China

Food Stories

It’s Tea Time Somewhere: A Look Into Tea Cultures

By Emma Laperruque | July 5, 2012

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Photo: Jeremy Keith

According to Chinese legend, Emperor Chen-nung invented tea in 2374 BC–by accident. One summer day, he decided to relax beneath a shrub tree and place a bowl of boiling water beside him. Soon after, a soft breeze blew a few shrub leaves into the bowl, where they began to steep. After smelling the delicate aroma, Emperor Chen-nung tasted the infusion, and thus, tea was born.

Though the story remains up for debate, no one argues that the shrub Emperor Chen-nung sat under (the Camellia sinensis, or tea, tree) hails from China, nor that the country was the first to brew the drink. The popular modern method of infusion developed gradually, becoming prevalent by the Ming dynasty when drinking tea started to take on symbolic qualities. It began to signify more than a beverage, but a ritual, too, representing discipline and beauty. Read More

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Take That France! : The Growing Popularity of Chinese Wine

By Jeannette | March 8, 2012

Photo: toyohara

Photo: toyohara

By: Justin Chan

Are you ready to swap your Bordeaux for a Ningxia? A what, you may ask? According to a recent blind taste test of wine experts, it seems as though Bordeaux winemakers may have just met their match…in East Asia!

Grape wine has a long but ambiguous history in China. Although it has become widely popular nowadays, it was a little-known beverage until globalization exposed millions of Chinese to its acetic and astringent flavor. Scholars say that the first documentation of westernized wine came as early as the 7th century, although evidence suggests that grape seeds were brought to China from what is now considered Uzbekistan during the Han Dynasty (206 BC to 220 AD). The large importation of grapes during these early years, however, did little to maintain the appeal of grape wine among the Chinese, and the beverage was soon replaced by alcoholic beverages made of millet, sorghum and rice.

It was not until the 19th century that wine became popular again in China. Read More

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Food Focus: Dim Sum

By Jeannette | February 10, 2012

Photo: Stefan Lins

Photo: Stefan Lins

By: Justin Chan

Chinese cuisine in America is often defined by typical dishes such as orange chicken, dumplings and chow mein. Those dishes only represent a small portion of the vast number of culinary treats the Chinese have to offer. Stroll through Chinatown in the vibrant Lower East Side, and you’ll find roasted pork or duck hanging in front of restaurant windows and vendors selling mini pancakes made from a gooey batter. Better yet, walk into a restaurant, and you might have the chance to experience a popular Cantonese serving known as dim sum.

Dim sum traces its roots back to the ancient Silk Road, which connected East Asia to parts of Africa and Europe. The trade route allowed merchants to exchange goods but also gave rise to a delicacy that many Chinese families have come to adore. Farmers and laborers would stop by teahouses along the route where they would yum cha (drink tea) and help themselves to dim sum or small platters of food. The Cantonese in Southern China particularly took a liking to the bite-sized edibles, and what used to be a quiet dining experience quickly became a raucous one. Read More

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China Takes Out Its Food Safety Problems On Walmart

By admin | November 7, 2011

Photo: David Woo

Photo: David Woo

By: Michele Wolfson

This year’s news headlines have focused on how food-borne illnesses are affecting people globally. Between E. Coli outbreaks in Europe and Salmonella inhabiting cantaloupes and pine nuts in America, the biggest offender of food-safety has been China. The Chinese government insists that it is cracking down on food violators and has chosen to take Walmart, an American supermarket chain, as it’s next target. On October 25th, Walmart reopened 13 stores in the southwestern region of Chongqing that were closed for two weeks as punishment for mislabeling a pork product.

Attention to the food safety issue in this country was heightened when the 2008 Olympics were held in Beijing Read More

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Food and the Chinese New Year

By mahir | February 2, 2011

By Jason Bell

The Chinese New Year or Lunar New Year is a chance to sample particularly festive and unusual Chinese food. Many of the dishes prepared for New Year’s celebrations have a symbolic meaning, from mandarin oranges (wealth) to red candy (a protection against evil). Read More

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China

By mahir | January 13, 2011

Food and People with Elaine Wray

Food is one of the pleasures that reveals our society’s cultural values.  The cuisine of Shanghai and Beijing provides a memorable dining experience where we not only appreciate the food but also appreciate the traditions and cultures of these two exciting cities. The regional Chinese cuisine offers a variety from the finest noodles to dim sum to the Peking duck. Read More

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Image by Rod Waddington Dinner

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Whether it’s finding the best goat tacos in LA, spotting a well-worn vintage bag in Sweden, or interviewing the “crab man” selling seafood on a corner in Harlem, we tell stories seen from Chef Marcus Samuelsson‘s point of view. MarcusSamuelsson.com strives to create conversations about food, nutrition, culture, art, and design. We want to find Read More

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