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Chinese cuisine (Traditional Chinese: 中國菜 or 中餐, Simplified Chinese: 中国菜 or 中餐) originated in Chinamarker and has become widespread in many other parts of the world — from Asia to the Americas, Australia, Western Europe and Southern Africa. In recent years, connoisseurs of Chinese cuisine have also sprouted in Eastern Europe and South Asia. American Chinese cuisine and Indian Chinese cuisine are prominent examples of Chinese cuisine that has been adapted to suit local palates.

Regional

Regional cultural differences vary greatly within Chinamarker, giving rise to the different styles of food across the nation. Traditionally there are eight main regional cuisines, or Eight Great Traditions (八大菜系): Anhui, Cantonese, Fujian, Hunan, Jiangsu, Shandong, Sichuan and Zhejiang. Sometimes four of the Eight Great Traditions are given greater emphasis (四大菜系), and are considered to be the dominate culinary heritage of China. They are notably defined along geographical lines: Sichuan (Western China), Cantonese (Southern China), Shandong (Northern China), as well as Huaiyang Cuisine (Eastern China), a major style derived from Jiangsu cuisine and even viewed as the representation of that region's cooking.

In modern times, Beijing cuisine and Shanghai cuisine on occasion are also cited along with the classical eight regional styles as the Ten Great Traditions (十大菜系). There are also featured Chinese Buddhist cuisine and Muslim sub-cuisines within the greater Chinese cuisine, with an emphasis on vegetarian and halal-based diets respectively.

Presentation

In most dishes in Chinese cuisine, food is prepared in bite-sized pieces, ready for direct picking up and eating. In traditional Chinese cultures, chopsticks are used at the table.

Traditional Chinese cuisine is also based on opposites, whereby hot balances cold, pickled balances fresh and spicy balances mild.

Vegetarianism

Vegetarianism is only practiced by a relatively small fraction of the population. Most Chinese vegetarians are Buddhists, following the Buddhist teachings about minimizing suffering. Chinese vegetarian dishes often contain large varieties of vegetables (e.g. Bok Choy, shiitake mushroom, sprouts, corn) and some imitation meat. Such imitation meat is created mostly with soy protein and/or wheat gluten to imitate the texture, taste, and appearance of duck, chicken, or pork. Imitation seafood items, made from other vegetable substances such as konjac, are also available.

Contemporary health trends

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates for 2001–2003, 12% of the population of the People’s Republic of China was undernourished.The number of undernourished people in the country has fallen from 386.6 million in 1969–1971 to 150.0 million in 2001–2003.

Undernourishment is a problem mainly in the central and western part of the country,while "unbalanced nutrition" is made chronic diseases more prevalent.As of 2008, 22.8 percent of the population were overweight and 18.8 percent had high blood pressure.The number of diabetes cases in China is the highest in the world.In 1959, the incidence of high blood pressure was only 5.9 percent.

A typical Chinese peasant before industrialization would have eaten meat rarely and most meals would have consisted of rice accompanied with green vegetables, with protein coming from foods like peanuts and soy products. Fats and sugar were luxuries not eaten on a regular basis by most of the population. With increasing wealth, Chinese diets have become richer over time, consuming more meats, fats, and sugar.

Health advocates put some of the blame on the increased popularity of Western foods, especially fast food, and other culinary products and habits. Many Western, especially American, fast food chains have appeared in China, and are highly successful economically. These include McDonald's, Pizza Hut, and Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC).

An extensive epidemiological study called the China Project is being conducted to observe the relationship of disease patterns to diet, particularly the move from the traditional Chinese diet to one which incorporates more rich Western-style foods. Controversially, Professor T. Colin Campbell, an "outspoken vegan", has implicated the increased consumption of animal protein in particular as having a strong correlation with cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and other diseases that, while common in Western countries, were once considered rare in China. He suggests that even a small increase in the consumption of animal protein can dramatically raise the risk of the aforementioned diseases.

See also



Notes

  1. http://www.visitvineyards.com/food/food-growers-markets/wine-food-travel-articles/matching-chinese-food-with-wine-edward-ragg]
  2. http://www.activistcash.com/biography.cfm/bid/1501


References



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