Food in China has been the basis of life for centuries. Millet, a common crop in Northern China, has been grown since the fifth millennium BC. Rice, a common crop in Southern China, has been grown since the fourth millennium BC. Ever since then food was thought to be the basis for good health. The first Chinese crop was grown in the Upper Yellow River Valley.
In order to keep up their crops, the ancient Chinese used wood and stone tools. In the fifth century BC, iron plows were developed.
Men did most of the agricultural work. They would cut wheat with sickles, carried crops by a pole hung across their shoulders with bags at the end to hold the grain, and they would loosen wheat by beating it with sticks. But the most complex tool was their irrigation system.
In Southern China, rice was, and is, the staple grain. Rice grows much easier in a marshy area, but is much easier to harvest without any water. How did they do this, irrigation. Foot powered pumps was the ancient Chinese’s answer.
The Chinese wanted to ensure a good harvest. They accomplished this by many ways. Ashes and manure (dung) were used to fertilize the crops. Another way Chinese ensured a good crop was by crop rotation. They would not grow the same crop in the same spot consecutively.
Rice wasn’t the only crop. The Chinese grew hundreds of various crops. Some of them include cabbage, soybeans (and other beans), peas, and bamboo shoots.
In Northern China wheat and millet were grown. Rice was expensive, due to the fact that not many places in northern China were suitable for this. Common foods include steamed buns, noodles or pancakes with vegetables soybean products (for protein), pickles, and some times meat, eggs, or fish on the side.
Regardless of the type of crop you ate each Chinese meal had fan and CAI. Fan refers to cooked grain. While CAI means vegetables. But CAI refers to the general arrangement of side dishes.
Food was generally based on class though, the rich cooked in elaborate ways such as stir-firing or steaming.
Regardless of class, Chinese had two meals a day. One was at mid morning. The other was before nightfall. China is noted for it’s tea. Tea was developed by the Chinese in the Han dynasty.
Fish was important to the Chinese. By 100 BC artificial ponds were made to breed carp.
Hunting was usually considered a sport. The meat they caught was either sold at the market, eaten, or preserved.
The Chinese? celebrating signified many good foods. The Chinese celebrated on weddings, birth of a son, a funeral, or holidays. Regardless of class, everyone celebrated. The poor ate a roast duck or chicken, fried fish, vegetables, grains, and soup. The wealthy had many more foods such as bear paw, shark fin, and wild boar. Rice wine was drunken at these occasions.
I got this info at http://library.thinkquest.org/C005446/text_version/English/china.html