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The Land of the Five FlavorsA Cultural History of Chinese Cuisine$
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Thomas Höllmann

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231161862

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231161862.001.0001

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A Culinary Cosmos

A Culinary Cosmos

(p.63) Chapter Four A Culinary Cosmos
The Land of the Five Flavors

Thomas O. Höllmann

, Karen Margolis
Columbia University Press

This chapter explores the culinary diversity of Chinese cuisine. Roughly speaking, Chinese regional cooking can be observed in four distinct areas. The eastern part of China is predominantly Buddhist, with an appetite for vegetarian dishes as well as seafood. The south is likewise a haven for seafood, though its history of foreign trade allows a large and at times shocking variety of flavors; including dog, cat, monkey, and rat. The north, which was traditionally the seat of the royal court, suffers from particularly tedious winters; its flavors remain modest and practical, with an emphasis on grain products and food preservation. Finally, the west is known for its spicy dishes, although the spices primarily used in its cooking had been introduced from overseas. Additionally, this chapter explores the practice of anthropophagy in Chinese culinary history, as well as the cuisines enjoyed by the minority cultures living in China.

Keywords:   Chinese regional cooking, seafood, vegetarian dishes, foreign trade, food preservation, spices, anthropophagy, minority cultures

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