History & Culture
Why do Chinese people eat Everything !?
Category : History & Culture
Country : China

They say – ” Chinese eat everything with four legs except tables and chairs, everything that flies except helicopters or planes and everything that swims except submarines !! “

Funny.. Isn’t it? This blog is not a question on the eating habits of Chinese people but an answer to the question popped out of curiosity for the existence of such a unique cuisine culture.

The definition of the word ‘edible’ is a little different for the Chinese people as compared to the rest of the world. Chinese people have the most absurd and bizarre food habits according to rest of the world. The cultural diversity of China is exemplified in the Chinese cuisine. With such a large and diverse population, China has various cuisines, so not all Chinese people eat bizarre things or everything.  The reason why Chinese people eat everything has roots in the history and the culture of the country.

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One of the main reason as to why the Chinese people eat everything is the large population. Due to the large population, supplying enough agrarian recourse to the entire population had been a hurdle. China has been a victim of brutal famines in the last century and thus, it is said that the Chinese people have adapted to eat any creature that is moving or anything that kept them alive.

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Some Chinese people eat the brains of some animals with a belief that “the body part of the animal that you eat helps grow or enhance that same part of the human body”. These beliefs come from ancient mythology and are still followed by certain groups of people in China.

Apart from this, Chinese people also believe in the medical benefit that they gain from eating various types of meats.

It has also been observed that in ancient China, rich people used to eat certain animals as symbol of luxury. For example; Shark fins. People in China still eat shark fins because these habits have been deep imbibed in them from their ancestors. Till date, Shark fin soups and other delicacies made of shark fins are cooked in ceremonies and celebrations of some kind.

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Although, Chinese people do not have many religious constraints, they believe in the Buddhist ideology. Thus they believe in not wasting anything and make work with anything that is available. They believe in wasting as minimum as they can and make sure that all the parts of are eaten to not waste anything. This ideology adds to their habit of eating everything.  Apart from this, many Buddhist followers in China are pure vegetarians. Many Buddhist monasteries also serve pure vegetarian food in China.

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Apart from all these above mentioned reasons, the reasons for Chinese people eating everything goes back to the time when the Chinese people were poor and dependent on agriculture. The cultivation of rice was very vivid in China and so any protein that could be accompanied with rice was eaten. Also, the industrial revolution came late in China. Due to poverty and problems of large population, the Chinese people believed in ‘eat what you get’ and so did not demand for anything that could be extravagant in those times.

It can be seen that the Chinese have different eating and culinary habits which is unlike the habits of the rest of the world. It is extremely important for us to understand that these differences are mainly due to the different culture that China possesses and cultural diversity is bound to happen. We might not want to question the morality of the Chinese people by questioning their food habits and instead accept their culture at its best.

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