Why do the Chinese like to eat?

China's staple food, what do the Chinese eat

When you think of Chinese food, you immediately think of it rice a. But China is a huge country and different regions of China have different staple foods.

South China - rice


In southern China, rice is undoubtedly the most important daily staple food. China's rice chamber can be found in the south of the country. Rice is grown as a useful and cultivated plant in fields that are mostly flooded with water during the growing season.

Usually the rice is cooked and eaten with vegetables, meat or other dishes. The rice can be prepared in many different ways:


1. Rice cake

During the New Year celebrations, New Year cakes and sponge cakes are made from the flour of the glutinous rice. These are called "Nian Gao", in Chinese a homophony to "gao" which means "high". The Chinese eat the cakes in the hope of a good harvest and better status in the New Year.

The cakes and the common New Year's (evening) meal symbolize people's wishes for a better future.

2. Rice dumplings

For the Lantern Festival, on the first full moon in the new year, people in China eat rice dumplings. They are called Yuanxiao in the north and Tangyuan in the south. “Yuan” means satisfied in Chinese - you hope everything will turn out the way you want it to.

3. Zongzi

The zongzi are eaten at the Dragon Boat Festival, on the 5th day of the 5th month. They are rice balls wrapped in bamboo or reed leaves. In honor of the poet Qu Yuan, who drowned himself in the Miluo River after a long exile in 278 BC, the people of China still eat the zongzi today. In ancient times they had thrown the Zonzi into the river so that the fish would eat them instead of the poet's corpse.

Glutinous rice can also be on the menu on ordinary days. Since it is not so easy to digest, it is often taken for breakfast.

4. Congee

Congee, the tradition of (rice) porridge, is one of the most striking characteristics of Chinese cuisine. Porridge is eaten here all year round, in different preparations depending on the region and season. In summer, for example, it is prepared with clear water, corn and mung beans, in winter, on the other hand, both are used for a warm and hearty congee. Guangzhou and Hong Kong are the best places to try different types of congee.

5. Rice noodles

Rice noodles are made from rice flour and water. Their mild taste and soft consistency make them the ideal medium for all flavors, fine or strong. The most famous rice noodle in China is the Guilin rice noodle. It is served in a clear broth made from beef or pork (sometimes horse meat). This is served with steamed vegetables and sometimes some meat.

Northern China - wheat and millet


As early as the Han dynasty (202-220 BC), wheat and millet were grown north of the Qinling Mountains and the Huaihe River, which is why in northern China, wheat dishes are mainly eaten, such as dampling, dumplings (baozi), steamed rolls ( Mantou), steamed plait rolls (huajuan), flour pancakes (jianbing) and noodles.

Northeast China is an exception, where rice is also grown and eaten. Because of the geographical features, the favorable conditions and the extraordinarily good taste, rice from Heilongjiang Province is extremely popular - even beyond the borders of China.

Northwest China (Tibet and the Qinghai Plateau) - barley, beef and dairy products


Beef, yak meat, zanba flour (ground and roasted Qingke barley) and dairy products are the staple foods in Tibet and on the Qinghai Plateau. Butter tea is the most popular drink among Tibetans. It is said that butter tea helps prevent altitude sickness. Qingke (barley) liqueur is also very popular here.

Side foods - vegetables and fruits


Basically the Chinese eat a lot of fruit and vegetables, you can even say mainly.

Vegetables are an important component of all Chinese meals. Vegetables are also available for breakfast here. Usually it is steamed and seasoned with delicious sauces, which, depending on the region, can sometimes be spicier. Many dishes use tomatoes, for example. There are practically all vegetables that you know from Germany, but also others, such as the pumpkin, which is much more popular here. Cabbage is also eaten with pleasure and often.

Fruit is eaten at all times of the day and on all occasions; it is practically the equivalent of sweets in Germany. Whether for lunch, in between or in the evening while watching TV (although the Chinese actually do very little TV), fruit is actually always on the table and people always nibble on it. The selection is very large across the country, but more dependent on the season than in Germany. Grapes are very popular. They practically always exist. Otherwise there are all sorts of tropical fruits, but also apples and pears. The Chinese actually like everything.

Everything is always freshly prepared; frozen food is practically irrelevant in China.