Those who have seen the Ang Lee film “Eat Drink Man Woman” will not forget the Chinese cuisine, the mere look of which whets one’s appetite. Chinese food enjoys high reputation the world over due to its exquisite taste and charming appearance. Due to the diversity of climates, produce, and the customs of different regions, there are many local specialties in China. In fact the breadth of Chinese cuisine is so vast that even most Chinese only get to enjoy a small piece of the cake. In general, people in North China favor noodles, dumplings, and other staples made from flour, whilst the majority of southerners consume rice almost daily. And despite the difference in methods and styles, people throughout the country prefer to employ the traditional ways of cooking prevalent in their respective regions.
The main characteristics of Chinese cuisine are: First, it employs a wide
selection of ingredients; second, importance is placed on good knife handling skills, and the correct matching of ingredients and tastes. Third, there is abundant variety of different ways to cook; and finally, it has a rich repertoire and blends color, smell, taste and appearance.
Chinese cookery is built on concepts defined by Confucius. The character of Chinese cookery has been shaped by the very character of China itself. In a land chronically overpopulated and fuel-poor, a people concerned with good eating had to use ingredients and develop techniques unknown or ignored elsewhere. In essence, Chinese cookery is quick cookery. To prepare meals using small quantities of flimsy, fast-burning fuel, the Chinese developed the wok, a round-bottomed cooking utensil that circulates heat quickly and evenly while enabling its user to keep its contents in constant motion. With the wok, ancient cook exposes the maximum amount of food surface to heat in the shortest possible time, often simultaneously preparing a sauce in the same wok. Chinese cookery is typified by lightness, freshness, variety, colors, and aromas. Its influence is evident to varying degrees in the cookery of Japan and in areas of Hawaii.