If characterizing Indian food was hard, Chinese food is impossible to pin down. China has one of the most diverse mixes of cultures and cuisines in the world. The main eight styles of cooking are: Fujian, Cantonese, Anhui, Zhejiang, Szechuan, Shandong and Hunan. In Chinese traditional medicine and culture, the opposites of yin and yang must always be kept in balance. This same balance extends to food. When cooking, the Chinese try to balance different colors, tastes, textures and smells. This focus has paid off and made Chinese cuisine one of the world’s finest.
In a traditional Chinese meal, you can expect to have noodles or rice. Although many American-based Chinese restaurants use fried rice, most China-based Chinese restaurants serve basic steamed rice. With a strong Buddhist history, vegetarian dishes like tofu remain popular. Interestingly, garlic and chilies are considered non-vegetarian in Buddhism because they stimulate the chi. If you go to a Chinese vegetarian restaurant, don’t expect a lot of spices. For non-vegetarian dishes, you can expect Peking duck, thousand year old eggs, squid and a range of meat dishes. Vegetables are always included with dinner, and they are far from your mother’s broccoli. Chinese vegetable dishes are often the most delicious part of the meal.
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