15 February 2018 by Roy Preece
Why not try a Chinese style breakfast?
Chinese food is reckoned to be good for healthy living. Traditional English breakfast, on the other hand, with everything fried in animal fat, and with processed bacon which may contain harmful chemicals, is now frowned upon. Even frying in olive oil is suspect, while the light ‘continental’ breakfast may not be sufficient foundation for a working day.
Chinese food is lightly cooked: like French cooking it favours fresh ingredients; stir fried in a mixture of oil and water (careful it doesn’t ‘spit’) or boiled, and often uses the nutrient rich parts of ingredients which English cooks throw away. Pasta type pancakes are used as convenient ‘wraps’ for a mixture of fresh ingredients. English people may find Chinese food too bland for their tastes, but there are tasty sauces to remedy that by choice. So take a look at these pictures of a typical Chinese breakfast menu.
Why not try a Chinese lunch?
Actually it looks very like breakfast! I’m not sure everyday Chinese food has much variety. Well, neither did English food until we started serving foreign dishes; Indian, Italian, even Chinese! As for breakfast though, everything is lightly cooked which preserves the vitamins and avoids the browning and charring which English quite like, but we are now told is carcinogenic. And note all the healthy green stuff like spinach, which also is only lightly boiled. I've heard that Chinese keep the bits we throw away, like the white stalks of cabbage which is the most nutritious part.
Well you’ve had the breakfast, eaten the lunch; why not try the Chinese dinner.
It used to be that posh people had lunch at midday while ordinary people just had dinner. Actually, once upon a time everyone had dinner then, but gradually the posh people, who had no work to do, moved it to afternoon and then to evening; but ordinary people didn’t notice and carried on having dinner at midday (and supper in the evening) though they were probably lucky if they had anything at all. Curiously the name lingered with the democratic free school dinners, but even they have moved up the social scale to become school lunches. I wonder; do Chinese have these confusing distinctions, and do they have supper?
Again the dinner looks rather like the breakfast and lunch I feel, but maybe all those mysterious interesting items have their proper time and place for Chinese. Chinese food often seems bland to our taste; I think they use salt sparingly if at all. But beware; the cooks love to surprise you with an innocent looking green leafy thing which is not as cool as it looks, but packs a punch like a hot curry. I once spent a delightful evening as the guest of student Taiwan-Thai Club. The students wore traditional costumes and produced a succession of traditional dishes. Some of these were a bit hot, but tolerable with copious drinks of water. One bland innocent looking dish concealed tiny black seeds which exploded in your mouth like a sip of petrol. All the Europeans rushed to the water cooler. Then the water cooler ran out of water!
We would love to know your thoughts about Chinese food. Why not share your experience in the comments or let us know what one thing you would like to try.