With thousands of years in development, Chinese cuisine and drink are indispensable to Chinese culture, presently enjoying world-wide fame and a positive reputation. People may fiercely debate which national cuisine is the finest, but few will deny that Chinese traditional cooking ranks among the world's best. It certainly predates most of its rivals.
Archaeological finds dating from the Long shan Culture of the Neolithic Age show that the ancestors of the modern Chinese were already using a variety of earthenware for cooking and preparing food, including tripod, cauldron and steamer. The bronze pots, chopping-boards, knives, and ladles unearthed at the Yin Ruins in Anyang, Henan province, are evidence for that the Chinese had developed sophisticated cooking methods at least 3,000 years ago.
Chinese culinary art, preparation, serving and appreciation of food have been developed to the highest level. Cooking has occupied an important position in Chinese culture throughout its history. Chinese culture considers cooking an art and a science. Chinese cuisine, rich and colorful, has, as its main features diversified color, aromatic flavor, and excellent taste. With these three characteristics, Chinese cuisine is not only tasty but also a work of art for people to appreciate. Food with diversified color can usually greatly arouse people's appetite. For many years, Chinese food preparation has paid attention to aesthetic appearance. To have a bright, pleased and harmonious color is one of the main principles when cooking Chinese food. To achieve this, add two or three ingredients with different colors are added as decoration to complement the main ingredient. Thus, it is not only the taste of Chinese cuisine that makes you amazed but also its aesthetic value. Chinese people attach great importance to the aroma of the dish. Usually aniseed, Chinese prickly ash seeds, cinnamon and other spices are added to help dispel the ingredients' particular smells, such as foul, fishy and mutton smells. Also some other flavors like shallot, ginger, garlic or chili, cooking wine and sesame oil are added to make the food fragrant in flavor. Regarded as the soul of the Chinese dish, taste can be divided into five classes - sweet, sour, bitter, hot and salty. Seasoning such as soy sauce, sugar, vinegar and salt in proper amount and in different sequences, contribute to the taste of the dish. In the vast land of China, there are eating habits of 'South-Sweet, North-Salty, East-Hot and West-Sour' according to the different tastes of the people. Those in southern China like to add more sugar when cooking than others. Jiangsu Cuisine one of the Chinese 'Eight Cuisines' is representative of 'South-Sweet'. Shan dong Cuisine feature more salt and people living in Hunan province, Hubei province, Jiangxi province, Guizhou province, Sichuan province like chili best. Sour flavor is favored by people from Shan xi, Fujian, Guangxi provinces and the northeasterners.