Get to grips with Chinese cuisine before you visit the Middle Kingdom

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Get to grips with Chinese cuisine before you visit the Middle Kingdom

Equilibrium between yin and yang, balance of flavours and harmony of textures… Chinese cooking focuses on a subtle combination of products. Overview with the help of infographics.

With over 5,000 years of history, Chinese cuisine has enriched and refined itself to perfection over the centuries. So much so that today, Chinese cooking is a complex and intriguing art. For ancient Chinese philosopher Laozi, even cooking a small fish was comparable to governing a large country.

And so, it is all a question of delicate balances. The Chinese distinguish foods as yin, such as vegetables, which are associated with cold tastes, and yang, such as spices, characterised by warm and invigorating flavours. Using this principle as a starting point, the summer months, linked to yang because they are hot, are, for the Chinese, a time to eat yin dishes with their fresh flavours that counterbalance the muggy climate.

Let us continue our exploration of the art of dining from the time of the Middle Kingdom with another essential notion: tastes. There are five of them in all and each one is linked to an element, an organ of the human body and an emotion. To give you an example, bitterness is connected with fire, the heart and joy. The challenge is trying to balance these tastes according to your guests, the seasons and your frame of mind. In some Beijing restaurants, your host even offers a dietetic consultation before preparing your meal. It is a good way to ensure that the food you eat maintains the balances at play in your body.

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Get to grips with Chinese cuisine before you visit the Middle Kingdom

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