"Food is the first necessity of the people" is a famous Chinese old saying, which reflects that Chinese have had paid much attention to food since the ancient times. The importance of food in people’s daily life in China can be seen in the way they send greetings to each other: "Have you eaten?", which is far away from the way people greet in western countries and has been seen as a characteristic of Chinese culture.
Staple food in China generally includes rice, wheat, buckwheat, corn, potato, sweet potato, beans and varieties of vegetables. Besides, wheaten food such as Mantou (steamed bun), noodle, Youtiao (deep-fried dough stick), Xiaolongbao (steamed pork-stuffed dumpling in bamboo basket), and many other local snacks, are commonly seen on the table in China.
Regionally, a general feature of spicy east food, sweet south food, sour west food and salty north food can be summarized, but flavors of food in places differ from each other as a matter of fact. Generally, people living in South China pay more attention to nutrition and prefer delicate, tasty and refreshing food such as rice porridge and soup; however, spicy hotpot is always people’s favorite in the southwest areas due to the humid and rainy climate. And, people living in North China prefer wheaten food such as Jiaozi, noodle, while all kinds of streamed bun and beef and mutton are most popular in northwest areas.
In the past thousands of years, Chinese has had tried countless cooking ways and has successfully developed many cooking styles, e.g. steaming, stewing, braising, simmering, frying, quick-frying, stir-frying, roasting, sauting with starch extract.