"Live in Hangzhou, marry in Suzhou, dine in Guangzhou, and die in Luzhou." (These cities are said to have the best view, the prettiest women, the best food, and the best coffin wood, respectively).
"Fish brings heat, meat brings phlegm, but vegetables, and tofu keep you well." 魚生火，肉生痰，青菜豆腐保平安 (Yú shēnghuǒ, ròu shēng tán, qīngcài dòufu bǎo píng'ān.)
"Eat more vegetables, less meat." 多吃蔬菜，少吃肉.(Duō chī shūcài, shǎo chī ròu.)
"Waitresses bring you beer and nibbles, including such staples as chicken's feet." – China, The Rough Guide (2000)
In heaven, dragon meat, on earth, donkey meat.
天上龍肉，地上驢肉 (tiān shàng lóng ròu, dì shàng lǘ ròu)
If you have ever chomped, chewed, gulped, or even smelt something that shocked or repulsed your senses – chilli, wasabi, lemon juice, stilton cheese, stinky tofu, (other?) spoiled food – doubtlessly you puckered up immediately. In China that unsightly creased face embodies resentfulness. For example, to speak of a person in a relationship with another as 'eating vinegar,' chi cu, (吃醋) indicates jealousy, the cause of which is likely a perceived interloper.
“The things that people cannot do without everyday are firewood, rice, oil, salt, soy sauce, vinegar, and tea.”
–Phrase coined in the late Southern Song dynasty.
"Although nobody has been
poisoned, this at the very least is an irregular way of slaughtering
Chongqing health official on the practise
of some restaurants using snakes to kill chickens –BBC
Well, a full belly conquers
–From the film Saving Face
All food tastes good to the
starving man's mouth.
The plum trees are in bloom
for the second time. (A second marriage, possibly with a
concubine) or a second round of sexual intercourse in the
bu-4 wei-4 wu-3 dou-3 mi-3 zhe-2 yao-1
Not bowing for five pecks of rice. (Unwilling to do anything demeaning for material
(斗 dou is
an old Chinese measuring vessel (10 litres/2.642 gallons), roughly equivalent
to a British or an American peck.
When you go to Beijing,
you see what low rank you hold. When you travel to Canton,
you realise how little money you've got. But when you come
to Chengdu (Sichuan), you find out how large your appetite
Sichuan is known as the land of plenty. 天府之國 (tiānfǔzhīguó).
The richer the ear of grain, the more the
head bends. (The greater the intelligence and learning, the
more humble one should be).
A peasant must stand a long
time on a hillside with his mouth open before a roast duck
Eat first, talk later.
Raise sons for old age, pile
grain for times of famine.
There is nothing a man will not eat when hard pressed by hunger. And no one is entitled to condemn until he knows what famine means. Some of us have been forced in times of famine to eat babies–and even this must be humanly rare–but, thank God, we do not eat them raw as the English eat their beef!
–Lin Yutang, My Country and My People
There is no feast that does not come to an
Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a
day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.
We the Chinese conquered
the world through our food.
The incorruptible government official will
have nothing but salt to eat with his rice.
Most probably the relatively lower efficiency of Chinese government officials is due directly to the fact that all of them are subject to an inhuman routine of three or four dinners a night. One-fourth of their food goes to nourish them, and three-fourths to kill them.
–Lin Yutang, My Country and My People
Qi fen bao (七分飽), is an age-old, oft-repeated Chinese dietary adage: eat only until you are 'seven parts full' (70 percent full).
He that takes medicine and neglects diet, wastes
the skills of the physician.
Eat liver, fortify your own liver.
Have you eaten yet?
(A common greeting, indicating prime concern for the state
of fullness of another's belly)
Every grain of rice in your bowl is won by
the sweat of the brow.
The rice is cooked. (It is too late to change,
or regret something)
Talk doesn't cook rice.
A good breakfast is no substitute for a large
Eating is even more important than the Emperor.
The honourable and upright man keeps well
away from both the slaughterhouse and the kitchen. And
he allows no knives on his table.
The superior man does not, even for the space
of a single meal, act contrary to virtue.
The way you cut your meat reflects the way
My old friend's prepared a meal of chicken
And invited me to join him at his farmhouse.
The village is surrounded by green trees,
Blue hills slope up beyond the city wall.
The window opens onto the vegetable garden,
Where holding wine, we talk of mulberry and hemp.
We are looking forward to the autumn festival,
When I'll return to see the chrysanthemums bloom.
– Meng Haoran (Tang
Dynasty poet), Visiting
An Old Friend On His Farm source
A nation looks upon citizens as its roots,
while citizens depend upon food for living.
– Sun Yat-sen
A revolution is not a dinner party, or writing
an essay, or painting a picture, or doing embroidery; it
cannot be so refined, so leisurely and gentle, so temperate,
kind, courteous, restrained and magnanimous.
– Chairman Mao Zedong
"If you want to know the taste of a pear,
you must change the pear by eating it yourself. If you want
to know the theory and methods of revolution, you must take
part in revolution. All genuine knowledge originates in direct
– Chairman Mao Zedong
Chink, Chink, Chink, Chinaman
Eat dead rats;
Eats them up
– Saying from America circa. 1930s.
"All we have is guns and millet."
– Chinese Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping to Henry Kissinger, American
Secretary of State, Dec. 1974. read
"Harm will befall young people should
their bedrooms be located next to the kitchen. This sounds
superstitious but on closer examination it is a practical
point to consider. Should the kitchen be next to the bedrooms
the latter would be badly polluted. Moreover fires often
start from the kitchen in domestic buildings." –
Chinese Geomancy, Evelyn Yip
Tomatoes and oregano make it Italian; wine
and tarragon make it French. Sour cream makes it Russian;
lemon and cinnamon make it Greek. Soy sauce makes it Chinese;
garlic makes it good.
– Alice May Brock
I just love Chinese food. My favourite dish
is number 27.
– Clement Atlee, former British Prime Minister