15 Interesting Chinese Food Facts You May Not Know

Chinese food has become one of the most popular food in the world. A large amount of Chinese restaurants worldwide have proven that. But do you really know Chinese food? Here are 15 engaging Chinese food facts that you may not know.

1. Chinese Staple Food: Noodle Vs. Rice

Northern people like to eat noodles and regard it as the main food, because the dry northern climate is suitable for the growth of wheat. There are all kinds of noodles in the north such as Hand-pulled Noodles, Minced Noodles, and Noodles with Soybean Paste. Southerners are more likely to eat rice as their staple food. In the south, the climate is hot and rainy, and paddy fields are the main cultivated land, so rice is abundant. Southerners also eat noodles, but most of them are rice noodles. Nowadays, generally both noodles and rice are offered in the restaurants in China.

 Read More:
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2. The Healthiest Food Around the World

This is probably the most attracting Chinese food fact. Chinese like fresh ingredients and always try to achieve a balanced portion of vegetables and meat, to provide all nutrition the body needs. Some healthy cooking methods also have been invented, such as steaming and boiling, which destroys the nutrition in the ingredients to the least extent. Some Chinese herbal medicine is adopted to make dishes with medicinal functions, such as jujube and ginseng.

 Read more: Ranking List of Top 10 Healthy Chinese Food 

3. A Wide Usage of Ingredients

Chinese are good at utilizing what the nature gives them. Poultry, birds, animals, seafood, aquatic products, and various kinds of vegetables and fruits are all the ingredients for Chinese food. People in Guangdong and Yunnan even cook snakes and insects!

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4. A Rich Variety of Vegetables

There are a plenty kinds of vegetables in China, including the plants’ leaves, flowers, roots, branches, and seeds. Many of them you may have never seen or heard of, such as bitter melon, bamboo shoots, and fungi.   

5. Various Cuisines

A number of cuisines have been formed in China thanks to the differences of climate, geography, products and dietary customs. The most famous and influential 8 Chinese Cuisines are Shandong Cuisine, Sichuan CuisineCantonese Cuisine, Jiangsu Cuisine, Fujian Cuisine, Zhejiang Cuisine, Hunan Cuisine and Anhui Cuisine. Other cuisines like Beijing cuisine, northeast cuisine, and Uygur cuisine are also worthy to taste.

6. Rich Flavors

One of the Chinese food facts is that it is of multiple flavors, among which sour, spicy, bitter, sweet and salty are the most common. Generally, the northern food is salty, the southern sweet, and the southwestern sour and spicy. No matter which flavor you like, you can always find your fond Chinese food.

7. Crazy Chili Peppers Lovers – Sichuan, Hunan and Guizhou People

People in Sichuan, Hunan and Guizhou are crazy enthusiasts of chili peppers which can be seen on their table almost every day. If you are going to visit these places, be prepared to challenge your mouth!

8. Chopsticks - The Magic Eating Tool for Chinese

Traditionally, Chinese eat with chopsticks. For this reason, most dishes are served at bite-size, which are easy to be picked by chopsticks.

9. Eating around the Table

In China, people, usually 10 sit around a round table to share the food together instead of eating their own like in the west. There is usually a rotatable glass on the table and people rotate it to get what they want directly with their chopsticks. If someone refills your bowl with his/her chopsticks, they are try to show friendliness and enthusiasm. If you don’t feel very well about this dinning custom in China, ask for public chopsticks or spoons.

10. The Habit of Chatting Loudly while Eating

Chinese prefer to chat while eating. They use the dining time to communicate with each other about their life, work, study, etc. In the west, people may make an appointment for a cup of coffee to talk about something, while in China, it is always a meal. And at the dining table, they are not used to control their voices and just chat as usual or even more loudly.

11. Delicate Decoration

In addition to fragrance and taste, Chinese emphasizes the appearance of the dishes. They believe beautiful appearances can promote the appetite. After being cooked, the dishes are usually set on various plates, shaped finely and decorated creatively.  

12. Confusing Dishes Names

The names of some dishes may have nothing to do with their ingredients or cooking methods, which is a strange Chinese food fact for foreigners. They are for auspicious purposes or named after a moving story or based on their appearance. For example, the Chilli Fish Head is also called “hong yun dang tou” which means good luck; Vermicelli with Spicy Minced Pork is known as “ants climbing the tree” in China for it just looks like that; Sliced Beef and Ox Organs in Chili Sauce is named so because it is invented by a couple.

13. Overseas Chinese Food - Localized

One of the most important Chinese food facts you need to know is that Chinese food in the foreign countries has been adapted to local flavors. General Tso's Chicken and Stewed Chicken with Orange Sauce, very popular in America, are not traditional Chinese dishes. Even many Chinese may not know about that. The authentic representative Chinese dishes include Peking Roast Duck, Kung Pao Chicken, Squirrel-Shaped Mandarin Fish, and fried rice.

 Read More: Top 10 Chinese Dishes You Must Try

14. Great Qualities of Snacks

Snacks in China may be made of seeds, meat, fruits and vegetables, etc. They are also cooked in various ways and have various flavors. Almost every city has a snack street, where is the great place to enjoy them, like Huguosi snack street in Beijing, Old City Temple snack street in Shanghai and Muslim Quarter in Xi’an.

 Read More:
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15. Liking Eating Meat with Bones and Shells

There are several reasons to explain this Chinese food fact. Chinese people think that meat with bones, such as meat near spareribs, are more delicious than other parts. And, Chinese believe that contents of the bones are more nutritious, sometimes they cut the bones apart so that the marrow inside can be eaten. Eating meat with bones is a delicious process for Chinese people. In addition, Chinese people don't like wasting the ingredients, so many times, they cook the fish, shrimp and crab wholly; this is also for the purpose of good looking when served.
- Last updated on Dec. 02, 2019 -
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