Traditional Chinese Cuisine


via Wikimedia Commons

Gong Bao Ji Ding, or Kung Pao Chicken

China is currently a mess politically, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have some delicious foods. Many tourists worldwide visit China to get a taste of authentic Chinese food. However, with so much to eat, it is hard for a tourist to figure out what is worth eating during a limited amount of time. Since authentic foods are what is truly sought after, then traditional foods are the way to go. Most traditional foods are celebratory and staple foods or have just existed for a long time.

A perfect example of a staple food is the dumpling. Dumplings are actually called Jiaozi in China. It is typically filled with meat, vegetables, and sometimes seafood in a thin layer of dough. There are also numerous ways to prepare it, depending on what type of flavors someone desires. These methods of preparation include boiling, pan-frying, steaming, deep-frying, and can be served in soup. With all these varieties of fillings and cooking methods, dumplings are often eaten by families for lunch or dinner. Another example of a basic food is kung pao chicken or Gong Bao Ji Ding. It is one of the most, if not the most, well-known chicken dishes from China. It is a stir-fried dish that originates from the Sichuan province, well known for its spicy dishes. While the Westernized version is slightly gloppy, authentic kung pao chicken is fragrant, spicy, and slightly numbing like other Sichuan dishes. Because of its popularity, kung pao chicken can be found in pretty much every restaurant in China.

Aside from staple foods, celebratory foods are also traditional and eaten frequently. Most of these foods are all small dishes that are eaten for Lunar New Year. One of these dishes is spring rolls. Spring rolls are a type of Cantonese dim sum with vegetables and meat wrapped in a thin layer of dough. It is deep-fried until the dough is crispy and golden brown. This small handheld dish is eaten in Eastern China for Lunar New Year during the Spring Festival because spring rolls represent wealth and good fortune. Another popular celebratory food is mooncakes. Mooncakes are round or squared pastries filled with a red bean or lotus seed paste. They are usually consumed during the Mid-Autumn Festival with family members. Since they are so dense and rich, one mooncake is usually cut into pieces to share with a whole family. Mooncakes represent good fortune, prosperity, and togetherness, making it a common tradition to eat them while celebrating big occasions. Mooncakes also have a lot of variety since they can be filled with not just the red bean or lotus paste, but fruits and vegetables, chocolate, meat, seafood, and more. With all of these different varieties of traditional foods, tourists’ taste buds will not be disappointed when they visit China. With sweet, savory, and spicy flavors in China’s celebratory and staple dishes, visitors certainly won’t get tired of this country’s cuisine. And because of the traditional way of eating some food, tourists can even invite families to celebrate special occasions by sharing a happy and hearty meal together.