History of Chinese cuisine
The Cuisine of China spreads both around the world and deep into history and is marked by both variety and change. The archeologist and scholar K.C. Chang says “Chinese people are especially preoccupied with food” and “food is at the center of, or at least it accompanies or symbolizes, many social interactions.” Over the course of history, he says, "continuity vastly outweighs change." He posits basic organizing principles which go back to earliest times and give a continuity to the food tradition, principally that a normal meal is made up of fan (grains and other starches) and cai (vegetable or meat dishes).  Others see a succession of changes and development which bring incremental but basic change. Endymion Wilkinson offers four keys to the “richness of ever-changing Chinese cuisine”:
- Huge and expanding geographical area, with climate zones from the subarctic to the tropical, each providing new ingredients and cultures with cooking traditions of their own.
- An elaborate tradition of dietary and medicinal cooking which saw food as the basis of good health: “Food was medicine and medicine, food.”
- Demands from different patrons or groups for their own specialized cuisines, for example, the imperial courts, rich households, and “scholar-gourmands.” By the later empire, there were enough businessmen and scholar-officials living away from home to support restaurants catering to their desire to eat the cuisine they were familiar with.
- The continuous absorption of all sorts of foreign influences, including the ingredients, cooking methods, and recipes from the people of the steppe as well as from the rest of Asia, the Americas, Europe, and Japan. 
The philosopher and writer Lin Yutang is more relaxed:
- How a Chinese spirit glows over a good feast! How apt is he to cry out that life is beautiful when his stomach and his intestines are well filled! From this well filled stomach suffuses and radiates a happiness that is spiritual. The Chinese relies upon instinct and his instinct tells him that when the stomach is right, everything is right. That is why I claim for the Chinese a life closer to instinct and a philosophy that makes a more open acknowledgment of it possible.
Chinese cuisine as we know it gradually evolved over the centuries, as new food sources and techniques were introduced, discovered, or invented. Although many of the characteristics we think of as the most important appeared very early, others did not appear or did not become important until relatively late. The first chopsticks, for instance, were probably used for cooking, stirring the fire, serving bits of food, and not as eating utensils. Chopsticks began to be used as eating utensils during the Han Dynasty, but it was not until the Ming Dynasty that they came into normal use for both serving and eating. They then acquired the name kuaizi and the present shape. The wok may have been introduced in the Han, but it was used for drying grains, and the technique of frying (chao) did not overtake boiling, steaming, open roasting, or deep frying until the Ming.  "To somebody brought up on late twentieth century Chinese cuisine, Ming food would probably still seem familiar, but anything further back, especially pre-Tang would probably be difficult to recognize as 'Chinese.'" 
The "Silk road" is the conventional term for the routes through Central Asia linking the Iranian plateau with western China; along this trade route passed exotic foodstuffs that greatly enlarged the potential for Chinese cuisines, only some of which preserve their foreign origin in the ideogram for "foreign" that remains in their name: "it would surprise many Chinese cooks to know that some of their basic ingredients were originally foreign imports," Frances Wood observes: sesame, peas, onions, coriander from Bactria, and cucumber were all introduced into China from the West during the Han dynasty".
Chinese cuisine classifications 
Not long after the expansion of the Chinese Empire during the Qin Dynasty and Han Dynasty, Chinese writers noted the great differences in culinary practices among people from different parts of the realm. These differences followed to a great extent the varying climate and availability of foodstuffs in China. Different ethnic groups might occupy only small areas, but early on, their cuisines were included in systematic lists of Chinese cuisines. China's cuisines are classified as follows:
North and south 
The difference between northern and southern cuisines was one of the earliest distinctions that was noted, and one that is still observed today even as the food cultures of North and South China have evolved greatly since the distinction was first made. Northerners generally eat wheat-based foods, southerners eat rice-based foods.
Traditional Four Schools classifications 
Most Chinese cuisines belong to one of the Four Schools: Lu, Yang (named after Jiangsu's major style, Huaiyang cuisine), Chuan and Yue. These are often translated as the cuisines of Shandong, Sichuan, Jiangsu and Guangdong. The School of Lu (Shandong) is the largest because it is the oldest.
|Lu (Shandong)||Yang (Su)||Yue (Guangdong/Cantonese)||Chuan (Sichuan)|
The Eight Schools classification 
Lajia (Chinese: 喇家; Pinyin: Lǎjiā) is an archaeological site located in Minhe County, Haidong Prefecture in Northwest China's Qinghai province. Lajia is associated with the Qijia culture and was discovered by archaeologists in 2000. The site covers an area of around 200,000 square meters. Archaeologists believe the site was abandoned after being devastated by an earthquake and subsequent flood. In 2005, the oldest intact noodles yet discovered were located at Lajia, estimated at over 4,000 years old. The noodles were made from millet. In October 2005, the oldest noodles yet discovered were found at the Lajia site (Qijia culture) along the Yellow River in Qinghai, China. The 4,000-year-old noodles appear to have been made from foxtail millet and broomcorn millet.
Early dynastic times 
In ancient times, the Chinese had outlined the five most basic foodstuffs known as the five grains: sesamum, legumes, wheat, panicled millet, and glutinous millet. The Ming Dynasty encyclopedist Song Yingxing (1587–1666) noted that rice was not counted amongst the five grains from the time of the legendary and deified Chinese sage Shennong (the existence of whom Song wrote was "an uncertain matter") into the 2nd millenniums BC, because the properly wet and humid climate in southern China for growing rice was not yet fully settled or cultivated by the Chinese.
The most common staple crops consumed during the Han Dynasty (202 BC–220 AD) were wheat, barley, rice, foxtail millet, proso millet and beans. Commonly-eaten fruits and vegetables included chestnuts, pears, plums, peaches, melons, apricots, red bayberries, jujubes, calabash, bamboo shoots, mustard plant and taro. Domesticated animals that were also eaten included chickens, Mandarin ducks, geese, cows, sheep, pigs, camels and dogs. Turtles and fish were taken from streams and lakes. Commonly-hunted game, such as owl, pheasant, magpie, sika deer, and Chinese Bamboo Partridge were consumed. Seasonings included sugar, honey, salt and soy sauce. Beer and wine were regularly consumed.
Tang Dynasty 
The fascination with exotics from the diverse range of the Tang empire and the search for plants and animals which promoted health and longevity were two of the factors encouraging diversity in Tang dynasty diet.  During the Tang, the many common foodstuffs and cooking ingredients in addition to those already listed were barley, garlic, salt, turnips, soybeans, pears, apricots, peaches, apples, pomegranates, jujubes, rhubarb, hazelnuts, pine nuts, chestnuts, walnuts, yams, taro, etc. The various meats that were consumed included pork, chicken, lamb (especially preferred in the north), sea otter, bear (which was hard to catch, but there were recipes for steamed, boiled, and marinated bear), and even Bactrian camels. In the south along the coast meat from seafood was by default the most common, as the Chinese enjoyed eating cooked jellyfish with cinnamon, Sichuan pepper, cardamom, and ginger, as well as oysters with wine, fried squid with ginger and vinegar, horseshoe crabs and red crabs, shrimp, and pufferfish, which the Chinese called 'river piglet'. 
Some foods were also off-limits, as the Tang court encouraged people not to eat beef (since the bull was a valuable draft animal), and from 831 to 833 Emperor Wenzong of Tang banned the slaughter of cattle on the grounds of his religious convictions to Buddhism. From the trade overseas and over land, the Chinese acquired golden peaches from Samarkand, date palms, pistachios, and figs from Persia, pine seeds and ginseng roots from Korea, and mangoes from Southeast Asia. In China, there was a great demand for sugar; during the reign of Harsha (r. 606–647) over North India, Indian envoys to Tang China brought two makers of sugar who successfully taught the Chinese how to cultivate sugarcane. Cotton also came from India as a finished product from Bengal, although it was during the Tang that the Chinese began to grow and process cotton, and by the Yuan Dynasty it became the prime textile fabric in China.
During the earlier Southern and Northern Dynasties (420–589), and perhaps even earlier, the drinking of tea became popular in southern China. (Tea comes from the leaf buds of Camelia sinensis, native to southwestern China.) Tea was viewed then as a beverage of tasteful pleasure and with pharmacological purpose as well. During the Tang Dynasty, tea became synonymous with everything sophisticated in society. The Tang poet Lu Tong (790–835) devoted most of his poetry to his love of tea. The 8th century author Lu Yu (known as the Sage of Tea) even wrote a treatise on the art of drinking tea, called the Classic of Tea (Chájīng). Tea was also enjoyed by Uyghur Turks; when riding into town, the first places they visited were the tea shops. Although wrapping paper had been used in China since the 2nd century BC, during the Tang Dynasty the Chinese were using wrapping paper as folded and sewn square bags to hold and preserve the flavor of tea leaves.
Methods of food preservation continued to develop. The common people used simple methods of preservation, such as digging deep ditches and trenches, brining, and salting their foods. The emperor had large ice pits located in the parks in and around Chang'an for preserving food, while the wealthy and elite had their own smaller ice pits. Each year the emperor had laborers carve 1000 blocks of ice from frozen creeks in mountain valleys, each block with the dimension of 0.91 m (3 ft) by 0.91 m by 1.06 m (3½ ft). There were many frozen delicacies enjoyed during the summer, especially chilled melon.
Song dynasty 
From the Song period, there are many surviving lists of names for entrées and food dishes in customer menus for restaurants and taverns, as well as for feasts at banquets, festivals and carnivals, and modest dining. Many of the peculiar names for these dishes do not provide clues as to what types of food ingredients were used. However, the scholar Jacques Gernet, judging from the seasonings used, such as pepper, ginger, soya sauce, oil, salt, and vinegar, suggests that the cuisine of Hangzhou was not too different from the Chinese cuisine of today.  Other additional seasonings and ingredients included walnuts, turnips, crushed Chinese cardamon kernels, fagara, olives, ginkgo nuts, citrus zest, and sesame oil.
Regional differences in ecology and culture produced different styles of cooking. In the turmoil of the Southern Song, refugees brought cooking traditions of regional cultures to the capital at Hangzhou. After the mass exodus from the north, people brought Henan-style cooking and foods (popular in the previous Northern Song capital at Kaifeng) to Hangzhou, which was blended with the cooking traditions of Zhejiang. However, records indicate that already in the Northern Song period, the first capital at Kaifeng sported restaurants that served southern Chinese cuisine. This catered to capital officials whose native provinces were in the southeast, and would have found northern cuisine lacking in seasoning for their tastes. In fact, texts from the Song era provide the first use of the phrases nanshi, beishi, and chuanfan to refer specifically to northern, southern, and Sichuan cooking, respectively. Many restaurants were known for their specialties; for example, there was one restaurant in Hangzhou that served only iced foods, while some restaurants catered to those who wanted either hot, warm, room temperature, or cold foods. Descendants of those from Kaifeng owned most of the restaurants found in Hangzhou, but many other regional varieties in foodstuffs and cooking were sponsored by restaurants. This included restaurants catering Sichuan cuisine that emphasized use of pimento; there were taverns featuring dishes and beverages from Hebei and Shandong, as well as those with coastal foods of shrimp and saltwater fish. The memory and patience of waiters had to be keen; in the larger restaurants, serving dinner parties that required twenty or so dishes became a hassle if even a slight error occurred. If a guest reported the mistake of a waiter to the head of the restaurant, the waiter could be verbally reprimanded, have his salary docked, or in extreme cases, kicked out of the establishment for good.
In the early morning in Hangzhou, along the wide avenue of the Imperial Way, special breakfast items and delicacies were sold. This included fried tripe, pieces of mutton or goose, soups of various kinds, hot pancakes, steamed pancakes, and iced cakes. Noodle shops were also popular, and remained open all day and night along the Imperial Way. According to one Song Dynasty source on Kaifeng, the night markets closed at the third night watch but reopened on the fifth, while they had also gained a reputation for staying open during winter storms and the darkest, rainiest days of winter.
There were also some exotic foreign foods imported to China from abroad, including raisins, dates, Persian jujubes, and grape wine; rice wine was more common in China, a fact noted even by the 13th century Venetian traveler Marco Polo. Although grape-based wine had been known in China since the ancient Han Dynasty Chinese ventured into Hellenstic Central Asia, grape-wine was often reserved for the elite. Besides wine, other beverages included pear juice, lychee fruit juice, honey and ginger drinks, tea, and pawpaw juice. Dairy products were a foreign concept to the Chinese, which explains the absence of cheese and milk in their diet. Beef was also rarely eaten, since the bull was an important draft animal. The main consumptionary diet of the lower classes remained rice, pork, and salted fish, while it is known from restaurant dinner menus that the upper classes did not eat dog meat. The rich are known to have consumed an array of different meats, such as chicken, shellfish, fallow deer, hares, partridge, pheasant, francolin, quail, fox, badger, clam, crab, and many others. Local freshwater fish from the nearby lake and river were also caught and brought to market, while the West Lake provided geese and duck as well. Common fruits that were consumed included melons, pomegranates, lychees, longans, golden oranges, jujubes, quinces, apricots and pears; in the region around Hangzhou alone, there were eleven kinds of apricots and eight different kinds of pears that were produced. Specialties and combination dishes in the Song period included scented shellfish cooked in rice-wine, geese with apricots, lotus-seed soup, pimento soup with mussels and fish cooked with plums, sweet soya soup, baked sesame buns stuffed with either sour bean filling or pork tenderloin, mixed vegetable buns, fragrant candied fruit, strips of ginger and fermented beanpaste, jujube-stuffed steamed dumplings, fried chestnuts, salted fermented bean soup, fruit cooked in scented honey, and 'honey crisps' of kneaded and baked honey, flour, mutton fat and pork lard. Dessert molds of oiled flour and sugared honey were shaped into girls' faces or statuettes of soldiers with full armor like door guards, and were called "likeness foods" (guoshi).
Su Shi a famous poet and statesmen at the time also wrote extensively on the food and wine of the period. The legacy of his appreciation of food and gastronomy, as well as his popularity with the people can be seen in Dongpo pork, a dish said to be created and named after him. An influential work which recorded the cuisine of this period is Shanjia Qinggong (山家清供 The Simple Foods of the Mountain Folk) by Lin Hong (林洪). This recipe book accounts the preparation of numerous dishes of common and fine cuisines.
Yuan Dynasty 
|This section requires expansion. (May 2009)|
Ming dynasty 
China during the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) became involved in a new global trade of goods, plants, animals, and food crops known as the Columbian Exchange. Although the bulk of imports to China were silver, the Chinese also purchased New World crops from the Spanish Empire. This included sweet potatoes, maize, and peanuts, foods that could be cultivated in lands where traditional Chinese staple crops—wheat, millet, and rice—couldn't grow, hence facilitating a rise in the population of China. In the Song Dynasty (960–1279), rice had become the major staple crop of the poor; after sweet potatoes were introduced to China around 1560, it gradually became the traditional food of the lower classes. because of the need for more food, prices went up and more of the lower class citizens died.
Qing dynasty 
|This section requires expansion. (May 2009)|
Jonathan Spence writes appreciatively that by the Qing Dynasty the “culinary arts were treated as a part of the life of the mind: There was a Tao of food, just as there was Tao of conduct and one of literary creation.” The opulence of the scholar-official Li Liweng was balanced by the gastronome Yuan Mei. To make the best rice, Li would send his maid to gather the dew from the flowers of the wild rose, cassia, or citron to add at the last minute; Li insisted that water from garden roses was too strong. Yuan Mei takes the position of the ascetic gourmet:
- I always say that chicken, pork, fish and duck are the original geniuses of the board, each with a flavor of its own, each with its distinctive style; whereas sea-slug and swallows-nest (despite their costliness) are commonplace fellows, with no character – in fact, mere hangers-on. I was once asked to a party by a certain Governor, who gave us plain boiled swallows-nest, served in enormous vases, like flower pots. It had no taste at all.... If our host’s object was simply to impress, it would have been better to put a hundred pearls into each bowl. Then we would have known that the meal had cost him tens of thousands, without the unpleasantness of being expected to eat what was uneatable.”
The records of the Imperial Banqueting Court (光祿寺, Kuang-lu ssu) published in the late Qing period showed there were several levels of Manchu banquets (滿席) and Chines banquets (漢席). The royal Manchu Han Imperial Feast is one that combined both traditions.
1950s - 1960s 
Since the founding of the People's Republic of China, the nation has suffered from a series of major food supply problems under the Communist Party of China. Poor, countryside provinces like Henan and Gansu experienced the worst. By January 1959 the food supply for residents in Beijing was reduced to 1 cabbage per household per day. Many peasants suffered from malnutrition, and at the same time increasing the amount they handed over to the state. Beginning in 1960, the Great Chinese Famine contributed to more problems due to bad government policies. During this time there was little to no advancement in the culinary tradition. Many fled to neighbouring Hong Kong and Taiwan to avoid starvation.
|Year||Percent of grain handed over
to the Communist party
In Beijing in the 1990s, a Communist-style cuisine, which is also called Cultural Revolution cuisine or CR cuisine has also been popular.  Other recent innovations include the Retro-Maoist cuisine, which cashed in on the 100th anniversary of Mao Zedong's birthday, whether it was officially endorsed or not. The menu includes items such as cornmeal cakes and rice gruel. In February 1994 the Wall Street Journal wrote an article about Retro-Maoist cuisine being a hit in China. Owners of a CR-style restaurant said, "We're not nostalgic for Mao, per se. We're nostalgic for our youth." The Chinese government has denied any involvement with Retro-Maoist cuisine.
One of the cuisines to benefit during the 1990s was the Chinese Islamic cuisine. The cuisines of other cultures in China have benefited from recent changes in government policy. During the Great Leap Forward and Cultural revolution of the 1970s, the government pressured the Hui people, to adopt Han Chinese culture. The national government has since abandoned efforts to impose a homogeneous Chinese culture. In order to revive their rare cuisine, the Huis began labeling their food as "traditional Hui cuisine". The revival effort has met with some success; for example, in 1994 the "Yan's family eatery" earned 15,000 yuan net income per month. This was well above the national salary average at that time.
Famous quotes 
A common saying in Chinese cuisine has been around in Chinese culture for some time. Its exact origin is unknown, though it attempts to summarize the entire cuisine in one sentence. The order of the directions can vary within local culture. For example, East may not necessarily come first.
|Traditional Chinese||東甜, 南鹹, 西酸, 北辣 |
|Simplified Chinese||东甜, 南咸, 西酸, 北辣|
|English||East is sweet, South is salty, West is sour, North is spicy|
|Pinyin||dōng tián, nán xián, xī suān, běi là|
|Jyutping||dung1 tim4, naam4 haam4, sai1 syun1, bak1 laat6*2|
Chinese cuisine has gone through numerous transformations through the different dynasties all the way up to modern times. Many different versions of the quote exist on the internet today:
|Traditional Chinese||南甜, 北鹹, 東辣, 西酸|
|Simplified Chinese||南甜, 北咸, 东辣, 西酸 |
|English||South is sweet, North is salty, East is spicy, West is sour|
One can compare the original and pseudo version. For example, the original phrase suggests south is salty. This fits Cantonese cuisine and Hakka cuisine since both southern styles are largely dominated by salty tastes. But the more popular internet quote suggests south is sweet instead. This may be true because sweet tong sui is the major export from the southern region as seen from the mainland perspective. Also, in modern times the western styles of Sichuan and Hunan cuisines are widely renowned for their spicy dishes, more so than that of northern China. Both quotes can be debated literally down to the individual dish. Likely neither will ever emerge as the definitive quote.
|English||Eat in Guangzhou, Die in Liuzhou, Play in Suzhou, Live in Hangzhou|
This popular phrase summarizes Cantonese cuisine from Guangzhou as the standout in Chinese cuisine. The best wood is in Liuzhou, which is suitable for death and coffins. The most beautiful women are in Suzhou, and the most comfortable scenery for living is in Hangzhou. There are different variations of the quote available online. Cantonese cuisine is widely regarded as the one to eat within the ideal life.
See also 
- Kwang-chih Chang, ed., Food in Chinese Culture: Anthropological and Historical Perspectives (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1977): 15, 20.
- Endymion Wilkinson, Chinese History: A Manual (Cambridge, MA.: Harvard University Asia Center for the Harvard-Yenching Institute: Distributed by Harvard University Press, Rev. and enl., 2000): 635-36.
- quoted in “Introduction,” Roel Sterckx, Of Tripod and Palate: Food, Politics and Religion in Traditional China (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005): 6, from Yutang Lin, The Importance of Living (New York: John Day: 1937): 46.
- Endymion Wilkinson, Chinese History: A Manual (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, Rev. and enl., 2000), 647.
- Wilkinson, Chinese History (2000), p. 636
- Wood, The Silk Road: two thousand years in the heart of Asia 2002:59., noting K.C. Chang, ed., Food in Chinese Culture (Yale University Press, 1977),p. 80.
- Kansas Asia Scholars, "Regional Chinese Cuisine,"
- Ancient sites in China
- "Oldest noodles unearthed in China", BBC News, 12 October 2005.
- Song, 3–4.
- Wang (1982), 52.
- Wang (1982), 53, 206.
- Wang (1982), 57–58.
- Hansen (2000), 119–121.
- Wang (1982), 206; Hansen (2000), 119.
- Benn, Charles. (2002). China's Golden Age: Everyday Life in the Tang Dynasty. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-517665-0.p. 122
- Benn, 120.
- Benn, 121.
- Benn, 125.
- Benn, 123.
- Schafer, 1–2.
- Sen, 38–40.
- Adshead, 76, 83–84.
- Adshead, 83
- Ebrey, Cambridge Illustrated History of China, 120.
- Ebrey (1999), 95.
- Schafer p. 20
- Needham, Volume 5, Part 1, 122
- Benn, 126–127.
- Benn, 126.
- Gernet, 134.
- Gernet, 133.
- West, 73, footnote 17.
- West, 86.
- West, 70.
- Gernet, 137.
- West, 93.
- Gernet, 133–134
- Gernet, 183–184
- Gernet, 184.
- West, 73.
- Gernet, 134–135.
- Gernet, 138.
- Gernet, 184–185.
- Gernet, 135.
- Gernet, 136.
- West, 73–74.
- Rossabi, 78.
- West, 75.
- West, 75, footnote 25.
- West, 89.
- Daria Berg: Chl, Chloë Starr, 2008 The Quest for Gentility in China Routledge, pp. 181-182 ISBN 0-415-43586-2
- Ebrey, 1999, p. 211
- Crosby, 2003, p. 198 - 201
- Gernet, 1962
- Crosby, 2003, p. 200
- Spence, “The Ch’ing,” in Chang, Chinese Food and Culture, pp. 271-274
- Spence, Jonathan D. . Chinese Roundabout: Essays in History and Culture. W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 0-393-30994-0.
- Jin, Qiu. Perry, Elizabeth J. The Culture of Power: The Lin Biao Incident in the Cultural Revolution.  (1999). Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-3529-8
- Sasha Gong and Scott D. Seligman. The Cultural Revolution Cookbook: Simple, Healthy Recipes from China's Countryside. (Hong Kong: Earnshaw Books, 2011). ISBN 9789881998460.
- Tang, Xiaobing. Chinese Modern: The Heroic and the Quotidian.  (2000). Duke University Press. ISBN 0-8223-2447-4.
- Gillette, Maris Boyd.  (2000). Between Mecca and Beijing: Modernization and Consumption Among Urban Chinese. Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-4685-0.
- Yhnkzq.com. "Yhnkzq.com verification of phrase existence from ancient China times." "Yangjing." Retrieved on 2007-09-30.
- [This phrase has been consulted with a HK culinary experts in Sept-2007. Despite the many versions floating around on the internet, this is believed to be the original since it fits the best.]
- University of Kansas, East Asian studies
- buddhistdoor.com Chinese lifestyle quote
- Chinaonline.gov.cn quote
For references on specific foods and cuisines, please see the relevant articles.
- Eugene N. Anderson, The Food of China (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1988). ISBN 0-300-04739-8.
- Paul D. Buell, Eugene N. Anderson Husihui, A Soup for the Qan: Chinese Dietary Medicine of the Mongol Era as Seen in Hu Szu-Hui's Yin-Shan Cheng-Yao: Introduction, Translation, Commentary and Chinese Text (London; New York: Kegan Paul International, 2000). ISBN 0-7103-0583-4.
- Kwang-chih Chang, ed., Food in Chinese Culture: Anthropological and Historical Perspectives (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1977). ISBN 0-300-01938-6
- Key Rey Chong, Cannibalism in China (Wakefield, New Hampshire: Longwoord Academic, 1990).
- Coe, Andrew. Chop Suey: A Cultural History of Chinese Food in the United States. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009). ISBN 9780195331073 0195331079.
- Crosby, Alfred W., Jr. (2003). The Columbian Exchange: Biological and Cultural Consequences of 1492; 30th Anniversary Edition. Westport: Praeger Publishers. ISBN 0-275-98092-8.
- Judith Farquhar. Appetites: Food and Sex in Postsocialist China. (Durham, NC: Duke University Press; Body, Commodity, Text Series, 2002). ISBN 0822329069.
- Gernet, Jacques (1962). Daily Life in China on the Eve of the Mongol Invasion, 1250-1276. Translated by H. M. Wright. Stanford: Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-0720-0
- H.T. Huang (Huang Xingzong). Fermentations and Food Science. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, Part 5 of Biology and Biological Technology, Volume 6 Science and Civilisation in China, 2000). ISBN 521–65270–0.
- Lee, Jennifer 8. The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food. (New York, NY: Twelve, 2008). ISBN 9780446580076.
- Needham, Joseph (1980). Science and Civilisation in China: Volume 5, Chemistry and Chemical Technology, Part 4, Spagyrical Discovery and Invention: Apparatus, Theories and Gifts. Rpr. Taipei: Caves Books, 1986.
- Roberts, J. A. G. China to Chinatown: Chinese Food in the West. (London: Reaktion, Globalities, 2002). ISBN 1861891334.
- Schafer, Edward H. (1963). The Golden Peaches of Samarkand: A study of T’ang Exotics. University of California Press. Berkeley and Los Angeles. paperback edition: 1985. ISBN 0-520-05462-8.
- Song, Yingxing, translated with preface by E-Tu Zen Sun and Shiou-Chuan Sun. (1966). T'ien-Kung K'ai-Wu: Chinese Technology in the Seventeenth Century. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press.
- Swislocki, Mark. Culinary Nostalgia: Regional Food Culture and the Urban Experience in Shanghai. (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2009). ISBN 9780804760126.
- Wang, Zhongshu. (1982). Han Civilization. Translated by K.C. Chang and Collaborators. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-02723-0.
- West, Stephen H. Playing With Food: Performance, Food, and The Aesthetics of Artificiality in The Sung and Yuan. Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies (Volume 57, Number 1, 1997): 67–106.
- David Y. H. Wu and Chee Beng Tan. Changing Chinese Foodways in Asia. (Hong Kong: Chinese University Press, 2001). ISBN 9622019145.
- Wu, David Y. H., and Sidney C. H. Cheung. ed., The Globalization of Chinese Food. (Richmond, Surrey: Curzon, Anthropology of Asia Series, 2002). ISBN 0700714030.
See also 
A Bite of China. Seven part CCTV television series.