The Yin-Yang Philosophy In Chinese Food


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Chinese food is very popular throughout the world. In Chinese culture, specific meals mean different things. There are food items specifically made to signify particular occasions. However, the elemental composition of every Chinese meal remains the same. They have some common elements. The concept of Yin and Yang is fundamental in this culture and one you must have heard of. But it is interesting to know that they incorporate this concept into their food as well. All ingredients in a Chinese dish serve some almost scientific purpose. So let us look at Yin and Yang and its use in Chinese cooking.

The Importance of Yin-Yang Philosophy in Chinese Food
The Importance Of Yin-Yang Philosophy In Chinese Food

Yin And Yang In Chinese Food

According to Chinese culture, everything works by the principle of Yin and Yang. That refers to the existence of two opposite but complementary forces or elements. Their effect is almost compensatory. Hence, the perfect balance occurs when these elements are in the exact right amount.

Yang is associated with warmth, strength, and brightness and signifies masculinity. On the other hand, Yin stands for coolness, darkness, and softness and signifies femininity. Only by the fusion of both the masculine and feminine elements, there can be a balance. Similarly, food items with strong spicy or sweet taste, warm color, and pungent smell are the Yang food items, like chili and lamb meat. Again, food items with a bitter or salty taste, with light color and high moisture content, are all Yin food items like cucumber.

A balanced traditional Chinese meal has a perfect balance of Yin and Yang food items. They believe that if one particular type of food is in excess, it affects the body adversely. Further, the right diet can help nullify the effects of extreme weather conditions. In warm weather, Yin food items can help cool the body down. Also, suffering from a cold maybe because of an excess of yin elements in the body. Therefore, having Yang food can make them feel better and cure the symptoms.

A Chinese meal even emphasizes a balance of both warm and cool colors in a particular dish. They use bright vegetables to complement dark meat, crunchy and spicy taste to balance the softness of meat and fish. A proper Chinese formal dinner spread comprises of 4–6 cold dishes, 8–10 hot dishes, soup, and fruits.

The Importance of Yin-Yang Philosophy in Chinese Food
The Importance Of Yin-Yang Philosophy In Chinese Food

Importance Of A Balance Of Yin And Yang

According to Chinese philosophy, taking a perfectly balanced diet is crucial to our health. All the elements (Yin and Yang) of a balanced diet help in maintaining our physical, mental, and spiritual well being. Noodle soup is an example of such a balanced Chinese dish. It contains noodles, soup (moisture), and an array of other nutritious vegetables, spices, and meat. When Chinese people immigrated to Western countries, they took their food and culture with them. Traditional Chinese cooking adapted and evolved over the years to suit the lifestyles of inhabitants of its new Western world. That led to widespread acceptance and sustenance of the cuisine. Many versions of authentic Chinese food are eaten by people from other communities in many different countries throughout the world. 

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