Is food from China safe to eat

Chinese food culture

In China, it is not only important what is on the table, but also how it is on the table. The order of dishes, cutlery and behaviors are very different from Western food culture.

Table culture

In China there is no classic order of dishes like we do. The order of the dishes is determined solely by the guest, whereby many dishes are usually ordered at the same time. The more festive the occasion, the greater the number of dishes that will be served. However, it is a custom in Chinese food culture to eat light dishes before heavy dishes, salty dishes before sweet dishes, and soups after solid dishes. It is important that the cold and warm dishes harmonize according to the principle of yin and yang. The circular table also symbolizes harmony with its circular shape. Thanks to the round shape, all guests have easy access to the various dishes. Signs that say "Western restaurant" do not say anything about the food, but rather indicate that the tables are angular. Fine tableware is particularly important in Chinese food culture, because beautiful porcelain - according to popular belief in China - contributes to enjoyment when eating.

Behavior at the table

As a European in China, you can count on indulgence at the table. However, it shows special empathy if you follow some rules of Chinese table culture. For example, smacking, slurping and burping are allowed, while blowing your nose at the table is frowned upon. For this, the guests should go to the toilet. Eating up all the dishes is also not considered good form in Chinese food culture, as it exposes the host who could no longer afford it. Basically, the most important guests sit closest to the host and get the best pieces. You eat with chopsticks, which you should never put in the rice, as this is only common for mourning ceremonies. Small benches next to the plates are used to store the chopsticks.

Imperial Chinese food culture

In addition to the traditional regional cuisine, there are also cooking schools such as Confucian cuisine, medical cuisine or the palace cuisine. The latter is a very opulent Chinese food culture that has established itself at court over centuries. Thousands of people lived at the imperial court in the 18th and 19th centuries, around 400 of whom worked in the imperial kitchen around 1800 alone. Managing and planning the palace meal was a demanding task. There were two kitchen brigades, one of which prepared food for the imperial family and concubines, while the other was in charge of staff. The food for the imperial family was subject to strict safety regulations: the head of the life guard had to supervise the preparation of the food so that no poison could be mixed in. Descendants of court servants saved many recipes from this Chinese food culture through the cultural revolution, so that they can still enjoy imperial dishes in Beijing today, such as lobster in sour cucumber sauce or lotus roots in wafer-thin sheets of dough.

To drink

Warm shiaoxin (rice wine) is usually consumed with the meal, but often nothing is drunk at all. In many restaurants, teas or other alcoholic beverages are now served with the meal. These include Chinese wine, Chinese beer, baijiu (liquor), or liqueur. China is not a classic wine-growing region, but grape varieties such as Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon are grown along the Yellow River.

After the meal, tea is served in China. In the tea's country of origin, green tea and jasmine tea are mainly drunk. Other types of tea are oolong tea, yellow, white and black tea. At lunchtime and in the afternoon, dim sum, small bites, are served with tea in southern China.