China: Food                                                                    

Check out what the Chinese eat and how it has changed from 1961-2011 by finding the "pie" chart for China on the right side!

Chinese cuisine is world-renowned. In China of old, chefs often led important but precarious lives. They could be killed if a dish was not good or if meals became too repetitive.  Meals sometimes lasted for three days and special ingredients were imported from areas that were recognized for producing the best of a particular food item.


The scarcity of food encouraged the development of many recipes with unique ingredients. Dogs, cats and rats have all been used in cooking. Even bird’s nests made of sea moss are consumed. The most desired nests are those that have not yet been soiled; the others are carefully washed and cleaned before consumption. Fried lilies are considered a delicacy.

Often a meal will begin with spare ribs, egg rolls and other finger foods. The more elaborate dishes often follow the more simple ones. Beer, wine or tea may be served during a meal. Tea is almost always served at the end of the meal.

Low round tables are usually used and for serving the food. Many bowls of various sizes are used, all filled with different foods or sauces. Soy sauce is used to accompany most foods.