Chinese food: The path to internationalization

Chinese food enjoys great popularity in Britain. It has now become one of the main British staples. According to an article in Chineinfo, the documentary A Bite of China has triggered a new surge of interest in Chinese food in China and abroad.

Published by
Chine-info
on June 22, 2014
Chinese food enjoys great popularity in Britain. It has now become one of the main British staples. According to an article in Chineinfo, the documentary A Bite of China has triggered a new surge of interest in Chinese food in China and abroad. How much do British people like Chinese food? Let’s look at some statistics. The online retailer Amazon has experienced a year-on-year increase of 46% in sales of Chinese woks. In addition, according to reports from market research companies, sales of soya sauce and readymade Chinese meals (those that can be cooked in a microwave) are also on the increase.

Spicy Chinese foods are highly popular in Britain’s? Chinese food regarded by the British to be healthier than others? Such a status is highly flattering for Chinese food, but for other Europeans, Chinese cooking produces a lot of oily fumes, and the food is greasy, salty and often hot enough to reduce people to tears. In reality, Chinese food varies significantly. Apart from being spicy, it can also be lightly seasoned. With improvements in living standards, Chinese eating habits have changed. Lightly seasoned dishes, dishes that contain lower calories and steamed foods that are less greasy have become more popular on dinner tables. On account of the high Vitamin C content in chillies and its appetizing property, even spicy dishes can be regarded as healthy when chillies are added in moderation.

For overseas Chinese, Chinese food not only appeals to their tastes, but also provides relief from their homesickness. They cook Chinese food wherever they are, bringing Chinese food culture to foreign lands.

In addition, Chinese people prefer foods that are in season and will often prefer to cook in-season fruits and vegetables. In carefully prepared dishes, you can even taste the seasonal changes. The Chinese are also mindful of the medicinal effects of the ingredients used in Chinese cuisine. Chinese chefs place great importance on the balance of meat and vegetable ingredients, and bring together foods with contrasting properties to maintain the traditional principles of Yin and Yang to keep peoplein good health.

For overseas Chinese, Chinese food not only appeals to their tastes, but also provides relief from their homesickness. They cook Chinese food wherever they are, bringing Chinese food culture to foreign lands. This is one of the reasons why Chinese food is enjoying increasing popularity worldwide.

More than a quarter of the world’s population is eating Chinese food, including more and more foreign leaders, such as former French Presidents Chirac and Sarkozy, former U.S. President Bush senior, British Prime Minister Cameron. They became natural spokesmen for Chinese food after they experienced the delights of Chinese food during their visits to China.

In France, chefs are considered artists. The renowned chef Paul Bocuse  is regarded as a state treasure. There is even a specialised institution – Michelin that grades restaurants. In contrast, a chef in China, more often than not, is called a cook. China also lacks a recognised restaurant grading system. There is still a long way to go for internationalization of Chinese food.


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Published in Confucius Institute Magazine
Number 33. Volume IV. July 2014.

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