15 Interesting Facts about Ancient Chinese Food

6. The earliest wine

ancient Chinese food

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China is among the first few countries to make wine from rice and millet. Drinking wine can be traced back to almost prehistoric times in China. Over the years it became not just a drink, but a part of Chinese culture and history. People began drinking wine during the Shang dynasty (16th to 11th century BC). It was also used to worship gods. Huangjiu, or the yellow rice wine, is believed to have been first introduced in China. It’s a major drink in the country today. Other varieties of wine are likely to have developed after the Han and Tang dynasties.

7. Ate all types of meat

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Ancient China food comprised the meat of all animals. Pork was the most common, followed by mutton, chicken, pigeon, and duck. The Chinese began eating pork by 4,000 to 3,000BC. It was native to China. Cattle and sheep were less common and they reached China from West Asia. But meat was expensive, and since Buddhists didn’t eat meat, people used Tofu in ancient Chinese food for their protein intake.

8. And they still eat almost everything

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Foreigners, especially Westerners, are often shocked at what the Chinese eat. They feel weird and squirm in their seats. People in China eat almost everything and that includes scorpions, snakes, dog hotpot, insects, and rats. A pig’s head, heart, feet, liver, kidneys, intestines, and lung are staple items on any Chinese food list. They even drink boiled blood. It’s not conclusively known whether these were included in ancient Chinese food. But the Chinese may have started eating these because of scarcity of vegetables and cattle meat.

9. Introduced tea to the world

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Tea was first grown in China about 4,000 years ago. The Chinese believe that tea growing is a special art that requires sampling. Tea is the national drink of China and one of the three most popular beverages in the world along with coffee and cocoa. Tea drinking spread from China to other parts of the world. China takes pride in its tea, the planting techniques, and processing and drinking methods.

Also Read: 15 Ancient Roman Foods and Drinks

10. Learnt beekeeping

ancient Chinese food

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Trade relations with other countries via the network of Silk Routes introduced China to several new foods. Around 500BC, the Chinese learned beekeeping for honey and wax. By 300BC, they got the first taste of sweet oranges brought from Central Asia. Sugar came to China from India at around 350AD. In about 900AD, lemons from Central Asia started entering China.

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