted in Chinese cuisine embracing use of lots of vegetables. To avoid overeating. The Chinese figured out that Indians love oily and spicy preparations. Confucius gave more priority to vegetables in his food rather than meat. Some south Indian restaurants have also come up with Szechuan Dosa. Milk.Chinese cuisine started when the Chinese migrated to India. There were many different occupations being followed but it was the restaurant owners that made their fame in India. Some famous dishes under this unique cuisine are spring rolls. they thought of cooking methods that would not destroy this value while cooking. butter and cheese are avoided. cream. grains. I m not sure why. so they added oil and Masala to their otherwise low-fat and not very spicy dishes. It is very interesting that Confucius had the opinion that an excellent cook must first make an excellent matchmaker. This ends the chapter on the influence of Chinese culture on its food. Before you knew PART THREE The whole idea of an Indian . The restaurant was a big success so after that. a Chinatown had developed in Calcutta. The foods tend to be flavoured with spices like cumin. called Eau Chew. restaurants weren t the only places serving Indian Chinese food. Indian Chinese had tickled the taste buds of many people. the Chinese have studies plants to find their health and medicinal value. he said to eat only at meal time. then that food should not be eaten. Once they discovered it. It studied the physical and psychological effect of foods and then prepared dishes. the next chapter is about Indian-Chinese food. many more restaurants mushroomed in Calcutta. fried rice. 3|Page . Traditional Chinese food is low . It emerged in around 500 BC. Because of this. If the food was not properly cooked and it does not get the proper colour. Soon. He was very particular about maintaining hygiene while cooking. The main thing that differentiates Indian Chinese from authentic Chinese are the ingredients used. though. Gobi Manchurian and chilli chicken. The first few of them settled in Calcutta and more of them came. Around 85 years ago.calorie and low fat. Two famous ones are Fat Mama and Kim Fa. It was a thriving and buzzing enterprise. Now let s come to Taoism. They offered newer dishes with fancier names like August Moon Rolls and Fiery Dragon Chicken. coriander seeds and turmeric. Taoism shaped Chinese cuisine by emphasizing the need to study the life giving properties of food. many handcarts and highway food stalls were also selling it. By the beginning of the twentieth century. over the centuries. the first Indo-Chinese restaurant was opened in Calcutta. herbs and cooking with little fat. Taoism refers to a variety of philosophical and religious traditions that have influenced Asia for more than two millennia.

The cooking methods remain the same but these make use of ingredients like Garam Masala. The ability of Chinese cuisine to remain the same and yet mix with local traditions and cultures is what has made it so popular all over the world. One of the dishes is Chinese Pulao where the rice is basmati and curd is the side dish along with Chicken Manchurian curry. Chinese food. Ancient civilizations are resilient. garlic and ginger. there is even a Mughlai version of Chinese. which gives it that Chinese taste. like Coco Cola or Burgers strive to remain the same wherever they go. The unique feature about Chinese food seems to be that it can adapt itself to the cuisine and culture of almost every part of the world. corn flour. like the sari are excellent examples of a resilient culture and civilization. like noodles. coriander leaves. But modern civilizations products. Another important ingredient is Ajinomoto. available in Pakistan. 4|Page . lots of chilli. For example. and Indian attire.

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