Reading the article title, you might hesitate and think that this will probably be a long read. You probably will not be that interested in a history lecture too, right? But this is about food and we don’t intend to bore you with details you need not know. Instead, we will focus on giving you interesting facts about Chine Cuisine history.
Historians agree that around 300o years ago, China already had a fully developed cuisine. During those years, Chinese cuisine refinement arose in different periods and regions too. Generally speaking, people in this country mainly live on the five common cereals and vegetables and added by a small supply of meat. This agriculture-centered mode of production also contributes to this eating habit.
The Oldest Noodles
In October of 2005, the oldest noodles were discovered at the Lajia site near the upper reaches of the Yellow River in Qinghai. The site has been associated with the Qijia culture. Believed to be over 4,000 years old, the noodles were made from foxtail and broomcorn millet. Archaeologists also deduced that these noodles were from the Neolithic period.
The introduction of agriculture started the Five Grains era which is also a grouping of farmed crops that were all important in ancient China. Sometimes, people regarded the crops themselves as sacred. Other times, people regarded their cultivation as a sacred boon from a mythological or supernatural source. In these centuries, they used a variety grains for cooking their dishes and these included millet, soybeans, wheat, and rice. These grains also often include seeds like hemp and sesame which they principally used for oils and flavoring.
The Tang Dynasty
If there’s one important contribution of the tang dynasty, it was the fascination with exotics and the promotion of health and longevity. These were two of the main factors encouraging diversity in Tang dynasty cuisine. Some of the newly added ingredients for cooking were barley, garlic, turnips, pears, apricots, peaches, pomegranates, jujubes, and rhubarb. The various meats that people consumed in this era were pork, chicken, lamb, sea otter, bear, and even Bactrian camels.
Chinese Cuisine in America
The first Chinese immigrants in San Francisco in the 1800s went into business of providing services for miners as traders, grocers, merchants and restaurant owners. This initial group of migrants stimulated more Chinese emigrants to arrive. During their stay though, they were undoubtedly also hungry for good Chinese cooking that reminded them of their homes. So, these Chinese immigrants started building restaurants for customers and for themselves as well. Chinese-owned eating houses during that time were also known to serve some of the best food in the city hence its popularity. We seem to love the idea still and that’s why we have a lot of Chinese Restaurants even today.
Chinese Food Today
The movement of people and food produce highly diverse culinary melting pots throughout the world. As a result, Chinese food today, like any other cuisine, does not look and taste so similar like that of the past. New flavors and innovations contribute to this already changing diversity too. So, with all of that being said, Chinese Cuisine is definitely a must try. Why? Imagine biting into a piece of history. Imagine tasting a dish that has already been eaten for thousand of years, preserved and refined. Doesn’t that make you appreciate Chinese cuisine more?