China’s Biggest Cultural Export: Cuisine

China’s influence is far reaching and while many contemplate what’s good and what’s bad, there is one feature of Chinese culture that has truly impressed the whole world. It’s undoubtedly Chinese food. (Image:  Lloyd Morgan
  via   flicker  /  CC BY-SA 2.0)
China’s influence is far reaching and while many contemplate what’s good and what’s bad, there is one feature of Chinese culture that has truly impressed the whole world. It’s undoubtedly Chinese food. (Image: Lloyd Morgan via flicker / CC BY-SA 2.0)

China continues to be a hot topic in all matters related to global affairs, ranging from politics to GDP and development. China’s influence is far reaching, and while many contemplate what’s good and what’s bad, there is one feature of Chinese culture that has truly impressed the whole world. It’s undoubtedly Chinese food.

How did Chinese food reach the world?

Historically, Chinese people tended to move to places in search of better economic and social opportunities. Furthermore, with increasing Chinese investments spread out across the globe, more and more Chinese people are moving to these places to set up Chinese firms and companies in new markets. What started out as a small group of families living in a close-knit community has now turned intro thriving Chinatowns in multiple cities and countries all around the world. Chinese immigrants also make up the third largest group of foreign nationality in the U.S. With so many people moving to a country, no matter where, along with them comes their culture and, definitely, their food.

The exotic flavors and tastes of Chinese cuisine caught the interest of the Westerners rather easily and, today, it’s becoming an important part of the food culture in most countries. Any city, however big or small, in any country will certainly have Chinese food restaurants.

China’s influence is far reaching and while many contemplate what’s good and what’s bad, there is one feature of Chinese culture that has truly impressed the whole world. It’s undoubtedly Chinese food. (Image via pixabay / CC0 1.0)

The exotic flavors and tastes of Chinese cuisine caught interests of the Westerners rather easily and, today, it’s becoming an important part of the food culture in most countries. (Image via pixabay / CC0 1.0)

Why is Chinese food so popular?

Chinese food started off with a pretty bad reputation and was generally looked down upon by most Westerners, who thought it was too smelly and made with controversial meats. Chinese food was ridiculed, as many thought it only included contentious ingredients, such as monkey brains, live insects, and dog meat.

However, around the 20th century, the graph of Chinese food consumption by non-Chinese consumers was on the rise. The West became curious about Chinese culture and its food positively and wanted to explore the cuisine. The number of Chinese restaurants grew, and non-Chinese people began to regularly visit Chinatowns in their cities. Chinese food became popular, as the exotic flavors and cooking style was swiftly and successfully adapted to suit Western tastes. Chinese also started the concept of take-out and delivery, which was novel and most loved the combination of exotic and convenience.

Chinese food is diverse and there is something to appease all kinds of taste buds. The cuisine includes a wide range of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes, and traditional cooking methods ensure that none of the dishes are heavy on your stomach. Chinese food follows the approach of simplicity, and it is also one of the easiest cuisines to cook at home.

Chinese food is diverse and there is something to appease all kinds of taste buds. (Image: pixabay / CC0 1.0)

Chinese food is diverse, and there is something to appease all kinds of taste buds. (Image: pixabay / CC0 1.0)

A healthy outlook

Chinese food is becoming more popular in the West as Chinese food enthusiasts are seeking healthy and authentic Chinese dishes. Steaming is one of the healthiest ways to prepare food and most of the traditional Chinese dishes are made with this cooking method. As a result, more people are shifting from fried wontons, tofu, and dim sum to steamed dishes. Additionally, many of the Chinese dishes treat green leafy vegetables as mains and not mere sides. These tasty mains ensure that one has a fair share of greens consumption. Many of the herbs and ingredients used in Chinese cooking have special health benefits, as well.

Chinese food restaurants have also elevated from tiny shops in Chinatown to Michelin Guide restaurants in all major cities in the world. You will find top-rated Chinese cuisine restaurants in many of the iconic buildings and landmarks, and they are always completely booked.

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