This Wednesday, Chinese Academy organized a class dinner at ChunJi Restaurant. All the students and staffs gathered together to celebrate, the new year is coming!! this is also the last class dinner we had before the official Chinese new year arrives. A Chinese proverb says that food is paramount to people. So we can see the important role food plays in Chinese’s daily lives. Proverbs aside, a lot of concrete evidences show that food indeed is an important part of Chinese culture. First and foremost, food varies from region to region, as shows a diversity feature of Chinese culture.A Chinese meal is consisted of two parts: staple food, normally made of rice, noodles or steamed buns, and ts’ai, vegetable and meat dishes. (This is different from Western meals, which take meat or animal protein as main dish). The primary eating utensils are chopsticks (for solid foods) and ceramic spoon (for soups and congees). In a Chinese meal, everyone will have their own rice bowl; however, the accompanying dishes will be served in communal plates and shared by all people. Normally, the dishes are often eaten together with a mouthful of rice. Desserts are not main course in China; instead, Chinese desserts are considered as snacks eaten between two meals. If dessert is served in the meal, they will be served during the course of meal with no firm distinction made. If served at the end of the meal, the dessert is normally fresh fruit.China has a vast territory and abundant resources, and each region has different climate, natural products and folk customs. After a long time, different region has formed its own food flavors. For example, people in southern China take rice as staple food, while people from northern China are used to eat noodles or steamed buns as staple food. As for the flavor, the whole country can be generally divided into four parts: sweet south, salt north, sour east and spicy west.Yin-Yang and Five Elements: Yin and Yang represent two complementary aspects of every phenomenon. While Five Elements refer to meter, wood, water, fire and earth, and the nature is created by the circulation and the mutual promotion and restraint among the Five Elements. When applying this philosophical thinking into Chinese Food, Yin and Yang represent two aspects of human body, while five elements mean the food can be divided into five categories: hot, warm, neutral, cool and cold. Eat hot and warm food can promote the Yang in human body, while eat cool and cold food can promote Yin in human body. Neutral food is a kind of balance of human body. Only the Yin and Yang in human body keeps in a balanced level, people can maintain his health.Unity of Man and Nature: this philosophical thinking suggests that people’s diet should be adapted to the natural environment which they are living in. For example, people who live in a damp environment should eat more hot and spicy food which can help to release the dampness.