The food is prepared in smaller pieces such that it can be eaten without fork or knives as it were considered barbaric to use knives while eating. Even in cases where food is served as a whole, like in case of fishes, diners are expected to use their chopsticks and make their morsels directly. Also, rice is served in individual bowls and the other complementary dishes are given in communal bowls or plates. This instills a communal feeling and sense of sharing among the diners. Unlike Western the meal culture where diner serves himself from the main dishes in the beginning of the meals and then eats, Chinese diner picks food from the communal plate on bite by bite basis.
Some Chinese people today also follow vegetarian diets and mostly they are the followers of Buddhism. Some Chinese vegetarians do not mind bits or chunks of meat in their food used as flavors while the Chinese Buddhist prefer strictly vegetarian food. As far as the use of salads or raw vegetables is considered, it is not a part of original Chinese meals. The reason is because historically China uses human manure as fertilizers owing to its large population and lesser farm animals.
When it comes to desserts, Chinese meals do not necessarily ends with something sweet like the typical Western meals. However, the sweet dishes might be included in the Chinese meals and often eaten alongside the rest of the meal. The famous Chinese sweet dishes includes the basi fruits, which are basically fruits like apple or banana coated with sizzling sugar syrup or the fried dishes made of red bean paste called dousha. Some sweet dishes used in breakfast include the doushabao, the matuan, steamed bun filled with dousha. Some steamed bun or the Babao Fan also known as the ‘Eight Treasure Rice Pudding’. Chinese prefer to eat fruits at the end of their meals or have sweet warm soups. Chinese culture does not appreciate the use of cold beverages. They find them harmful for the digestion, therefore cold drinks like soft drinks or ice cold water is not included in the meals. Only beverage considered great for health beside soup is the Chinese teas. The culture of Chinese tea, making process and serving etiquettes dates back to several centuries. Tea is used to help boost the digestion.
Most of the varieties of Chinese cuisines are named after the region of their origin. For example some cuisines from the mainland Chinese regions consist of Northwestern, Northeastern Chinese, Mandarin, Cantonese cuisine of the Guangdong province, Jiang-Huai , Chiuchow cuisine of the Chaozhou region, Guangdong, Hakka cuisine, Shanghai, Hunan,Sichuan, Yunnan, Hainan and Fujian cuisines. Other than mainland China some famous cuisines are Macanese, Hong Kong, Nanyang and Taiwanese cuisines. Other than the geographical areas some cuisines can be associated with the time and sects such as Chinese Islamic cuisine, Historical Chinese cuisine or the Chinese Buddhist cuisine (Television, 2013).
Some of the very popular and typical Chinese dishes include fried rice, noodles, noodle soups, Jiaozi or filled dumplings, guotie, dumplings, potsticker or shallow fried jiaozi, fried noodles, Kung Pao chicken, Peking duck a famous Beijing specialty, hotpot fried pancakes, Zongzi made from rice in form of balls, dim sum which are originally from Guangzhou, wrapped in leaves, baozi or filled steamed buns, Canton and Hong Kong steamed fish and tofu dishes, etc.
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