China - Food

Guiding Questions

1. What is the role of food in Chinese culture?

2. How does Chinese food in China compare with the food you might find at your local Chinese restaurant in the U.S.? 

3. Name one dish you can't wait to try in China!

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  • The role of food is interesting in Chinese culture because some foods such as Red Belly Pork, fish and dumplings are considered lucky foods. It is funny to me that beef and broccoli, one of my all time favorites is not really a Chinese dish. Apparently, there isn't a lot of broccoli in China.

    Also, there are certain norms too to consider when eating Chinese food in China. They don't mind your elbows on the table, or you spitting out bones on a plate. That should be fun to do since if we did it here in the U.S., it wouldn't exactly go over well.

    Family dining and buffets are popular and I am looking forward to trying all sorts of dishes, such as Xiao Long Bao, (soup dumplings) Zha jiang mian, (noodles) and yu xiang rou si (shredded pork in hot garlic sauce), but somewhat sad about the no dessert. I personally love desserts, so will have to find the sweetness in other parts of the meal.
  • Having visited China in 2000, I have missed and most look forward to steamed Baozi. These are dumplings usually stuffed with pork, beef and vegetables. They are fantastic!
    • That's awesome! I've never been to China before, so I'm very much looking forward to traveling there in June with all of the Fellows.

      Dumplings are definitely my "go-to". There's a lot of great literature on how Chinese Food in the U.S. deviated from the original foods in China. I'll definitely add those articles to the list.
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Halal Street Food Journey To Islamic China

The Search for General Tso

This mouthwateringly entertaining film travels the globe to unravel a captivating culinary mystery. General Tso’s chicken is a staple of Chinese-American cooking, and a ubiquitous presence on restaurant menus across the country. But just who was General Tso? And how did his chicken become emblematic of an entire national cuisine? Director Ian Cheney (King CornThe City Dark) journeys from Shanghai to New York to the American Midwest and beyond to uncover the origins of this iconic dish, turning up surprising revelations and a host of humorous characters along the way. Told with the verve of a good detective story,The Search for General Tso is as much about food as it is a tale of the American immigrant experience.

Full movie available on Netflix.

25 Traditional Chinese Dishes Everyone Should Learn To Make

Lesson Plans & Resources

Food For Thought: Understanding China through food by Sara Shenk, 9th/10th grade, Social Science

What can food tell us about the geography and culture of China? 

Students will: use a variety of intellectual skills to demonstrate their understanding of the geography of the interdependent world in which we live - local, national, and global - including the distribution of people, places, and environments over the Earth’s surface.